Rich Harden Injury Talk: Let's Not Forget About Ben Sheets

Michael PopeAnalyst IJuly 9, 2008

There have been many articles written about the deal that brought Rich Harden to the Cubs. Much of that has centered around Harden's injury history. Since he was dealt to the Cubs, comparisons to Mark Prior are inevitable, and flying around like seagulls over Navy Pier.

And since the deal went down the day after CC Sabathia was added to the Milwaukee roster, there are plenty of pitching staff comparisons.

Sabathia and Zambrano are legitimate staff aces. Both are work horse types with long and distinguished resumes.

Harden has shown flashes of brilliance when healthy, and for 13 games this year has been very impressive. His injury history is well documented and a real concern.

What I haven't heard much about is the Brewers' Ben Sheets. He is having a wonderful season, and will be an All-Star.

But, not much is mentioned about his injury history. Granted, he hasn't shown signs of injury at all this year, but his past is also sketchy.

By my calculations, Sheets has missed around 33 starts over the last three years.

Last year, when the team was attempting to make a stretch run, Sheets was little help. He made just six second half starts, going 2-1 with a 5.68 ERA. Overall, he made 17 starts--the same number he made in 2006. He missed around eight starts in 2007.

His past is not as spotted as Harden, who has missed around 50 starts the past two years, but he's no sure thing. The most innings Sheets has thrown in the last three years is 156. So far this year he's at 117.

Picking Harden up was a risky move that could be the makings of another Cubs curse scenario. It could also give them a pitcher that could put them over the hump.

The Brewers could make the same claim about Sabathia. but for them to find out they'll need Sheets to have his first full season in four years.