Lucas Harrell (Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)
It all started out so promising. Lucas Harrell was acquired from the Chicago White Sox after being claimed off waivers in July of 2011. At that point, we didn’t know much about the right-hander other than he had worn out his welcome in Chicago.
Harrell appeared in six games with the Astros that year, starting two, pitching 13 innings and recording a 3.46 ERA. But at that point, no one expected what was to come from Harrell in 2012. And that might have given Astros’ fans false hope.
After spending the whole year in the rotation and compiling an 11-11 record with a 3.76 ERA and 1.36 WHIP, Harrell was in the conversation for Opening Day starter in 2013. Bud Norris ultimately ending up getting the honors, and Harrell essentially did a 180 degree turn from the prior season.
While the statistics were brutal to say the least, strangely enough it really wasn’t as bad as it seemed. At times, on occasion, Harrell was actually a pretty good pitcher last season. But to say he was inconsistent would be an understatement. There is no way to sugarcoat a league leading 17 losses, along with six wins, and a 5.42 ERA with an obscenely high 1.71 WHIP.
Instead of being a mainstay in the rotation like he was expected to be after 2012, well maybe there is some hyperbole there, Harrell instead became a symbol of the Astros’ struggles.
The expectation was that Harrell would not see Houston in 2014, but instead he began the year in the rotation. And that simply did not last long. After three starts, three losses, and a 9.49 ERA, Harrell was designated for assignment. He then cleared waivers and was assigned to AAA Oklahoma City.
Before Harrell could make an appearance for Oklahoma City, he was acquired by the Arizona Diamondbacks. I highly doubt the return will be of any consequence, in fact it could be cash, but it is better than the alternative. During his struggles last season and early this season, Harrell’s body language was less than stellar, and quite frankly there was no need for him in the organization.