With Texas Rangers’ pitcher Rich Harden impressing in his last rehab start on Monday (10 K’s over six innings) in Triple-A, it has been speculated that Harden will take the struggling Scott Feldman’s spot in the rotation. It’s quite possible that Harden could start as early as this weekend for the Rangers against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

I think the Rangers are making a mistake. I think the Rangers should use Harden out of the bullpen upon his return. Here are the reasons for my thinking.

1. The Rangers don’t need Harden in the rotation. If and when the Rangers make the playoffs, in a five or seven game series they will most likely have the following rotation:

  • Cliff Lee
  • CJ Wilson
  • Tommy Hunter
  • Colby Lewis

There is no room for a No. 5 starter in the playoffs.

Why not work Harden into a seventh inning guy, who can come into a game and blow hitters away now instead of in late-September? Feldman has no purpose on this team, so why not use him as the No. 5 starter to finish out the season. There’s a good chance Feldman won’t even make the post-season roster.

Harden on the other hand, has value coming out of the pen. October is all about power arms and Harden can be that power arm out of the pen in the sixth or seventh inning. That is not possible for Feldman.

2. Harden’s days as a starter are over.

Let’s face reality: The days of Harden being a dominant starter are over. He can’t go deep into games (not that he ever did) and his stuff isn’t as sharp as it was even two years ago.

Harden at this point in his career is a pitcher that may give a team five innings, strike out five or six, walk three or four, and give up three or four runs.

I think without having to pace himself, Harden would fare much better out of the pen.

Of course, there are some negatives to this move as well.

1. Can his shoulder hold up pitching without a set schedule? It might be easier for Harden’s shoulder knowing that it’s going to pitch every fifth day rather than every other day.

If you listen to a lot of doctors, they will say it’s better for a pitcher to throw 100 pitches on one day with a set schedule than throwing 100 pitches over the course of 10 days with no schedule.

2. Harden would have to start the inning he comes in. In order to use Harden in relief, the Rangers would have to allow him to warm up at his own pace. With his achy shoulder, I doubt Harden could warm up in five minutes and then come into the game throwing beebe’s.

Looking at the positives and negatives of a Harden move to the bullpen, I think the positives outweigh the negatives and Harden would have the most value to the Rangers out of the bullpen.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @theghostofmlg

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com