Harden, Gaudin to the Cubs

“I like our team.  I like it even more now with this addition.”

Cubs manager Lou Piniella

The Cubs wasted no time in turning the focus in the NL Central away from the Brewers and the C.C. Sabathia deal by making their own blockbuster deal.  On Tuesday, they acquired Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin from the A’s for Matt Murton, Sean Gallagher, Eric Patterson, and AAA prospect Josh Donaldson.

What are your thoughts on the deal?

As for me, I’m pleased. I have the normal reservations about Harden’s endurance and health issues but aside from that, I think this helps the club tremendously.  The fact that we got Gaudin is icing on the cake, in my opinion.  We need some help in the bullpen and Gaudin is no stranger to the starting rotation.

I was listening to Episode 419 of Cubscast today and they had on Jordan Stepp from the Athleticscast podcast.  It’s Jordan’s feeling that A’s fans are quite unhappy with the deal.  To be fair, the kind of trade where a big ticket player is traded for several players with potential would be hard to be excited about.  It’s possible in two years (two months?) Billy Beane would be hailed as a hero.  For now however, he’s the one who selling away their best players.

One more note on Harden, it should be worth mentioning that he has a 17-10 record on the road.  Perhaps that didn’t escape the Cubs attention either.

Will I miss any of the players given up?  I think Matt Murton has reached his ceiling.  Cute red hair can take you only so far.  I honestly don’t know a lot about Josh Donaldson but he put together a good year while in Boise last year.

The two key players in the deal were Gallagher and Patterson and I’m sure Billy Beane knows it.  Gallagher is a solid pitcher with a good K/BB ratio.  Patterson has some good upside and it really depends how far he wants to take himself and how long he’ll take to get there (see brother Corey).

The key for the Cubs is Harden’s health.  If he stays healthy, this is will pay big dividends for the Northsiders.

4 Responses to “Harden, Gaudin to the Cubs”

  1. CONTRARY VIEW

    Look at it this way: In any business Organ-I-Zation, there has to be someone in a leadership capacity (HIGH leadership) who keeps an eye on “five years down the road.” This is true whether we are talking about the Chicago National League Baseball Club, a major hospital chain, Southwest Airlines, White Castle Hamburgers or Kelly’s Circle Tap.

    In baseball, that is the job of the General Manager. This is a many-faceted position. Along with talent evaluation and needs analysis, he has to placate the manager, who is constantly nagging for trades designed to WIN NOW. Because the manager gets fired if he doesn’t win. The G.M. should be taking a longer view of the situation. The G.M. also has to ignore the fans who are screaaming at him to trade the whole future if necessary, because “we haven’t won in 100 years.” They are being fans. Ignore them.

    It seems to me that Jim Hendry did the opposite. When the Brewers got C.C. Sabathia, Jim Hendry panicked. Felt he had to do SOMETHING. ANYTHING.

    How DARE the Brewers try to win! Don’t they know that this is a CUB year? All the Karma. The Lovable Losers finally winning the World Series. Isn’t everybody saying this is the year to stop the 100 year skid? What do you mean? All of our work might not result in a 2008 World Championship??? Oh, my God. Those Damned Brewers. I’LL SHOW THEM.

    This trade had that reaction written all over it.

    And Billy Beane LOVES to trade with people who think like that. The lamb enters the lion’s den! Did you ever read Moneyball? Keep in mind that when anybody deals with Billy Beane on Beane’s terms, Billy usually emerges from the negotiations wearing the other guy’s watch. We’ll see what happens this time, but this trade comes right out of the principles illustrated in Moneyball.

    Another Thing: Oakland had been limiting Rich Harden to about 5 innings a start this season, hoping that his arm didn’t fall off again before some sucker (I mean “a contending team”) offered a boatload of prospects for him. Even with that limited workload, Harden has already been on the Disabled List for 5 weeks this season. Rich Harden is a good (I don’t know about “great”) pitcher when he is healthy. Which is SELDOM TO NEVER.

    My conclusion is that he CUBS didn’t learn a thing from having Mark Prior on their team for 6 years. Did they? I’ve been saying for several years that Rich Harden is “the Oakland version of Mark Prior.”

    Has anyone started a pool to guess the date of Rich Harden’s next trip to the D.L.?

    Who’s right? Who knows? It should be fun to watch this play out.

  2. DonS,
    Good points all and I’m not going to argue with someone who knows the game as well as you.

    but…

    to your point that ” this trade had that reaction written all over it.”, it’s my understanding that Hendry had his eye on harden for a couple weeks now and the deal had been in the works for a while.

    He certainly felt the pressure to pull the trigger with the Sabathia deal going down but I think some form of this deal was going down no matter what.

    and by the way, I thought you were a Mark Prior fan anyway? :)

    Two other points, Billy Beane is staging for a new rebuilding phase which will come to fruition by the time his new stadium is ready in 2012. It does still surprise me that he would make this deal with the A’s doing as well as they are this year. Apparently, A’s fans feel a bit miffed too.

    Finally, Harden has lost one game this year. As my friend, Joy the Sox fan reminded me, it was against the White Sox.

  3. The way I see it… The trade was Rich Harden (NOW) for Sean Gallagher (LATER). The rest of the players IMHO were just fodder. Gallagher made his first start against the Angels and allowed only two hits over seven innings, he’ll prosper under the A’s system rather than having Uncle Lou scream in his face. Harden is making his first start against the Giants, so far, so good. Harden should do better under the pressures of a playoff team, while Gallagher should do better on a young team. This trade helps both clubs.

  4. Teddy, I agree with you in the sense that Gallagher was the key player in the deal on the Cubs’ end. We’ll see what happens.

    That said, Harden is what, 26 years old? He’s hardly the grizzled old veteran.

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