Re: Cubs Acquire Rich Harden
Wow. That's a great baseball trade for both teams. And frankly, even though the Cubs are rolling the dice that Harden can stay healthy for the season, he's the kind of pitching addition that can throttle other teams in the playoffs. When he's healthy he's one of, if not the, best starting pitcher in the game. Gaudin, while not a dominant reliever by any stretch of the imagination carries additional value due to his ability to start. Kind of a Harden "insurance policy" so to speak. This is a solid short-term medium risk/high reward deal for the Cubs who are busting out all the stops to go for it this season.
From the A's side, Sean Gallagher is the obvious prize, with MiLB rates of 9.02 K/9 and 0.49 HR/9 at 22 years of age. The guy profiles as well, if not better, than our own Johnny Cueto and I'm surprised the Cubs would leverage him in a deal like this, but they're in the "now" so I can understand.
The remainder of the return is very solid as well. The A's got the good Patterson (Eric knows how to take a BB) and Matt Murton is a decent OF who's moving into his age-prime years. Josh Donaldson is a very interesting guy as the lowest-level member of the deal and he's had his good (2007, Boise- 1.075 OPS) and his bad (2008, Peoria- .625 OPS) in similar sample sizes. His reality is likely somewhere in between and that's worth a grab considering the rest of the return is MLB-ready and talented.
The Cubs got what they wanted, and possibly what they needed. However, the A's also received pieces that can help the MLB team right now. Frankly, I'm amazed that the A's continue to mine this kind of return. They have a team that's currently 4th in the AL (6th in MLB) in Run Differential and they just gave up another high-level SP for a return that can help now and over the long-term. Hopefully, the Reds are taking notes.
"The problem with strikeouts isn't that they hurt your team, it's that they hurt your feelings..." --Rob Neyer
"The single most important thing for a hitter is to get a good pitch to hit. A good hitter can hit a pitch that’s over the plate three times better than a great hitter with a ball in a tough spot.”