Well, so much for my blowing off the Harden-to-the-Cubs rumors yesterday, because today, it happened. And the A’s threw in Chad Gaudin as well, getting four players in return.
I tend to like trades made by William Lamar Beane. Blindly? Maybe a little, but usally, I can see the upside in them.
And in this one, well, there’s not as much upside as I’d like to see in return for a guy like Harden.
But that’s the thing – when I say “a guy like Harden,” I have visions in my mind of swinging and missing and lots of zeroes on the scoreboard for opposing teams. But really, when I say “a guy like Harden,” I should also have visions of a skinny Canadian on the Oakland A’s disabled list, because that’s happened just as much – if not more – as the swinging and missing.
So that’s why now was the time to deal him, when he had actually had the apparance of a healthy pitcher for a significant amount of time. He wasn’t going to bring a Haren-like haul with the durabilty issues, and there’s no way for us to expect that.
But why Gaudin? Why send him packing to Wrigley too? My guess is the A’s #1 target was Sean Gallagher, and the Cubs wouldn’t move him without getting some insurance in the versitile Gaudin.
Let’s take a look at some stats for Sean Gallagher, who is already penciled in as Friday night’s starter versus the Angels:
2008 in AAA: 2-2 with a 3.10 ERA, a 1.03 WHIP, and 30 strikeouts in 29 IP.
2008 in MLB: 3-4 with a 4:35 ERA, a 1.36 WHIP, and 49 strikeouts in 58 2/3 IP.
He’s a mere 22 years of age; won’t turn 23 until December.
The A’s also get the following, who will head to Sacramento:
26-year-old outfielder Matt Murton, a former first round pick who was part of the big Nomar trade back in ’04. He hasn’t been given much of a shot in Chicago, and I’m not sure why, as over four seasons he’s hit .294 with a .362 OBP and a .810 OPS. In Sacto for a week or two until the A’s get rid of Emil Brown somehow? I hope so, as he needs the playing time – and the A’s need to get him acclimated – more than Emil.
Second baseman/outfielder Eric Patterson – the brother of notorious ex-Cub Corey Patterson. He’s 25 and has also not been given much opportunity in Chicago. He’s raked in AAA the past 2+ seasons.
And the fourth player is an A-ball catcher named Josh Donaldson who was a second-round pick last season and is underachieving at the plate this year.
So maybe the A’s made out OK today, or maybe they just traded for Kirk Saarloos, Charles Thomas, and Keith Ginter. But one thing’s for sure – it’s tough to say goodbye to a guy like Harden, just when I was getting used to him being around on a regular basis.