CUBS GET HARDEN
Jim Hendry has made another deal with Billy Beane and the A’s, this time snagging prized pitcher Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin. Heading west will be Matt Murton, Eric Patterson, Sean Gallagher and Josh Donaldson.
At first glance this looks like a win-win for both clubs. Let’s break it down.
First, Harden. He is one of the few really dominant pitchers in the game. His assorted injuries have lowered his value. But as proven again this year, when he is on the mound he is something special. Without diving into the numbers, the deal means that the Cubs have a legit 1-2 punch in Zambrano and Harden. I love that Lilly and Dempster are now seen as 3 & 4 and Sean Marshall nicely rounds out the rotation. What will become of Jason Marquis is anyone’s guess. Simply put, this rotation is playoff caliber and has the potential to be one of the best in baseball.
Gaudin should immediately slip into a long man role in the pen along with Lieber. He’s a nice season with a whip of 1.28 in over 60 innings. He can also start if needed. While Marmol was “going all Ankiel” as valued reader PV put it to me recently, Cubs fans were worried that the pen might not have enough. Gaudin is a nice addition to the staff.
The Cubs give up Murton and Patterson. Murton was a favorite of mine, as anyone that reads this blog knows. I’m happy that he will be given a chance to play more often in Oakland. He is a major-league hitter and I think will prove it in Oakland. Patterson has American Leaguer written all over him, so it’s good for him too. Donaldson was the Cubs’ pick in the first supplementary round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, #48 overall. He is having a rough year at Peoria hitting just .217/.276/.349, but raked in Boise last year with a 1.075 OPS in 49 games.
The Cubs seems fairly set barring additional injuries. But it is nice to know that Hendry still has a few chips left in the system to solidify the team if need be. Call me crazy but Marquis could still be seen as a viable option for those desperate for starting pitching. Hendry said in the presser Rich Hill is getting back on track. If the need is for another bullpen arm or even a closer, Hendry should have enough to get it.
I didn’t think Harden would come at such a price. Perhaps Gallagher has more value than I had perceived. While his minor league numbers were impressive, I never thought–nor read about him–as a top prospect. Major props to Hendry. He just acquired an ace pitcher and a decent reliever in July for a price that has to be considered bargain-like.