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Sunday, December 4th, 2016

CUBS GET HARDEN

8

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.

  • PV

    I now believe this team is World Series caliber. Period. The rotation can now match up. And I agree that the price was definitely right. Hendry has done some fine general managin;.

  • http://www.meaninglis.com Lis

    From a Sox fan, good move for the Cubs!

  • dhaab

    Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

    Never seen Billy Beane make a poor trade. Seems to me that a lot of folks are dismissing the fact that Harden has been on the DL for the better part of the past 4 seasons? And his velocity was down against the Sox this weekend.

    Matt, you ripped on Prior so much these past few years. You may have another version of him now. Just sayin’.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    There is no doubt–he could end up on the DL any day. But I think the risk is well worth what the reward can be.

  • dhaab

    I agree. The risk was definitely worth it. But when you have owners who are spending money like the Cubs are now, you can make trades like this. They’ve spent more dough in the past 2 years than any team in baseball. I just hope you Cub fans enjoy this spending now because I don’t think it will continue after the team is sold. The owners are smartly building up the value of the franchise.

    As for Sean Gallagher, he seems like a pretty talented pitcher who could fill the #3/4 spot in a lot of teams rotations. He’ll be cheap as hell for the next 3 years too. Also, the A’s got two pretty solid bench players in Murton and Patterson. Those two gave the Cubs some good depth and I think their bench is definitely worse now than it was before the trade.

  • Big D

    dhaab – I can’t figure you out…or maybe I have. 8 weeks ago you said Murton, Gallagher and Patterson were mid-level prospects that could not bring a top of the rotation starter. A obvious slap at the Cub’s farm system. Now that the Cubs trade these guys for a top of the rotation starter, they became “a pretty talented pitcher” and “two pretty solid bench players” that the Cubs will miss. Which is it? Never happy, are you? Sit back and enjoy some good baseball. You sound like a White Sox fan.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    He likes the Cards.

  • dhaab

    Big D, they are mid-level prospects who are old enough to be important bench players at the major league level. And believe it or not, in some people’s eyes, Harden shouldn’t be considered a top starter because he’s hurt FAR more than he’s healthy. Haven’t you wondered why Beane included Gaudin in the deal? Do the math.

    And I may be a Cards fan, but I know baseball well enough to know when the Cubs have a great team which is better than any other in the NL right now. I’m just making the point that this trade may not be the slam dunk some of you think it is.

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