Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin were traded to the Cubs today for pitcher Sean Gallagher, outfielder Matt Murton, infielder Eric Patterson and catcher Josh Donaldson.
My first reaction is that Cubs fans ought to be insanely happy about this. They’re not likely going to miss any of those players in their pennant drive much, while Harden and Gaudin will both make an immediate impact, especially if they turn Gaudin back into a starter.
And my second reaction is that if Cubs fans should be happy, then A’s fans should be disappointed. I like Gallagher, but Murton seems redundant on the A’s roster, Patterson seems like the type of risky player who, like his brother Cory, will likely not pan out unless he can miraculously find some plate discipline, and Donaldson–never heard of him.
But still, I suppose now was the time for Beane to sell, before Harden got hurt again. And Beane was probably going to trade Gaudin either this July or in the winter, as the A’s have plenty of cheaper players to provide similar production than Gaudin, a former super-two player who reached arbitration status earlier than other players of his age.
So Beane had two very talented players, but flawed–Harden by his fragility, Gaudin by his price tag. The timing was right to trade both these guys.
So I’m not bothered by trading either player. What I am bothered by is that I don’t feel like the Cubs are feeling nearly as much pain about this trade as I am. I liked Gaudin, and loved Harden. Watching him pitch filled me with a child-like giddiness. The Cubs should be wincing–ooh, did we have to give up [insert Josh Vitters or other talented name here]? But they’re not, are they?
I can rationalize it–Harden’s fragility reduced his trade value, and they’re getting five years of Gallagher for 1+ year of Harden, but screw rationality. They traded two flawed players, and got back four flawed players, none of whom are very easy to muster up any child-like giddiness about. Emotionally, this one really hurts.