Cubs Get Rich Harden

While I'm refreshing for the freaking lineup like a dumbass, Jim Hendry and Billy Beane go and pull a trade.

The Cubs are getting pitchers Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin for Sean Gallagher, Matt Murton, Eric Patterson and Josh Donaldson. 

Hold on...

(catches breath)

(jumps up and down)

(pumps fist in air)


I have to admit that losing Sean Gallagher is unfortunate but you have to give up something to get something. Harden has a club option for 2009 and Gaudin is under team control until 2011. Eric Patterson and Matt Murton will probably go on to have respectable major league careers and Josh Donaldson has the makings of someone who could be a day. But the Cubs are playing for today...and tomorrow and 2008.

More on this later, but you got to be thrilled if your a Cubs fan. Everyone knows Harden's injury risks, but when he's pitching, he's as good as they a tune of a 2.34 ERA this year and 10.75 K/9. We're adding that to the best starting staff in the NL (by ERA) and third best overall staff in the NL.  



Hell yeah! I love this trade.

Enough to share the love with some writing? Rob's got some carpal tunnel from all the late night IM conversations with Z.

Gotta love it


They just had Gallagher on, he was very positive and was cool about it.

Good kid, gonna miss him.

Hopefully I will be wiping my tears with a pennant.

what young non-arb. eligable pitcher wouldnt love to get into oak?

they have a long standing system to deal with the youth players (so does cleveland and a few others) and that park is a great place to build up your future value with all that foul ground in the big park.

good luck to him...except in october.

I like the deal. Definitely a win now deal.

Murton and EPat had no future with this organization. If the Cubs were to make the postseason this year, there is no way, barring injury, either would have made the playoff roster. Best of luck to them. Hopefully they can make the most of their shot with a new organization.

Gallagher I like, but for a team trying to win now, trying to upgrade over him was inevtable.

Donaldson: all I have to go on is what Arizona Phil says. Nice prospect apparently, but too far away.

Here's to Mr. Harden and his health.

Another great July trade for Jim Hendry. Getting a 26 year old ace caliber pitcher who is under contract for another year, for those 4 players might be his best move yet.

Now how long will it take for a Hendry-basher to come up with a reason why this trade shouldn't count?

ESPN needs to fire an editor.

"He's scheduled to $4.75 million this season."
"The Cubs pay three games against the Cincinnati Reds starting Tuesday night before hosting the San Francisco Giants."
"Jim's been trying to improve our team, and he's been tralking to a few clubs about our pitching"

That's impressive for an article that has already been updated several times. I'm sure they will fix it at some point, but sheesh.

Awesome! Gallagher is going to be good, but I don't see use losing anything else in the other three, and we keep Marshall. And not only do we get Harden, but also a solid RH relief pitcher to take some heat off of our guys at the end. Great trade.

Gaudin is a pretty good starter too...not great, but a decent back of the rotation guy.

Z, Dempster, Lilly, Harden, Marquis (maybe Marshall)


Wood, Marmol, Howry, Cotts, Gaudin, Wuertz, Lieber 

Marshall probably gets sent down...maybe Wuertz and Marshall goes to the pen. Cubs would be wise to try and move Marquis for a team desperate for pitching right now and get out of that contract before next year.


The Yankees? They tried out Victor Zambrano last week. Yikes.


Just one comment. A number of A's fans think that Harden's lost a lot of speed on his fastball. But checking his last start July 6, 95 pitches, 5.0 innings, here's the breakdown on his fastball inning by inning.

1st 91-94 MPH
2nd 88-97!
3rd 90-96
4th 92-96
5th 91-95

when you use to throw 100mph, 95 is losing a lot of velocity.

He hit 97 in his last start, not 95.

Has Harden ever needed surgery for any of his injury problems? Has he had shoulder problems, elbow problems or both? (Or neither?) What are his mechanics like? Would he make a biomechanist cringe?

Overall, though, Harden seems the type of pitcher who would succeed in the postseason because he's a high-volume K guy (though a 6.43 postseason ERA doesn't speak in his favor). And pitchers' K rates always improve once they get to work with Rothschild. (Even Maddux's K rate spiked once he came back to the Cubs in '04.)

I see Gaudin moving into the Wuertz role if not the Howry role.

Nice trade. Does Harden have to bat?

Good luck, Murt.

Reading comments over at A's fans are divided -- rough estimates: about 75% think Beane either got snookered or has given up on the season, 20% think Beane was wise to get something before Harden breaks down again, and 5% think that it was a good deal for the A's for this season.


So, who's coming up from Iowa to replace Patterson? I vote for Hoffpauir over Pie.

Patterson was already optioned to Iowa a few days ago. But the Cubs play two roster spots down today without Gallagher and Murton. Hoffpauir has been on a tear recently so he might come up and a pitcher goes down (Marshall or Wuertz?).

Agree with everyone.

Big 'if' is Harden's health long-term. Regardless, it's a solid risk vs. reward move.

Go JH, go Cubs!

And at this point, Hendry's probably at least considering outright releasing Marquis...

Pie at one point was hitting something like .180 at Iowa, I don't see him coming back up...

There is no way in the world the Cubs release Marquis.

Man I will miss Murton. But I have always believed Marshall will be better then Gallagher and we got to keep him. Man, if we could just replace Marquis with Marshall, this could be a great lineup. I love me some Harden and Gaudin is a perfectly respectable fill in if someone gets hurt.

For a team playing for it all now, this is a far, far better option then the other ones out there.

A few thoughts:

I love getting a young front end of the rotation guy, but I'm going to miss Gallagher. For a 22 year old he had a lot of poise, and did really well at every level. I wish we could have given them Marshall instead, but like others have mentioned, you have to give something to get something.

Even though we have Harden for another year, and that counts for a lot, it seems like the Brewers gave up a ton less to get a healthy, young Cy Young winner. They gave up none of their MLB depth while we gave up 3 MLB-ready players and a top 50 draft pick. Then again, who really knows how any of these guys will shake out.

If Harden manages to stay healthy, I think Hendry has to get an extension regardless of ownership. If he doesn't stay healthy... well I don't want to think about that.

I see it slightly differently. Even if Harden gets injured tomorrow, we essentially traded Gallagher for Gaudin, and I think Gaudin will be more effective THIS year than Gallagher. The rest of the players in the deal really have no major league impact this season. So even in the worst case scenario the Cubs improved the team and gave up very little. They have an option on Harden for next season, and Gaudin is still under club control too.

The Brewers got CC, but gave up a top prospect in their system for a two-month rental.

I think the Cubs come off much better than the Brewers. All 4 players the Cubs gave up were good players who can have productive mlb careers, but I don't think its very likely any of them become star players. In exchange they get Hardin for a year and a half. The Brewers meanwhile gave up a real top prospect who has at least the potential to be a big league star, and they get just a half season of Sabathia in return.

Most significantly, the two position players the Cubs gave up were never going to get significant playing time with this club (barring a major injury). It was smart to move those pieces.

If Hendry includes a small mountain of cash, he could move Marquis to a team that's losing pitching to free agency at the end of the year. But that's more likely to happen in the off-season.

Speaking of Hendry, I wonder what Manny's got to say right now.

Damnit, you beat me to it! I want to know what Manny thinks.

I love the move btw.

GREAT trade assuming Harden can stay off the DL through at least the end of this year and continue to pitch effectively. Hendry gives up a 'potential' #3 starter, a 4th OF who would have been sent back to AAA when Soriano came off the DL, a AAA 2b/of who didn't have a position available in Chicago, and a class A catcher who is still more suspect than prospect. Hard to see what's NOT to like about this one.

You got to believe Hendry is ACTIVELY shopping Marquis and/or Lieber.


It seems like Gallagher for Gaudin is roughly a wash, so Murton, Patterson and Dolandson for Harden? Yeah.

The thing I like about this is that for once Hendry traded someone (Gallagher) while his stock was high.

It's clear that Hendry and the Powers That Be have agreed that the Cubs can win the World Series in 2008, and that's what we're going to try to do. As Pat Hughes would say, Fasten your seat belts.

According to AZ PHIL - we are for sure thin in blue-chip catching prospects. Donaldson iwas the best we had.

The way Soto has performed, I'm really not all that concerned about needing a starting catcher for the next several years. Serviceable Backup Backstops are easy to find on the FA market.

Over the course of the season, I think Castillo has passed up Donaldson.

Love the trade and agree with the comments. Should Demp return to earth in the 2nd half of the season, you got a nice fall-back with Harden at the top of the rotation.

While I like Marshall (he's nice to have around when another starter gets injured) I wouldn't discount the fact that the Cubs still have Rich Hill waiting in the wings -- hopefully continuing to get his head/mechanics straight. You get a confident Hill back taking the 5th spot in the rotation (instead of a servicable Marquis or Marshall) ... Z, Demp, Lilly, Harden, Hill not too shabby!

I'm a big Jim Hendry fan. He won me over with the Ramirez/Lofton deal, and he's had my support ever since. Another great move by Jim.

I hope Cubs send Marshall down to Iowa and keep starting. Odds are we'll need a some spot starts from him through the rest of the season and would like for his arm strength to ready to go 100 pitches.

Not to be the proverbial wet (silent?) towel, but here's Harden's innings pitched for the last few seasons:

Year IP
2006: 46.2
2007: 25.2
2008: 77.0

He's already pitched more innings this season than the last two seasons combined. Hopefully, Lou can baby him and keep the innings down -- perhaps rotate or spot start Gaudin for Harden from time to time.

For comparison, here's Ben Sheet's IP for the last few years:

2006: 106
2007: 141
2008: 117

I do like the move as I think it gives us a better chance to win THIS year, which is really all you can play for since there's always a chance that next year everything could fall apart (see: 2005). It just scares the hell out of me anytime you hear, "He's one of the best pitchers in the game when he's healthy." Maybe it's just been too many years with Prior.

Anyway, I strongly feel that Sean Gallagher is going to win a lot of games in his career. And it seems to me that Marshall doesn't have the endurance to pitch a full season in the bigs. I'll be extremely happy if I'm wrong about that, and encourage anyone to link to this post the day Marshall makes the ASG.

One thing I noticed - he's a bit above a run higher in away splits.

But still - nice K to BB ratio.

From my comment the other day...

There are only a few I'd like to definitely see the Cubs hang on to: Veal, Samardjiza, Gallagher, and Pie; But you gotta give up something to get something. Murton? Please, take him so I can stop hearing about how Murton "isn't getting a fair shake" ugh.

Harden... eff, yeah.

Hendry sometimes has strange ideas about roster construction and has made some crap deals & signings in the past (as has every other GM), but his passion for making upgrades is a constant. I'll echo what others have said here in that what I like about this deal is that it works, at first blush, for both teams. Harden is a risk, no doubt, but the reward can be the stuff we dream about. And that's a risk worth taking.

Me this afternoon:

*get off bus, get in car, start car, turn on radio*
The Score:...Hendry will be on at 7:30 tomorrow morn--
The Score: Again, the Cubs also get Chad Gaud--
The Score: Blah blah...Murton...Patterson...Gallagher
Me: pause
Me: *pounding steering wheel* THIS IS AWESOME

I'm a little more relaxed about it now, but I'm still excited. It seems to be a very sensible trade with upside (and some risk, of course) for both clubs. Salaam especially to Murton and Gallagher, both solid citizens and ballplayers, but if they have to be sacrificed on the altar of Win Now then so be it.

Question: We have 13 pitchers now. What move do we make?

I think only Marshall and Cotts on the active roster have options left. And both have pitched great lately.

Everyone else I think would have to be placed on waivers or DFAed. Am I correct in that?

If so, we have a tough decision to make tommorow.

Question: We have 13 pitchers now. What move do we make?

Maybe Hendry has a quick trade up his sleeve, or maybe somebody has "back spasms," or maybe it's see ya later Michael Wuertz...?

I think Hendry sends Marshall down to keep him stretched out. He has more value to us as a rotation backup, now that Gaudin has shored up the pen and Eyre is coming back soon.

I agree with that course. Marshall loses much of his value to the team as a reliever. His stuff isnt nearly as impressive in short relief either.

Interesting take over at the A's blog Athletic Supporters:

Seems to think we haven't yet seen the best from Harden. Future Cy Young, blah, blah.

Either way, I'm pretty pumped by this trade. I can't really figure out if there is another change to the club I would make at this point. Who would you go after? What holes do we fill? Rotation? I'm pretty happy with it considering we have Hill in the minors getting ready to come back, and an extra starter in Chicago. Bullpen? If Marmol figures it out, I'm fine with it even before we add Gaudin. Gaudin just makes it a nasty 'pen.

Lineup? Well, its tough to argue with the second most runs scored in all the majors. I think we could potentially upgrade the bench, but Fontenot is hitting HRs, and with Theriot at short continuing to find every way to get on base, I'm happy. Its working. And we don't even have Sori back yet. That'll be nasty...downright nasty.

This is the Cubs, so where are the holes? What will dash our hopes this year?

The guy who wrote that post also seems to think Gaudin is 25 (he's 28). I would take his opinion more seriously if he actually knew how old the A's' players are.

Huh? Gaudin turned 25 in March.

My bad, I saw 28 in the other post.

a mistake on my part, it's been corrected.

Oh, sorry to back-to-back the posting, but the previous blog entry lists both the players in our haul as "Hesitate to Trade:"

1) Rich Harden: I’m in the minority, but I still believe that the A’s will never get the true value for Harden in a trade. He may end-up netting the A’s nothing a la the Cubs and Mark Prior, but that is a risk I am willing to take to see if he can lead the A’s to the playoffs next season. There are only four or five pitchers that can do what Harden can do in this league. It would be tough to trade that away, even with the risk.

3) Chad Gaudin: Gaudin should interest a few teams, but, like Blanton, his value is lower than it should be right now. For Gaudin, the reason that it is low is that he has been in the bullpen rather than the rotation. I still think Gaudin can be a valuable starter for the A’s and given the health risks of a number of the A’s starter, he is a valuable piece of depth.

You know, this is one of those weird ones that got absolutely NO media coverage. You had the requisite "Hendry has called the A's" blah blah blah crap, but nobody knew they were close. Nobody knew names had been tossed around, and all of the sudden, this thing is a done deal.


and according to hendry they've been working on this one for a long time.

In a rare scoop, Jessie Rogers of the SCORE 670 here beat out Bruce Levine by about twenty minutes. Shame Bruce, shame.

One VERY amazing thing: HArdens HR totals!!!!! 43 career HR's (Glendon Rusch had 23 I think his last year for us alone). In recent years its single digits - 7 being the most (16 HR's in 2004)


In a rare scoop, Jessie Rogers of the SCORE 670 here beat out Bruce Levine by about twenty minutes. Shame Bruce, shame.

Wow... if that is true... that may be the first scoop the SCORE has EVER had.

first correct scoop.


"43 career HR's"

Wow. The guy has even more power than Z ;)

Not sure if this has been mentioned, but Hendry did a cameo appearance with Pat & Ron on the radio. When Pat said the obligatory "if Harden can stay healthy" line, Hendry had an interesting take. Paraphrasing, he said that the Never-Been-Injured version of Rich Harden not only doesn't exist, but if he did exist he wouldn't be traded. The price the Cubs "paid" for Harden reflects a discount for his injury history, and generated a risk/reward balance that makes a lot of sense for the Cubs right now.

Sure, this trade could blow up in Hendry's face -- but the key is that even if it does, it doesn't wreck 2008. For this year it's all upside in that (1) the losses of Murton and Patterson are negligible for 2008 and (2) Gaudin is a roughly acceptable substitute for Gallagher.

On the other side of the coin, it's all upside for the A's beyond 2008, assuming Beane (with his limited payroll) couldn't risk picking up Harden's 2009 option based on the injury history. Ironically, in that sense Harden is more valuable to the Cubs than to the A's.

That is a really good take on the trade.

Thanks for posting that 433.

Excellent point and the reason why I like this trade.

Harden's health is a concern, of course. I hope Hendry got some info on what's up with him (hopefully nothing). Some posters over at Athletics Nation believe Harden is injured and soon-to-be DL-bound. Something about only throwing two of his pitches lately (not sure which ones). Anyone in the San Fran area seen him lately and care to comment on this?

Let me be a little late to the party, but still say, "Hell Yes!"

I will miss Murton, and I think that we will all miss Gallagher in a couple of years, but this is the kind of trade that big time teams make.

The Cubs essentially gave away two players with no role on this team in the near future (Murton, EPat), one player who may be blocked for a long time (Donaldson), and one quality prospect with a lot of potential who could be a solid #2/very good #3 for years to come.

In turn they get one of the best pitchers in baseball and have to assume the risk of another Harden injury.

I say it is worth it, and I say that as one of Murton's biggest fans.

I like being able to say that Ted Lilly is this teams #4!

I agree 100% dave. I love the fact that the cubs countered the Brewers move less than 48 Hours after they got Sabathia. I've complained for years that the cubs never really "went for it" under the Trib/McFail era's. However we can flush those memories because no longer is that the case. Gotta love the dice roll in this situation.

I can't really figure out if there is another change to the club I would make at this point. Who would you go after? What holes do we fill? Rotation?

With 2nd best record in baseball and best record in the NL, obviously this year is top priority, but long-term the Cubs still have question marks at SS & CF.

Then there's the bullpen exodus we'll see this winter if guys don't get re-upped before the end of the season.

All valid points. I meant more for this season. For the Win Now plan to get us to October glory.

There's a lot of work in the offseason :)

The Riot has hit over .300 in each month of this season. He's not Rollins, but I wouldn't call SS a "hole".

how about theriot, huh?

it sucks guys like him have almost no margin for bad luck or error because of how they hit. cubs needed someone to step up there...he has. he's not hitting spectacular or doing much special in the field, but given the position he's been pretty damn important.

Every winning team in the history of baseball has always had a scrappy player. You can look that up.

Brewers get CC, Cubs get Harden, Cards shit their pants.

Then, they ruin it by shutting out Hamels and the Phils 2-0 in Philly. Oh, well.

All-around good trade -- should make the Cubs better in 2008 & 2009, and should give Murt and E-Pat a chance to have meaningful MLB careers, which they would not have done here.

Before the deal, we basicaly had 3 #5 starters (Gallagher, Marshall and Marquis) battling for 2 spots in the rotation -- now, we have 2 of those guys battling for one spot. Not sure how you rank 'em after Z, but, if Ted Lilly is now our #4 starter -- me likey.

Boy oh boy do I love this deal.

Some questions for Phil or anyone who wants to take a stab at it.

This was similar to the package Hendry offered this Spring for Brian Roberts. Who would we rather have; Harden or Roberts?

The Brewers gave up Matt LaPorta for Sabathia. LaPorta was selected after the Cubs Josh Vitters in the 2007 draft. Was Hendry unwilling to deal Vitters, or is LaPorta simply regarded as being the better player one year later (both strike me as hitters who play defense because they have to, so I don't think it was a positional thing i.e. CLE saying 'we need a LF')?

These deal both got done much more quickly than some have in the past. Maybe Hendry didn't get a chance to sweeten his offer at the last minute? If you were GM, would you? To put it another way who got the better deal, Melvin or Hendry?

Finally would you have rather sent Hill or Marshall, or are you happy that Hendry sold Gallagher high?

Still trying to make up my mind on these, so I appreciate any feedback:)

Vitters does not play the position the Indians needed and is not Major League-ready like LaPorta, the Indians would not have made that deal. LaPorta is further along and more proven than Vitters.

I would have much rather have Harden than Roberts. DeRosa is doing great for us and our offense has scored runs. You can never have enough pitching and I am glad Hendry saved his bullets for the middle of the season to see what the team's needs really were.

Ha ha. Just reading the first Buster Olney blog post today. Funny stuff. It's titled "Don't expect Cubs to answer CC trade" and Olney insists there's nothing out there for the Cubs--including this nugget:

"The Cubs probably don't have the talent to meet the asking price Oakland would attach to Rich Harden, and even then, Harden hasn't yet pitched enough this year to bury questions about whether he can hold up."

He tries to excuse it with his next blog post where he doesn't even mention how badly he biffed the last one but describes the Harden deal as one that started and finished within the last 24 hours.

What a doofus.

check out the sidebar from Olney where he breaks out how the trade happened. Basically Beane had been asking for Gallagher and until Sunday, Hendry didn't want to deal him.

hell, the sidebar should be its own story...pad it out with a little narrative and you got a jeff passan special.

and that's why buster onley is one of Bart's People...for Kid's News i'm bart simpson...back to you, lisa.

I'm as happy as I was during the Sutcliffe trade, and that's pretty happy. Harden, if they can find a way to keep his shoulder from separating from the rest of his body, is Hall of Fame potential. And he's like, 26!!! But of course it's a huge question if he'll be healthy next week, much less 10 years from now. I saw him pitch here in Oakland and he's pretty filthy. A smoking fastball that snaps at the last second. A thing of beauty.

i would like to see m. wuertz go to iowa i do believe he
has a option left.

marshall i hope they dont mess with him.

could the cubs designate jon lieber?
and then move marquis to pen.

welcome back mr hoffpauer

Didn't you get the memo?

Marquis can't go to the pen because his children will starve.


I think Relieber will get released and Marquis will become the new human white flag.

Wuertz has enough service time that he would have to clear waivers to be sent down. There is no way he would, he is good enough to get picked up by someone else.

Jon Lieber would have to be DFAed.

Only Marshall and Cotts can be sent down without clearing waiver, etc., I THINK, but someone correct me if I am wrong.

Two points:

1) Among other reasons why Murton and Patterson had no future with the Cubs (at least while Pinella is here) is Pin's insistance that players "catch the damn ball". Both Murton and EPat appear to be MLB hitters with bad defense.

2) If all the Cubs were interested in doing was making the playoffs (as opposed to actually winning playoff series) then keeping Gallagher might have been a better long-term strategy. I think the Cubs management figures they can make the playoffs without the trade. But lining up Z-Harden-Dempster for a 5-game series gives the Cubs a much better shot at moving on than Z-Dempster-Lilly. If the Cubs open the playoffs at home, then Z and Dempster go (to take advantage of his better work at home), and Harden starts game 3 (let that sink in for a moment...Rich Harden starting game 3 for the Cubs). If they start on the road, Z and Harden go, then Demp starts game 3. Nice either way.

Go Cubs.

Hope all is well... What a great season thus far. The Cubs are doing better than even their biggest fan could have expected, but no complaints here. I actually made it back to Wrigley for the Friday White Sox game (thx Aramis!) and have been able to watch every game, so that is good. I am sure there have been many "theories" as to why i have not been posting, but it has been a personal decision to sit back and enjoy the season, and not get caught up in the drama of some posters here. I am sure most of you are happy about that...:)

Oh yeah, FUCKING kudos to Hendry for an OUTSTANDING trade in getting Harden. This one ranks up there with getting Aramis and Lee in my book and much harder to get done during the season. A+++++++ At this point he is looking like the executive of the year in the NL, and deservingly so (Did I just write that?). Many of his moves over the past months have paid off (Kosuke, Dempster, Wood, etc.). If this team stays healthy, they should be a very formidable team in the playoffs.

Go Cubs!!!

P.S. Chad, can you send me your info again about DirecTV? Last year I was thinking about getting it and decided against it, but I am going to set up an appointment this week for them, and I think you can get a referral bonus. Thanks man!! Send it to [email protected].

Hell has frozen over.

Good to hear from you, Manny. I'm glad you checked in and gave us a heads-up on what and how you're doing. It hasn't been quite the same without your contributions -- you had a style all your own. Regardless, do what's best for you and enjoy the ride!

Go Cubs, indeed!

Manny? I bet life in CT is amazing... there's no way a Vicodin-less Manny just typed that :)

Interesting Link Harden's mechanics

Is this the new 3/44?

"Sorry if this is Gaudin is 28, but..."

3/44 will never get topped, but Gaudin-28 sounds like a good new Catch-22 phrase.


Recent comments

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.