Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
Ken: catfish AT zombia d.o.t. com
Ryan: rarmbrust AT gmail d.o.t. com
Philip: kingchimp AT alamedanet d.o.t net
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.
Especially since Harden is signed through next year and CC who isn't got the Tribe LaPorta.
This deal sucks and is totally unneccessary unless the Cubbies were willing to deal Soto or Vitters. I mean what is the worst that can happen? Harden pitches, pulls his eyelash and goes on the DL with us?
I agree .... Pie would have been an interesting player to bring back ....
I feel your pain Ken .... and Christina Kahrl can't be happy either.
Gaudin, meanwhile, has for the first time in his career a reasonable walk rate. After years and years of 4.25 BB/9, is he suddenly a 2.25 BB/9 pitcher? I don't know.
Oh, and I think Eric Patterson could make an All-Star team if he sticks at second base. His PECOTA for this year would put him in the Mark Grudzielanek range, OPS-wise (Grudz is fourth amongst AL second sackers in OPS), which puts him well within striking distance of having either a great first half or a surprising big-league career that puts him in the upper echelons of second basemen.
When you're winning, in the hunt, etc., what does this move say to the players and the fans?
I don't have a problem with this kind of move when you're out of it, but when you're in it? crazy.
As for what the A's got, Gallagher, at age 22, does have a lot of upside, while Murton could benefit from steady playing time. I am willing to give Beane the benefit of the doubt here.
A's fans, you are welcome to join me and william in rooting for the Evil Empire.
Game done in under two hours? Wow.
17 No offense intended, but that will happen approximately never.
Good luck to the A's.
As a general fan of the team, I'm not that pissed that they traded Harden, b/c if you watch the A's on a day-to-day basis, you'll pretty quickly realize that they're not a legit playoff team--this team has very little offense to speak of. Most of the guys on the roster just can't hit.
Which brings me to what pisses me off most: the A's didn't get a good hitter in this trade. Their minor league system is stocked with good pitchers (Gonzalez, Simmons, Cahill, Anderson, Rodriguez). They're not lacking for pitching prospects. They need impact position players. In a trade for the most entertaining player on the team, they needed to get either Vitters or Pie (I would have wanted Pie, b/c the A's also need up the middle athletes), and they got neither. That's why I hate this trade.
It is interesting that the main criticism of the trade (I think) is opportunity cost (that is, Beane could have gotten a better return) while the main rationale for committing to the trade now is the opportunity cost in case the Cubs end up having the best offer because of a) no team being willing to go higher because of the risks on Harden or b) Harden being injured or quite ineffective prior to the right deal springing up.
Nobody likes to trade away exciting and get boring in return, even if the math is correct. We wanted somebody in that deal who provided a little excitement back. Somebody who lets us dream, just a little. Vitters or Pie would have done that--someone you can fantasize might have a chance at stardom. With all of these guys except maybe Donaldson, these players' upsides are that they'll end up slightly-above-average. Nobody except Garrison Keillor fans ever dreams that our kids will grow up to be slightly-above-average.
As for Murton's redundancy, I was kinda looking past the current season. Murton is certainly a vast improvement over Emil Brown. But Brown had barely been playing since Gonzalez got called up. The outfield of the future is Buck-Sweeney-Gonzalez, so there's not like there's a starting job wide open for Murton to fill. That makes Murton the fourth OF/platoon OF on the less-used side of a platoon, which all things considered, isn't really a particularly big hole in the organization. I'm assuming that in the future, those guys won't really need platoon partners, and even if they do, Aaron Cunningham isn't too far away, and you can fill a right-handed outfield platoon bat pretty cheaply in free agency until Cunningham is ready. He fills a hole, but it's a temporary, small-sized hole in the lineup that does nothing to fill the gaping wide holes in the hearts of A's fans.
In the end, maybe this is a blessing in disguise. My heart, time and money are better spent than caring about an organization that would do something like this.
And Murton isn't redundant, he sucks. He's the Dan Johnson of the OF. The only good thing you can say about Murton is that he's has a good eye and will take a walk. His BA is going to fall playing half his games in the Colesium (if he even makes it to Oakland), he has no arm or speed and so it's not surprising his defense is suspect. So he's a light hitting corner OF'er. Patterson is Durham light... okay offensively, brick glove. And Donaldson is a struggling 22 (or 21) year old at single A. He's over-aged for the competition and one would think should be more polished coming out of Auburn. And isn't Jeb Morris our very own over-aged catcher in the minors?
Gallagher is a mid-rotation innings eater who sounds an awful lot like Blanton in size and "stuff". Supposedly he lost 30lbs and added some speed to his FB. Whom, may I add is less of a pitcher than Guadin is.
So not only did the A's send the best player in the deal in Harden (injury prone that he is) but also the second best in Gaudin.
This trade makes no sense in terms of the big rebuild or make the team better now. The only way it makes sense is in the context of a salary dump, Gaudin is arby eligible and Harden is owed 7M via an option. Which just goes to show what the A's are actually about. And if you think it's about winning or competing, you'd be wrong.
I really hope that soccer gig is working for you Billy, because you look like a fool in this trade. And I would think looking a fool would sort of burn.
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