Wow, that was fast
Sometimes the world seems to work in overdrive to make me look like I know what I'm talking about.
For example, in recent days I - and a bunch of Cub fans and sites, to be fair - have been speculating that the Cubs might make a move to grab Rich Harden or A.J. Burnett. In particular, I wrote:
Jim Hendry is looking to retaliate to the Milwaukee trade of C.C. Sabathia, and when discussing the possibility of Harden coming to Chicago, I speculated that it would cost the Cubs some prospects -probably Sean Gallagher and Matt Murton for starters, and there'd likely be a handful of others included as well. I concluded my thoughts by saying that within a week of the All Star Game, the Cubs will have made an impact trade. Additionally, as recently as Saturday, I had speculated that Hendry might be looking for a top-of-the-line set-up man to supplement Marmol/Howry.
This trade pretty well fulfilled a lot of my various opinions as of late. But before I look into the new Cubs, let's look at The Departed:
Sean Gallagher - While I have expressed considerable man-love for our Irish youngster, Gallagher has proven that he may need a little more seasoning before he's ready to contribute to a team's championship drive. He could and should develop into a very talented player for the A's, and I think they'll be happy to have him, but for a guy who's a front-line starter now, he's well worth the price of admission.
Matt Murton - Murton was once highly toted, especially by this blog, and by other Cubs websites like Thunder Matt's Saloon. Unfortunately, due in part to a lack of the long ball and defensive shoddiness, Murton never really got to start regularly for Lou Piniella. That said, he still managed a .281 AVG and .352 OBP for last year's Cubs in 235 at bats, and had he played a full season he would've been on pace to hit roughly 20 homers and 30 doubles. He may never be a superstar, but he could and should be an offensive contributor to the A's.
Eric Patterson - Lil' Strut has had a few bright moments at the Major League Level, but he's also displayed a knack of getting on Lou's foul side by showing up late and hitting very mediocrely (is that a word) at the Major League Level. That said, he shares his brother's epic potential, maybe he'll realize it while with a team that may be more fundamentally sound than the Cubs.
John Donaldson - Best known for finishing second in a national hot dog eating contest, John Donaldson spends his off-seasons running around in a jump suit calling himself The Nazi Smasher as he fights crime in his home city. Actually, contrary to ESPN's report, his name is Josh Donaldson and he appears to be a catcher who, through 47 games at Peoria, is batting .205 this year.
The Cubs, meanwhile, have acquired two pitchers whose average age is roughly 25.
Chad Gaudin is a starter-turned-reliever who has an ERA of 3.59 in 62.2 innings of work this year. This body of work includes 6 starts, in which he threw 36 innings in 6 starts, went 3-2, and had an ERA of 3.75. He is 25-years-old, went 11-13 last season with a 4.43 ERA, and is probably considered arm insurance should Harden get hurt.
Rich Harden is 26 years old, and is 5-1 with a 2.34 ERA this season. He's a dominating pitcher. In 77 innings of work, he's struck out 92 batters to 31 walks. Now, for the downside. Harden is an injury waiting to happen. He's already missed time this season with a shoulder strain, and if the Cubs fail to use him properly, then he'll be a moot acquisition in October.
All told, the reaction across the Cubs blogsphere is mixed. I'm going to tackle that next, with commentary.