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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Cubs - Acquired Harden

Chicago Cubs - Acquired P Richmond Virginia Harden and P Chad Gaudin from the Oakland A’s for P Sean Gallagher, OF Matt Murton, 2B/OF Eric Patterson and C Josh Donaldson.

First thing I did when I saw this signing flash by?  I checked to see if this Josh Donaldson was hitting like 400/500/1.200.  He’s not, he’s like the Brad Ausmus of the Midwest League.

Then what did I do?  I checked the wire reports to see if maybe the Cubs were throwing in 3 players to be named later and, Veal, Pie, and, Samardzija.  Nope.

So now I’m just confused.  Yes, Harden has a bad injury history, but he’s been healthy for the longest period in years and the Cubs aren’t really giving up much else.  If you consider Gaudin and Gallagher even and I’m not sure that’s even the case, the Cubs are giving up for a brilliant but risky pitcher Murton, Patterson and Donaldson.  I like Matt Murton, but the Cubs have never really been interested in him and don’t value him at all, Patterson’s like 11th on their 2B depth chart, and Donaldson’s an organizational player if he’s lucky.  From the point of view of the Cubs, they essentially picked up Rich Harden for free.

The A’s had no business throwing in Gaudin in a trade I think they lose without including him.  Murton’s a nice player, but the A’s need a serious bat - with Thomas hurting lately and Cust having one of his patented cold streaks, Tanner Boyle could beat the crap out of the hitters.  Murton’s better than Emil Brown, but Billy Beane has no excuse for not being able to find lots and lots of players who are better than Emil Brown.

The Cubs?  Nothing to complain about here.  They get Harden when he’s healthy and give up nothing they care about.

2008 ZiPS Projection - Rich Harden
————————————————————————————————
          W   L   G GS   IP   H   ER HR BB SO   ERA
————————————————————————————————
Year-to-Date   5   1 13 13   77   57   20   5 31 92 2.34
Rest-of-Yr?  4   1   8   8   51   34   12   3 19 68 2.12
————————————————————————————————
Total       9   2 21 21   128   91   32   8 50 160 2.25
————————————————————————————————
2009?      5   2 14 14   77   57   22   6 30 92 2.57
————————————————————————————————

Top Comps:  Max Lanier, Herb Score

 

2008 ZiPS Projection - Sean Gallagher
————————————————————————————————
          W   L   G GS   IP   H   ER HR BB SO   ERA
————————————————————————————————
Year-to-Date*  6   5 17 15   87   82   38   8 30 72 3.95
Rest-of-Yr?  4   4 14 12   67   70   34   6 31 44 4.57
————————————————————————————————
2009?      9   8 31 25   143 148   66 17 62 108 4.15
————————————————————————————————
* - Includes Minor League Translation

Top Comps:  Mike Witt, Greg Maddux

 

2008 ZiPS Projection - Chad Gaudin
————————————————————————————————
          W   L   G GS   IP   H   ER HR BB SO   ERA
————————————————————————————————
Year-to-Date   5   3 26   6   63   63   25   6 17 44 3.59
Rest-of-Yr?  5   4 15 11   77   72   32   8 27 67 3.74
————————————————————————————————
Total       10   7 41 17   140 135   57 14 44 111 3.67
————————————————————————————————
2009?      10   8 44 20   151 139   67 17 64 138 3.99
————————————————————————————————

Top Comps:  Kelvim Escobar, Rosy Ryan

 

2008 ZiPS Projection - Eric Patterson
———————————————————————————————————-
Period       AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA   OBP   SLG
———————————————————————————————————-
Year-to-Date* 244 30   65 14 1   6 29 13 54 12 .266 .306 .406
Rest-of-Yr?  241 28   61 11 2   5 26 17 40 12 .253 .305 .378
———————————————————————————————————-
2009?      447 61 110 19 2   9 50 33 82 20 .246 .300 .358
———————————————————————————————————-
* - Includes Minor League Translation
Top Comps:  Luis Rivas, Pokey Reese

 

2008 ZiPS Projection - Matt Murton
———————————————————————————————————-
Period       AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA   OBP   SLG
———————————————————————————————————-
Year-to-Date* 238 22   60 11 0   1 18 21 24   3 .252 .321 .311
Rest-of-Yr?  210 25   56 10 0   5 23 22 23   2 .267 .342 .386
———————————————————————————————————-
2009?      388 48 102 17 1   8 47 38 48   4 .263 .334 .374
———————————————————————————————————-
* - Includes Minor League Translation
Top Comps:  Morrie Arnovich, Reed Johnson

 

Dan Szymborski Posted: July 09, 2008 at 12:48 AM | 56 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. MSI Posted: July 09, 2008 at 02:23 AM (#2850077)
What's the service time left on Gaudin. Cots says 3.004. Does that mean he has two more years of arbitration after this one?

I think between that, and the fact that they have a club option on Harden, to keep him for 7 million, or let him go if he's injured, means that they raped the A's here.

The A's got some useful parts to add depth to their roster.
   2. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: July 09, 2008 at 02:23 AM (#2850078)
Donaldson was a supplemental first round pick in last year's draft and hit .346/.470/.605 for Boise. Also, BA named him the Cubs #7 prospect going into the season. I'd hardly reduce him to "organizational player if he's lucky".
(That said, I have concerns about him (his problems this season aside) - his bat is supposed to be his best tool and even there there were concerns as to how he'd hold up at higher levels where they've got better breaking stuff.)

While this certainly looks like a pretty bad deal for Oakland - I don't know Harden's true health status + I think it's likely that the A's are selling high/buying low on most of these players ...
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 09, 2008 at 02:24 AM (#2850081)
Jamey Wright, Luis Rivas and Reed Johnson....sweet.
   4. Brandon in MO (Yunitility Infielder) Posted: July 09, 2008 at 02:27 AM (#2850088)
To be fair, the Midwest League is hell for hitters. Donaldson has a lot of extra base hits, and he's a catcher with 7 stolen bases in 8 tries. His .640 OPS is in a .690 OPS league.

So he doesn't suck that much.
   5. Guts Posted: July 09, 2008 at 02:27 AM (#2850091)
This is probably not a candidate for the podcast - which is forthcoming, right?
   6. Darren Posted: July 09, 2008 at 02:35 AM (#2850101)
Murton's a + defender at both corners, per UZR.
   7. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: July 09, 2008 at 02:37 AM (#2850109)
Dan, what's up with the projected K rates for Gaudin and Gallagher? They seem pretty divergent from their career rates.
   8. Spahn Insane Posted: July 09, 2008 at 02:39 AM (#2850111)
Gallagher's a lot more valuable than Gaudin; he's the one player the Cubs gave up who they could really miss.
   9. Hurdle's Heroes (SuperBaes) Posted: July 09, 2008 at 02:52 AM (#2850137)
Still a complete hosing by the Cubs. Then again, I've said this several times about several A's deals, and I've long ago admitted that Billy Beane is WAAYYYYY smarter than me.
   10. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: July 09, 2008 at 02:56 AM (#2850150)
Great deal for the Cubs, but Harden is NOT healthy. His velocity was down in the last outing, and he got kicked around a bit.
   11. zonk Posted: July 09, 2008 at 03:17 AM (#2850173)
All things being equal, I prefer the Brewer's acquisition to that of the Cubs, but all things were not equal and the Brewers had much more to work with.

I wish I could take credit for it, but Greg Pope in the long thread summed it up best.

The Brewers went out and got themselves a Carlos Zambrano, so the Cubs countered by adding a Ben Sheets.
   12. SouthSideRyan Posted: July 09, 2008 at 03:29 AM (#2850180)
Regarding the supposed loss of velocity last start, fangraphs has him at 91.9 mph over the last 7 days, relative to 92.6 mph for the season. Seems like nothing to me.
   13. TrueNorth Posted: July 09, 2008 at 04:28 AM (#2850205)
Despite the damaged goods tag, the A's got hosed. BTW I think you meant Richmond British Columbia.
   14. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: July 09, 2008 at 06:52 AM (#2850250)
So either Beane knows Harden is injured and is trading him while he still can, retaining his Genius(tm) tag, and actively skirting baseball's rules about trading injured players, or else he just got seriously ethnic-slur'd.
   15. S. Ransom Posted: July 09, 2008 at 08:52 AM (#2850261)
I've been a Gaudin fan since his D-Rays days, when ESPN dubbed him the Slider Master. It was great to see him get 30+ starts last year. He is what he is - a league average guy. Not bad for a 34th round draft pick.
   16. Tike Redman's Shattered Dreams Posted: July 09, 2008 at 08:59 AM (#2850264)
What's with that Harden 2009 projection? 120 Ks in 81 innings over 14 starts? Jesus Christ.
   17. Spahn Insane Posted: July 09, 2008 at 12:45 PM (#2850307)
What's with that Harden 2009 projection? 120 Ks in 81 innings over 14 starts? Jesus Christ.

I'd assume that's based on his having missed so much time in recent years. Or are you commenting on the K rates? That does sound a little high, doesn't it? That's Marmol-esque.
   18. JRVJ (formerly Delta Socrates) Posted: July 09, 2008 at 01:28 PM (#2850326)
Unless Harden is injured (or about to be), pretty much everyone agrees that the Cubs won this trade big time.

What ticked me off was reading Neyer's column, where he goes sycophantic at Billy Beane, trying to put lipstick on a pig.


http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?name=neyer_rob&univLogin02=stateChanged
   19. Famous Original Joe C Posted: July 09, 2008 at 01:35 PM (#2850331)
Unless Harden is injured (or about to be), pretty much everyone agrees that the Cubs won this trade big time.

Which means it's 50/50 that they actually did.
   20. zonk Posted: July 09, 2008 at 01:46 PM (#2850340)
First thing I did when I saw this signing flash by? I checked to see if this Josh Donaldson was hitting like 400/500/1.200. He's not, he's like the Brad Ausmus of the Midwest League.


BTW - My understanding is that Donaldson's D leaves much to be desired. I think the questions weren't so much about his hitting as about whether he could stay behind the plate. The Midwest league is generally where Cub catching prospects go to over-inflate their prospectdom -- not where it generally gets pinched off. Still.... ya never know with catchers.
   21. JPWF13 Posted: July 09, 2008 at 01:57 PM (#2850349)
There's something wrong with these ZIPs:

42/33 and 108/83 K/BB for Gallagher?

120k/80ip for Harden in 2009- with a 2.11 ERA????

Murton is a career .294/.362/.448 hitter

and he'll be 27 next year.
   22. JPWF13 Posted: July 09, 2008 at 01:59 PM (#2850353)
Unless Harden is injured (or about to be), pretty much everyone agrees that the Cubs won this trade big time.


Well it certainly looks like it falls on the Hudson side of the Hudson/Mulder Beane trading spectrum...

... but I also assume that Harden will never qualify for an ERA title ever...
   23. Dan Szymborski Posted: July 09, 2008 at 02:36 PM (#2850380)
I'll check, something does seem odd.

As for Murton, I'm sure that's correct - he's moving to a much harder park in a harder league and has been pretty bad this year.
   24. Dan Szymborski Posted: July 09, 2008 at 03:06 PM (#2850403)
OK, fixed.
   25. Dingbat_Charlie Posted: July 09, 2008 at 03:12 PM (#2850407)
when does Billy announce (with an evil laugh and dramatic flourish of his potent trading arm) that this is merely part 1 of a pre-arranged deal that sends Murton and Cust to Hades, netting the A's Cobb and Joe Jackson?
   26. tomdaddydollars Posted: July 09, 2008 at 03:20 PM (#2850416)
Unless Harden is injured (or about to be), pretty much everyone agrees that the Cubs won this trade big time.


Well, now that Harden is playing for the Cubs, him getting injured is a near certainty. Something must happen to keep the 99-year streak alive.
   27. greenback calls it soccer Posted: July 09, 2008 at 03:38 PM (#2850437)
Dan, are the differences between "rest of year" and 2009 mainly due to aging?
   28. Dan Szymborski Posted: July 09, 2008 at 03:41 PM (#2850441)
Dan, are the differences between "rest of year" and 2009 mainly due to aging?

Pretty much. The regular ZiPS projection is a good bit more rigorous than the in-seasonal one. You'll also see some weird things in partial seasons sometimes due to rounding.
   29. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: July 09, 2008 at 03:52 PM (#2850457)
Apologies if this has been covered ad nauseum in the other thread, but for me the sole issue is Gaudin. Harden for those 4 guys is a decent trade: The A's get a good pitching prospect, a decent C prospect, and two cheap and potentially useful roleplayers for a brilliant but fragile pitcher. Not a spectacular trade, but reasonable. But why on earth did Beane send Gaudin along with Harden? That's what makes this so awful IMO. The only way it makes sense is if both GMs know that Harden is being held together with scotch tape, and there's a very good chance he makes only 1-2 more starts. So in that case the trade is really Gaudin and Harden(0.1) for the four Cubs players.
   30. rfloh Posted: July 09, 2008 at 04:05 PM (#2850473)
Unless Harden is injured (or about to be),


Even this season, with him being "healthy" and all that, there have been concerns and scares: the recently reported "dead arm", the strained subscapularis not too long ago.
   31. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: July 09, 2008 at 04:11 PM (#2850478)
A great trade... for the Angels.
   32. greenback calls it soccer Posted: July 09, 2008 at 04:20 PM (#2850497)
Thanks for the answer, Dan. Even though the in-season system apparently isn't as rigorous, I wish you (or THT or Fangraphs or...) had a stats report with a daily or weekly ZiPS (or similar) update. It'd be a little easier to discuss "true talent" in-season.
   33. Herr Mike Posted: July 09, 2008 at 04:56 PM (#2850555)
Obviously everything is a scare when it comes to Harden. I watched his last start with the supposed dead arm and he was hitting 92 with ease, and would zap in some 95+.

His problem was control.
   34. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 09, 2008 at 04:58 PM (#2850558)
Y:

In interviews Beane specifically stated that Hendry wouldn't do the deal until the A's included Gaudin.

It's almost as if BB was desperate to get Rich off the roster and Jim was the only one answering Beane's phone calls.......
   35. Dan Szymborski Posted: July 09, 2008 at 05:06 PM (#2850567)
Thanks for the answer, Dan. Even though the in-season system apparently isn't as rigorous, I wish you (or THT or Fangraphs or...) had a stats report with a daily or weekly ZiPS (or similar) update. It'd be a little easier to discuss "true talent" in-season.

Well, my in-season spreadsheet is public, so anyone who has a bright idea how to harvest the stats into the spreadsheet and automatically run a macro generating the rest-of-season projection for each player, they're welcome to go ahead!
   36. _ Posted: July 09, 2008 at 05:23 PM (#2850597)
Anybody who can explain Dan's Ryan Howard and Nick Swisher projections this year is welcome to, as well!
:-)
   37. Joey B. "disrespects the A" Posted: July 09, 2008 at 06:10 PM (#2850677)
Look for Houston Texas Street to be the next guy to go in the great Oakland rebuild project.
   38. Danny Posted: July 09, 2008 at 06:16 PM (#2850688)
Dan, what run context are you using for the A's and Cubs?
   39. Tike Redman's Shattered Dreams Posted: July 09, 2008 at 06:43 PM (#2850730)
I'd assume that's based on his having missed so much time in recent years. Or are you commenting on the K rates? That does sound a little high, doesn't it? That's Marmol-esque.

14 starts sounded high if anything, but I was talking about the K rate. Dan seems to have fixed it now though.
   40. flournoy Posted: July 09, 2008 at 06:54 PM (#2850739)
What's up with the Greg Maddux comparison on Sean Gallagher?
   41. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: July 09, 2008 at 07:07 PM (#2850759)
When Maddux was 22-and-a-half, he had a career ERA+ of 92. I'm pretty sure they'll diverge from this point.
   42. Danny Posted: July 09, 2008 at 07:18 PM (#2850782)
I'd be happy with the first 6+ years of Mike Witt's career...
   43. base ball chick Posted: July 09, 2008 at 07:20 PM (#2850786)
brad ausmus of the midwest league?

i don't THINK so

- and by the way, has anyone figured out how this trade could possibly be good for the A's?

i mean, unless gallagher suddenly turns into randy johnson 2001?
   44. Dr. Vaux Posted: July 09, 2008 at 07:31 PM (#2850806)
If (a)Harden is injured, (b) Gaudin never becomes more than a 95-100 ERA+ guy, and (c) Gallagher develops into at least a 95-100 ERA+ guy or (d) Patterson becomes Ray Durham, then the trade is either good or a wash for the A's. I don't have time to construct a chart right now, but it looks like a reasonable probability that the trade doesn't hurt the A's (since (b) is almost certainly going to be the case, and (c) seems pretty likely to be). The probability that it actually helps looks somewhat lower. The only way it really hurts is if not (a), which seems unlikely since Beane traded him for this return in the first place. What the hell, I'm rambling.
   45. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: July 09, 2008 at 08:10 PM (#2850909)
There is no more dugout so I will ask here. What is the scouting report on Jeff Samardzija? His stats weren't very impressive in college, yet he was drafted in the 1st round. Now, he is plowing through the Cubs' farm system with stats bordering on horrible. Do scouts love this guy?
   46. Mike Emeigh Posted: July 09, 2008 at 08:15 PM (#2850924)
What is the scouting report on Jeff Samardzija? His stats weren't very impressive in college, yet he was drafted in the 1st round. Now, he is plowing through the Cubs' farm system with stats bordering on horrible. Do scouts love this guy?


He throws mid-90s consistently, his secondary pitches need work, he has trouble with location, and my guess is that he ends up in the pen.

-- MWE
   47. Mike Emeigh Posted: July 09, 2008 at 08:17 PM (#2850929)
Samardzija is being pushed primarily because he has a major-league contract.

-- MWE
   48. JPWF13 Posted: July 09, 2008 at 08:23 PM (#2850950)
- and by the way, has anyone figured out how this trade could possibly be good for the A's?

i mean, unless gallagher suddenly turns into randy johnson 2001?


A; Harden continues to average 50 ip per year
B: Gaudin never becomes more than a 95-100 ERA+ guy (yes I copied Vaux)
C: Gallagher develops into a 105-115 ERA+ guy (imho he already is at least a 95-100 guy, and further development is possible- he might even become Danny Haren- not likely but possible)
D: Murton becomes a reasonably productive regular OF, and once newly re-minted as an everyday OF gets pawned off on a contender desperate for corner OF help
E: Patterson is an adequate 2B allowing the A's to get value for Ellis from a cnmtender desperate for middle IF help...
F: Donaldson starts hitting again
   49.   Posted: July 09, 2008 at 10:09 PM (#2851143)
Top Comps: Herb Score

Oof.
   50. Spivey Posted: July 10, 2008 at 03:20 AM (#2851562)
So are the A's just giving up this year?
   51. Dr. Vaux Posted: July 10, 2008 at 03:22 AM (#2851564)
I forgot about Murton. The trade gets better for the A's all the time!
   52. akrasian Posted: July 10, 2008 at 04:51 AM (#2851600)
So are the A's just giving up this year?

I think once the A's got good value for Haren Beane sort of wrote off 2008. He was happy when things were going well despite the offseason trades, but with injuries occurring it was time to dump Harden when his value was higher than it had been for years.

And yes, Street is available - if the A's think they can get good enough value. There are two years left until free agency, so there is no rush - but Beane has never shown a fear of trading closers. He knows that nearly all of them are fairly easy to replace.
   53. akrasian Posted: July 10, 2008 at 04:53 AM (#2851601)
That being said - the A's obviously value Gallagher very highly. It will be interesting to see if they are correct.
   54. Danny Posted: July 10, 2008 at 03:08 PM (#2851820)
I think one thing that isn't being discussed much is the difference in park factors between Oakland and Chicago. According to B-R, Oakland has a multi-year park factor of 93, and a single year park factor of 89. That multi-year park factor is the second lowest in baseball, behind San Diego. Chicago, meanwhile, has a multi-year park factor of 104 and is at 107 this year. Only 3 teams in baseball (COL, ARI, BOS) have a multi-year park factor above 104.

Gallagher has a 4.45 ERA, which is a 100 ERA+ for Chicago. A 100 ERA+ for Oakland this year would be a 3.82 ERA.

Let's say Harden would have put up a 2.50 ERA in 90 innings for the rest of this season--which is an optimistic figure. The difference between a 2.50 ERA and a 3.82 ERA over 90 innings is 13 runs. If the A's replace Brown with Murton and Davis with Patterson, I think they'd make up most of those 13 runs.

There's a drop-off in the bullpen from Gaudin to Braden, but the drop-off would likely have very little effect on win-loss records given the low leverage situations Gaudin was pitching in. There's also the difference in league quality, so I guess Gallagher's ERA+ would be a bit lower in the AL.
   55. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 10, 2008 at 03:13 PM (#2851823)
And yes, Street is available - if the A's think they can get good enough value. There are two years left until free agency, so there is no rush - but Beane has never shown a fear of trading closers. He knows that nearly all of them are fairly easy to replace.

I'm perfectly fine with them trading Street. The sooner the better.
   56. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: July 14, 2008 at 02:59 PM (#2855794)

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