A’s Trade Harden

Dave · July 8, 2008 at 4:39 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Subheadline: Establish Market Value For Good Pitchers With Injury Problems.

Subsubheadline: It Isn’t Adam Jones, George Sherrill, Chris Tillman, Tony Butler, and Kam Mickolio.

The A’s punted the 2008 season, giving the Angels the A.L. West, by trading sometimes healthy Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin to the Cubs for a pu-pu platter of interesting players with limited upside. In return for two good arms with bad injury histories, they got RHP Sean Gallagher, OF/2B Eric Patterson, OF Matt Murton, and minor league C Josh Donaldson.

Gallagher is a decent 22-year-old who isn’t that far away from being a useful #4 starter. He commands three pitches and throws an occasional change-up, and while he’s got slightly better stuff, he’s probably going to have a Joe Blanton career. Useful, but not much star potential, and he’s the main guy in this deal.

Murton, we’ve talked about as a potential M’s target – solid role player, good defensive corner OF who can hit lefties. Could be a league average player if given the chance, but not enough power to be more that that.

Eric Patterson is Corey’s younger brother, but not the same type of player – gap hitter, decent idea of what to do at the plate, but can’t really field second base well and was moved to the OF to try to find a spot he could fit in with Chicago. The A’s probably move him back to second base and groom him as Mark Ellis’ replacement next year. That’s some kind of defensive drop off to go from Ellis to Patterson, but the bats are similar.

Donaldson was a second round pick last year who hasn’t hit in his first year in the pros, but he’s got some long term potential. A nice gamble, but not a guy you want to count in your plans anytime soon.

So, the A’s get a mid-rotation starter who isn’t going to be going anywhere anytime soon, a part time outfielder, a guy who might be able to keep second base warm for a few years while not killing them, and a catcher who is years away from the show.

That’s about what an injury prone, talented pitcher a year and a half away from free agency should command in a trade. It’s a fair return for both sides, and it continues to illustrate just how ridiculously stupid the M’s offer to Baltimore was. If you’re in favor of trading Bedard before the deadline, you should expect to get back a package worth a little less than this deal, since Harden is currently pitching circles around Bedard and the A’s gave up Gaudin as well.


38 Responses to “A’s Trade Harden”

  1. brettb3 on July 8th, 2008 4:42 pm

    Given that return, the M’s would be monumentally stupid to trade Bedard now.

  2. Jeff Nye on July 8th, 2008 4:49 pm

    The only way I’d support dealing Bedard at this point is if he could be turned into talent to solve multiple problems cheaply; and with this trade (like Dave says) establishing the market for pitchers like Bedard, it’s not going to happen.

    Now, if some team that feels they’re on the bubble gets desperate, you might get an offer that strong or stronger as the trade deadline gets closer, but I wouldn’t bank on it.

  3. okobojicat on July 8th, 2008 4:53 pm

    Dave, I must disagree that this is a fair trade for both teams. I think the Cubs clean up, mainly because they have control of Harden next year. Gallagher was the only one of these players who was ever going to make an impact in Chicago, and like you said above, his impact was probably going to be slightly above or right at league average. Having Gaudin thrown in, either to spot start, knock Marquis out of the rotation is fantastic.

    However, comparing to Bedard, yeah, the M’s severely overpaid. That said, Bedard is now the biggest name pitcher available. Everyone is scared of Burnett in Toronto and I don’t really think Hudson is available, though everyone wants to make him. If someone gets too anxious around the deadline, the M’s can ship him off and make a ton. But they don’t need to. They have him under control for next year.

  4. CaptainPoopy on July 8th, 2008 4:55 pm

    I understand what Dave is saying, but I also believe that as the trade season starts coming to an end and some team wants that left-handed pitcher of Bedard’s caliber, there could be a bidding war. If that’s the case, we will get some better prospect than that of what the A’s got, but, if that’s not the case, then I agree with this blog entry by Dave.

  5. abender20 on July 8th, 2008 4:55 pm

    I’d love to see Carlos Carrasco and Adrian Cardenas coming over from Phillie.

  6. Dave on July 8th, 2008 4:56 pm

    Having control of Harden isn’t that much fun if he’s on the DL. If he stays healthy and pitches 300 innings over the next year and a half, Cubs win. But I’m betting against that, and history is on my side.

    I think the people who hate this trade for Oakland are overestimating the difference between 100 innings of Harden and 100 innings of Harden’s replacement versus 200 innings of Gallagher. It’s not as big as you might think.

  7. Dave on July 8th, 2008 5:01 pm

    “Trade Season” doesn’t really work like that, Captain. Yes, the supply of available left-handed starting pitchers has dwindled by two the last few days, but so has the demand from clubs who would be in the market for LHPs. The Brewers and Cubs were the two most likely teams to overpay to acquire a starter for the stretch run, and they’re not going to be calling about Bedard anymore.

    The supply and demand both decreased equally, so the price isn’t going to change.

  8. JI on July 8th, 2008 5:01 pm

    I hate this trade. The return is fine, but as a baseball fan I have problems with punting the season when they’re only 3 and a half back.

  9. terry on July 8th, 2008 5:01 pm

    I think Beane did a nice job.

  10. Seth on July 8th, 2008 5:04 pm

    I think it’s a little unfair to lump Bedard in with Hardin as far as “injury-prone” goes.

    Hardin games started, 04-06: 19, 9, 4.

    Bedard games started, 04-06: 24, 33, 28.

  11. Seth on July 8th, 2008 5:05 pm

    That should be “05-07” and “Harden.” I’m an idiot.

  12. CaptainPoopy on July 8th, 2008 5:05 pm

    Bedard is injury prone, Seth, as is Hardin… they’re of the same ilk. Hardin’s missed more games, but neither is dependable.

  13. shortbus on July 8th, 2008 5:08 pm

    I agree with JL, but when you’re only drawing 11.5k fans to see that team that’s only 3.5 games back…well the fans can take a hike. You do what’s best for the team.

    As for Bedard, I’m now thinking the M’s should really allow the market to come for them. If by some miracle a bidding war emerges, they should deal him. Otherwise I think they’re better off seeing if we get a good year out of Bedard in 2009 and then try to trade him at the deadline, re-sign him, or let him walk for the draft picks.

  14. CaptainPoopy on July 8th, 2008 5:09 pm

    You’re correct Dave… I just am a wishful thinker. I do know that there are teams that are still in the running for a playoff spot. I just want him to be gone so I don’t have to think about what we gave up to get him. You know?

  15. SethGrandpa on July 8th, 2008 5:11 pm

    I think this actually helps the market for Bedard. While it has set the bar low, it’s also drained the trade talent pool. Now if a team gets stupidly desperate for pitching Harden and CC aren’t going to be there, so they’d have to shell out for Bedard or Burnett.

  16. Mike Snow on July 8th, 2008 5:13 pm

    Harden is healthier right now than Bedard. “Right now” makes a big difference for a team looking to pick up a guy at the trade deadline.

  17. Tek Jansen on July 8th, 2008 5:17 pm

    I wonder just how much the Bedard trade and its failure freaked out the FO and made the higher ups yell at the coaches, fire the GM and manager, and basically go bat**** crazy? The whole season was built around that horrific trade, which would have been horrific even if Bedard pitched as well as everyone thought. They now have to console themselves with the fact that they traded away AJ/GS52/Tillman/Butler/Mickolio for whatever they get in return for Bedard. I bet that they haven’t learned a thing.

  18. r0ry on July 8th, 2008 5:25 pm

    The As are only 3.5 back, and they’re first in BP’s adjusted standings. This will be tough to swallow for Oakland fans.

  19. Omerta on July 8th, 2008 5:27 pm

    I like the trade, for both clubs. The A’s get some useful, undervalued and cheap pieces to help them immediately and beyond, while trading Harden at the absolute peak of his value (health issues being well documented, no one knows when he gets hurt again).

    On the other hand, the Cubs got one of the best pitchers in baseball (when healthy) and another undervalued piece in Gaudin. Really a win-win.

    Zambrano, Harden, Dempster in a short series? Ouch. I bet Lou Piniella has rarely been happier.

  20. bermanator on July 8th, 2008 5:28 pm

    It’s interesting. When the Cubs were trying to get Brian Roberts from Baltimore this spring, the rumored package offered was similar to this one (Ronny Cedeno was involved as well, and the rumors also had the Cubs getting Jay Payton back, but Baltimore wanted a higher-ceiling guy included and Chicago walked away from the table).

    Billy Beane is a smart guy and I trust his judgement, but this does strike me as him taking a little less than expected in exchange for not having to worry that Harden’s going to have something else go wrong with his body over the next couple of weeks.

  21. Milendriel on July 8th, 2008 5:32 pm

    So, how healthy would Harden have to be next year to earn comp picks for his team? Seems like one/two draft picks (and the better chance of competing this season) would have been a better haul for the A’s.

  22. rcc on July 8th, 2008 5:33 pm

    I have been a big Billy Beane fan for a long time, but this trade seems one sided in favor of the Cubs. The A’s gave up two starters, and got very little in return.

    It also means that the A’s have looked in the mirror, and figure they are done for this year. In twenty three games they have scored one or no runs this season. That is a Mariner like hitting performance, and Billy assumes that they are not going to get any better in the second half.

    Finally, for Bedard, does this mean the M’s could not even expect to get an “Adam Jones” in return?

  23. Dave on July 8th, 2008 5:39 pm

    I like this deal for the A’s – just because there isn’t a ton of star potential doesn’t mean they got nothing in return. Gallagher is a valuable piece as an average-ish starter who doesn’t make any money and is just 22 years old.

    As for the M’s getting an “Adam Jones” type player back, this was the point we made all winter – teams don’t trade Adam Jones type players, they build around them. The M’s package was so outrageously over market value, which is why we were so against the deal.

  24. shortbus on July 8th, 2008 5:41 pm

    #18: Not having teeth will make it easier for the A’s fans to swallow dropping out of the race. Seriously, though, the A’s have the worst fans I’ve ever seen. They are the polar opposite of M’s fans who will keep coming to the park even during the worst season (aka: THIS season). They just don’t deserve a lot of consideration from the FO at this point.

    Plus they reflexively booed Ichiro during his first few visits for no apparent reason. These aren’t fans I will ever feel very sorry for.

  25. et_blankenship on July 8th, 2008 5:45 pm

    Beane settled for all of the spare parts Hendry has been aggressively shopping for the past two years. I trust Beane’s judgement, but I am mildly surprised Harden couldn’t fetch a relatively big(ger) name prospect.

  26. msb on July 8th, 2008 5:46 pm

    The A’s probably move him back to second base and groom him as Mark Ellis’ replacement next year

    what? but, the guys on the broadcast yesterday couldn’t imagine Oakland would let a good 2B walk, especially one who’d be such a good influence for the young guys 🙂

  27. bakomariner on July 8th, 2008 5:47 pm

    This trade is a win for both sides, only if Harden stays healthy…if he goes down, especially this season, the A’s got the better end of the deal…

    And I’ve said it since day one on the Bedard deal…worst Mariners trade ever…

  28. batura on July 8th, 2008 5:51 pm

    I don’t think the comparison of Bedard’s injury history to Harden’s is justifiable at all. Bedard is fragile, but not made of glass and scotch-tape.

  29. Jim_H on July 8th, 2008 6:03 pm

    Maybe the A’s know something about Harden that we don’t, and are dumping him before it becomes a big issue?

  30. shortbus on July 8th, 2008 6:05 pm

    #27 And yet you still hear the local media claiming that “everyone thought the deal looked good” when it happened. Yes, everyone YOU talked to (Mike Gastineau, Mitch Levy, Softy Mahler, et. al.) thought it looked good. But had any of you bothered to spend your time mucking around on the blogs (eeeewwww) you’d have found dozens of informed people who HATED the deal. And the deal has failed for many of the reasons those dozens of people mentioned:

    Bedard is injury prone: CHECK
    Adam Jones and George Sherrill are guys who are going to really help the team THIS YEAR: CHECK
    The team is NOT one pitcher away from contending (especially when you take away Jones and Sherrill): CHECK
    You won’t be able to adequately replace Jones on short notice: CHECK

    This was all known by people who get paid nothing to follow baseball. If you, Mr. Sports Talk Radio Host, or Baseball Beat Reporter, can’t find and reflect those doubts to your listeners when they are freely available to you…you’re paid exactly why?

  31. bakomariner on July 8th, 2008 6:08 pm

    Preach on shortbus!

  32. SequimRealEstate on July 8th, 2008 6:56 pm

    [this comment makes no sense]

  33. PaulMolitorCocktail on July 8th, 2008 7:07 pm

    Is Bedard going to be worse than the Slocumb trade?

    Dave/DMZ, there’s an idea… worst Ms trades ever!

  34. Dave in Palo Alto on July 8th, 2008 7:13 pm

    I find it a strange concept that a questionable trade is okay because fan support is lacking.

  35. smb on July 8th, 2008 8:07 pm

    Anyone else a little surprised the Cubs would trade for Harden after dealing with Prior’s injuries for so long? Seems eerily similar, terrific pitcher who can’t seem to stay healthy. I hope he stays healthy for the Cubs…he is fun to watch when healthy.

  36. wily mo on July 8th, 2008 9:26 pm

    yeah, i don’t buy the comparison. for years i’ve seen people talk up bedard’s low inning counts and supposed injury-proneness, but since he had tommy john back in 03 it really hasn’t been arm problems. knee, hip, back, oblique – harden’s shoulder goes out every ten starts. there’s a massive difference between a pitcher who gets body injuries and a pitcher with chronic arm problems.

    granted, bedard now has a sore shoulder. but as of the offseason, there was really no particular reason to worry about him – it’d been years since he had a real arm problem, no particular mechanical red flags. yet i even saw a couple of fantasy sources outright misreport his 07-ending oblique pull as a “shoulder problem”.

    i feel the same way about ben sheets – people lump him in with prior and harden, but ear infections and hamstring pulls just aren’t the same animal as a grinding sensation in your rotator cuff.

  37. qwerty on July 8th, 2008 10:57 pm

    With the NL Central grabbing Starting pitching. Does that mean STL is a player for Bedard? Rasmus for Bedard straight up sounds good to me….

  38. scott19 on July 8th, 2008 11:38 pm

    Mr. Sports Talk Radio Host

    Uh-oh…I feel a Bud Light ad coming on…

    REAL MEN OF GENIUS…Yes, here’s to you, Mr. Sports Talk Radio Host (chanted in background)…You sit behind the console at that big-stick 50k watt radio station…spouting the most obvious pablum puke over a 300-mile radius…never once bothering to really get all sides of the story! 🙂

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.