A’s Trade Harden
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.