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Cubs get Rich Harden; all Chicago World Series inches closer

by Ricky O'Donnell on July 9, 2008 at 12:45AM

We all know Rich Harden is injury prone. He’s been on the DL nine times already at age 26. He’s also seen his velocity drop a little this year. That isn’t good for his long term future as a player. But when Harden is healthy, he’s pretty much as good as anyone. The Cubbies did well to get him, though you always have to be weary of dealing with Billy Beane. On paper, it looks like the Cubbies gave up nothing.

Matt Murton has red hair, no power, and is a corner outfielder. If you don’t have power as a corner outfielder, it doesn’t matter if you hit .300. He's basically useless. Eric Patterson may be better than his older brother, but he’s nothing special either. Patterson single-handedly gave the Sox a win over the Cubs earlier this year with horrible play in left field. Then there is Josh Donaldson, who is a high upside catcher, but the Cubs already have Soto so it isn’t a big blow losing him.

That brings us to Sean Gallagher, a 23-year old pitcher who I like a lot. He has an ERA around 4.5 so far, and strikes a bunch of guys out while walking few. You could argue that Gallagher would help the Cubs more than Harden, maybe even this year, particularly if Harden can’t stay healthy.

But the Cubs got a potential top of the roto starter (though he’s no where near as good as Sabathia) for one pretty good young pitcher, and not much else. It almost seems too good to be true. Why would Billy Beane, baseball’s best GM, accept such a lame package? If I were a Cubs fan, that’s what I’d be worried about. Maybe Beane knows Harden isn’t healthy. If so, the Cubs could have got screwed.

Don’t expect the Sox to make a big deadline deal for one simple reason: unlike the Cubs, the Sox have no holes. Their rotation is young and awesome, and they have best bullpen in baseball. Sure it’d be great to upgrade over Jose Contreras, but few if any teams have a fifth starter who is even as competent as Contreras. The Sox lineup has no holes either, and expect Jim Thome, Nick Swisher, and Paul Konerko all to see big hikes in batting average in the second half because they all have lower batting average on balls in play (BABIP) then they should. And all three hit homers and get on-base already. Once those three come around (assuming they do, and Swish has already started to), an already stellar Sox order gets even better.

Basically, I have a real good feeling about both teams in this city. I’m not totally sold on Harden for the Cubbies, but they didn’t give up anything crazy to get him, so it’s a good trade for them. The Sox just keep rolling along. My only concern is the wheels may start to come off Gavin Floyd a tad because of his low K-rate and high fly ball rate, but Floyd has been awesome the entire first half, and he’s only 25 so his peripherals can still improve. Even if Floyd does look a tad lucky this year so far, it’s impossible to argue with the numbers he’s put up. And there lots of luck involved in baseball, the three hitters mentioned above have all been unlucky. Things tend to balance themselves out. Also, the best pitcher in Chicago isn’t Carlos Zambrano, it’s John Danks, who looks like a legit ace.

So yeah, Sox/Cubs World Series. It’s totally going to happen.

Game Recap 7-8-08: White Sox 8, Royals 7 Since I watched every pitch last night, why not...

  • You have to love Alexei. Seriously, it's impossible not to. Look no further than his base running to score on a sac fly from second base in the eighth. He was booking the entire way home. Alexei has his obvious warts (he swings at every pitch), but he's the first 5-tool Sox player I can remember. Was the last one Bo Jackson? Great work scouting and signing him by the Sox- and he'll be even more valuable next year when he's playing shortstop. It's enough to make one want to buy this t-shirt.
  • If Joe Crede can stay at his current .263/.340 pace and hit about 30 homers, I'd be totally cool with that. Crede's D has mysteriously slipped a ton this year, but he's really only missing the routine play. I think the errors will start to come to an end. As for the future...I have no idea. It'll really hurt to just let Crede walk with nothing but compensation draft picks in return, but the Sox certainly can't trade him at the deadline. Josh Fields isn't exactly tearing up AAA pitching either. If the Sox can get Crede for a reasonable price, I'd like to see him signed up and Fields traded for another starter. I don't know though: Fields is probably going to be a stud, and with Scott Boras as Crede's agent, I don't think the hometown discount will be an option.
  • What the hell's wrong with Linebrink? He was lights out until giving up the walk-off to Aramis Ramirez during the first Cubs-Sox game. The Sox are going to need him to be better with Jenks going to the DL.
  • I think Jim Thome is about to bust out of his season long funk in a big way. He hit a pair of doubles last night, and finished with four hits and walk. Thome is always valuable because he's an OBP monster and he's got great power, but once the average comes around, the Sox are going to be unstoppable.
Check my list today at Top Ten: Top ten reasons we can't wait for the NFL to return. Also go click on all the pretty, new ads. We signed a deal with the Sun-Times a little while ago, and now everything is coming together. Head to the Sun-Times sports homepage to see the latest updates from the site. Pretty exciting stuff.

Also, head over to DP to congratulate Brian on all his wildest dreams coming true.

Go ahead and skim. This is probably the longest post in site history.

22 Comments | Leave a comment

"What the hell's wrong with Linebrink?"

I really think it just boils down to the simple, obvious fact that Linebrink does not like being in the position to close out games. But hey, at least he's straight up about it.

Rick, what offer did jon p have for you?

I don't even think I'm going to email that guy. Most of that stuff is just spam. What kind of email address is at @mail.com?

yeah I think so

Going to have to disagree with you on CC being better than Harden. Plz look at their numbers, Rick...Harden has always been the more dominating pitcher, always. He just gets hurt. I beg you too, please.

Harden beats CC in all of the following career stats (mind you there wasn't a getting to know you faze for CC when he joined the MLB, he was second in RoY voting)

STAT (Harden, CC)
WHIP (1.244, 1.266)
ERA (3.42, 3.82)
K/9 (8.69, 7.44)
W % (stupid but it helps my point (.655, .601)
ETC...it goes on and on. If your point is that CC is better than someone on the DL, than yes you are right.

Also, you failed to mention Gaudin, who is better than Jason Marquis and is only 25!!!!! I say good trade on all ends for both teams.

Dude, everyone would take CC over Harden just because Harden is so unreliable. He's good when he's healthy, but he's never healthy. Sabathia gives you tons of innings every year. You can count on that.

Last I checked Rich Harden doesn't have a Cy Young.

That's great and all, but you said he was a better pitcher, which is wrong. He is more durable, yes. But, when healthy Harden is a better pitcher. If he stays healthy the rest of the way, I guarantee Harden will have better numbers per 9, just like the rest of his career compared to CC.

Mike, your an idiot. Winning a Cy Young pretty much means dick. You know who else won Cy Young's; "Black" Jack McDowell, Pat Hentgen, Bob Welch, Frank Viola, Willie Hernandez, Steve Stone, Doug Drabek, Steve Bedrosian, John Denny, Mike Scott, etc. It's as arbitrary as being an all-star or gold glove winner. The award is chosen by amount of wins or saves a player has, which is directly related to that teams offense and not by the how good that pitcher actually is. It's basically like saying Derek Jeter is a good shortstop because he has won Gold Gloves. He has consistently been rated as one of the worst shortstops of the past 15 yrs, but still wins it because he's derek jeter. out.

I stopped reading at "your an idiot." It's "you're" you moron.

The power of grammar!

I just got punked or is it punk'd?

Zack I do not feel like arguing about this, but by your logic, Mark Prior is a better pitcher than Tom Glavine because his peripheral stats are better and his career ERA is lower. Ask any baseball person would they would rather have on their team, and the answer is Glavine, just like it's CC. I said Harden is pretty good and it was a solid trade for the Cubs, but, Jesus man, Rich Harden is no CC Sabathia.

This is the last time I ever write anything nice about the Cubs.

I agree. You should never write anything nice about the Cubs.

You spelled my name wrong again...And yes when Prior was healthy he was more dominating than Glavine... That is all I am saying... Rich Harden is more dominating, not who I would take on my team. When healthy he is more dominating than CC, nothing more, nothing less...

Get over yourself.

This Dubs guy is the dumbest piece of shit I've ever seen. Seriously Dubs, shut the fuck up you idiot.

What have I said that is wrong? Statistically, when healthy, Harden is better than CC and Prior was better than Glavine. Prove me wrong then talk shit. Show me something that proves that wrong. Would I take Glavine over Prior, obviously, he has had a great 20 yr career...Would I take CC over Harden, most likely. All I am saying is that when healthy Harden is the better pitcher...why are you guys freaking out over that?

Harden drinks his own pee.

who cares the brewers are going to tail off just like last year. when soriano comes back that's another boost to the time and they will go 32-15 again and leave the cards and the brewers in the dust. Also part of deal I like is chad gaudin they really needed bullpen help

oops i meant boost to the team for you grammar freaks

Great article, I think you covered everything there. . . I would say freelancing is quite hard especially if you are not used to working on your own, can be quite hard to motivate yourself also. . . we all know what it is like to stare at the monitor.

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