Cubs get Rich Harden; all Chicago World Series inches closer
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...
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