Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Suicide Watch in Effect

I know something that you don't...

This is strange. The Cubs just acquired Rich Harden, one of the top ten AL pitchers, and Chad Gaudin, a potential strikeout monster, in exchange for their usual "here's some wasted potential and a vat of Hendry's urine."

And I'm not upset - even though Brad thinks this is, of course, the year.

If history is any indication, the Cubs have the ability to make the most RIDICULOUS trades, only to have them blow up in their faces. I remember when they traded perennial bench-warmer Todd Hundley for Karros and Grudzielanek, and when they got Garciaparra and Matt Murton for a bag of baseballs and some A Ball prospects. Not a single one of these trades led to a victory, no matter how ridiculous.

To make matters worse, in this trade, the Cubs got TWO good players instead of their usual just "one and done." Harden has been nigh-filthy this year, and although Gaudin has struggled with his K/BB ratio, he's also infiniately better than shit stains Jason Marquis, Sean Marshall and Sean Gallagher. In exchange, the Cubs trade Matt Murton (who is actually pretty good, but he doesn't hit for power), Eric Patterson (Corey's less talented brother, if that's any indication), Sean Gallagher (a nobody who has pitched tolerably for the Cubs thus far), and Josh Donaldson (a catcher I had not heard of until just now).

And yet, I'm still not worried.

In addition to the Cubs' glorious history of failure, there's another factor in play here - Billy Beane doesn't like to get ripped off. If Beane is pulling the trigger on this deal (and it looked like a bit of a desperation move, what with it coming a few hours after Sabathia went to Milwaukee), he probably has a good reason.

Combs are for pusses.

Let's take a quick trip in the time machine, shall we?

Billy Koch: Sox trade Keith Foulke (who rebounded) for this guy with a noodle arm, no velocity, and the strangest skin condition ever.
Barry Zito: Not really a trade, but the A's let him go without a fight...because he's washed up and fucking awful this year. Go Giants!
Mark Mulder: Cards traded Dan Haren (we know how THAT turned out) along with Kiko Calero (eh) and Daric Barton. Mulder pitched tolerably well for St. Louis for a year, but has been awful ever since and setback by injury in almost every year since 2005.
Tim Hudson: Traded to save money, and for a bunch of nobody-prospects (except maybe Cruz). This is the one that got away. Hudson went on to pitch well for the Braves, and is still getting it done.
Dan Haren: The jury is still out on this one. Haren is pitching well for the D'backs (without an injury setback), and the prospects that the A's got are just starting to scratch the surface of the majors (watch out for Dana Eveland and Carlos Gonzalez)

Of these "highly touted" players, only one trade has conclusively worked out for the recipient of an A's pitcher. If Beane is willing to part with two guys, there must be something up his sleeve. My guess? Harden has something bad coming down the pipe around August (think Zito-esque performance with the occasional full-blown injury), and Gaudin will continue his disturbing trend of walking too many guys - which will likely be amplified by the pressure of Wrigley's fans.

As for me, I'll be getting my Matt Murton HoF jersey any minute now...

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