Cubs get a Harden
Cubs get a pair of pitchers, Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin. They give up a group of 3 decent young players and one unknown in the low minors.
First, let's see what the Projections say:
Harden, Cubs: 2.98 ERA, 11.3 K/9. If his strikeout rate wasn't high enough, now he gets to face weaker lineups (if you still don't believe the NL is inferior check out the latest round of interleague whoop-ass) and he gets to strike out pitchers. The easiest call I'm going to make since I proclaimed Tampa Bay as 2008 contenders is that Harden will remind Cubs fans of Mark Prior.
This could be a good thing or a bad thing. He could be every bit as dominant as Mark was from 2002-2005, or his arm could fall off, which has been known to happen.
Luckily the Cubs grabbed some insurance as well in Gaudin. He projects to a respectable 4.08 ERA for Chicago. If he's not needed he can join the bullpen, but he's a better pitcher than Jason Marquis so maybe he should just go straight to the rotation anyway.
The A's get a pitcher, Sean Gallagher. I don't have a complete projection for him as I haven't been able to load minor league pitching stats to my new system yet, but based on his major league record he looks like a respectable 4.38 ERA. That's a solid, middle of the rotation guy, and the projection is about as good as that of Jeremy Guthrie, who's the ace of the Orioles, and Joe Saunders, who's going to the all-star game. For Oakland he'll fit right in with rookies Greg Smith and Dana Eveland. Solid pitcher, but I'm glad the Angels won't be facing the likes of Harden again.
Actually, Angels facing Harden again this year could only mean one thing....
Harden has the rest of this year and next before free agency. Gaudin has 2 more years of arbitration. Gallagher looks to have 5.5 years left of cheap service.
Matt Murton goes to the A's and likely plays left, allowing Jack Cust to play his natural position, DH. Murton is a good one, projected to hit 278/349/416. Two years ago he played everyday for the Cubs and hit 297/365/444, yet somehow the Cubs refused to give him atbats after that. His numbers take a hit because of the league and park change, but that projection makes him the best hitter in the A's outfield. Murton has a little over 2 years of service time so he'll be a super two after this year and have 4 arbitration years left.
Eric Patterson projects to 250/309/377 with good speed. I don't know if his glove is good enough to stick at second, he played a lot of outfield, either they didn't like his glove or were trying to make him a utility guy (or maybe the Cubs just had too much of a crowd at second). He's got virtually no service time yet so the A's have him for another 6 years. He might be the replacement for Mark Ellis.
The final guy in the deal, Josh Donaldson, is a 22 year old catcher hitting .223 in low A. He's thrown out 27 of 71 basestealers.
A's get a lot of surplus value, cheap decent players under team control for awhile. The Cubs get the most outstanding player in the deal, assuming he doesn't get hurt, and had the depth to deal from. Trade looks reasonable from both sides.
For the Angels, the road to the 2008 AL West title looks easier today. Yeah, the A's got some decent players, but when Billy Beane needs decent players, he finds them (see Jack HannaCust last season). It's hard (impossible) to project 3-4 years into the future, but the 2011 A's don't look any better today than they did yesterday.