The Chicago Cubs have countered the move of the Brewers today by trading Gallagher, Murton, Patterson, and Josh Donaldson for the nasty righty Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin . This is a great move by the Cubs and the only players I would be hesitant to get rid of out of the group are Donaldson and Gallagher. Both will be solid ML players with Gallagher being the closest to being ML ready.
The Cubs in my mind only gave up two players that fit into the long term picture. Eric Patterson's defense, bat, and inexperience has made him expendable especially with guys like Theriot, Font, Derosa, and Cedeno in the infield and our outfield pretty well set for the next 3 to 5 years.
Matt Murton is nothing but a AAAA player with the potential to be a decent 4th outfielder in the majors for many years to come. He was blocked in our outfield for at least the next 4 years by Soriano and Fukudome.
With Gallagher you are trading a projected #3 or #4 starter in the next two years or so. Right now he is a good number 5 starter. With Josh Donaldson you get a catcher with tons of potential. I am a big supporter of Josh and think in the next 3 years he will be a solid ML catcher for Oakland.
Now lets look at Harden! Harden is a really good pitcher, probably in the top 10 best pitchers in baseball when healthy. He has 2 years left on his contract. He is owed 4.5 million for this season and has a 7 million dollar club option for 09 which the Cubs will likely exercise or work on a new deal for the nasty righty. Rich Harden is a great 5-1 with a 2.34 ERA in just 13 starts. He has had some health issues but has been relatively durable this year. He has a career 36-19 record with a 3.42 ERA. Can you say nasty!!!!!
The "throw in guy" is not just a throw in guy! Chad Gaudin is a really good long reliever and can even start. He is 5-3 with 3.59 ERA. He has 26 appearances this year with 6 of them being starts so he could fill the long relief of spot start occasionally. He is making 1.7 million this year and has less than 4 years of ML service so he will be arbitration eligible next season.
I think this is a fair trade for both sides. The Cubs do not have to throw away many of their young players and the Cubs get a #1 pitcher to follow Z and they get a really good reliever. I like this move very much and feel we got a better pitcher and deal compared to the Brewers.