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Fantasy Baseball Effects of Rich Harden, Cubs Trade

Rich Harden, Pitcher, Chicago CubsIn a move that seems to be in direct response to the Brewers’ acquisition of C.C. Sabathia, the Chicago Cubs acquired Oakland Athletics ace Rich Harden in a trade Tuesday evening.

Harden was the crown jewel of a six-player deal between the two teams. Starter Chad Gaudin also goes to the Cubs, while right-handed spot starter Sean Gallagher, outfielders Matt Murton and Eric Patterson, and minor leaguer Josh Donaldson will become members of the Athletics.

On the year, Harden is 5-1 with a 2.34 ERA, 92 strikeouts, and a 1.14 WHIP in 77 innings of work. Harden’s injury history is well-documented and always a frustration, but he is a must-start pitcher when healthy. The guy averages 7 strikeouts per start!

NL-only fantasy baseballers should stop licking their chops over C.C. Sabathia for two minutes to make their waiver request for Harden, just in case someone beat them to the punch on the newest member of the Brew Crew. As with Sabathia, AL-only ballers lose out on a great pitcher with no compensation. This is why, starting next season, we will recommend that NO ONE ever play in a league with a limited player universe.

This is a major move for the Cubs, who now possibly have the best pitching rotation in the National League. Harden is scheduled to make his Cubs debut Saturday, June 12 against the San Francisco Giants and Kevin Correia and won’t be a free agent until 2009. We think he will start his Cubs career with a win.

While this is a far-off projection, Harden should be in line for a two-start week in fantasy baseball Week 17.

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