What the Oakland Athletics Got in the Rich Harden Trade
On Tuesday evening, the Oakland Athletics traded ace Rich Harden and spot starter/reliever Chad Gaudin to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for four players – pitcher Sean Gallagher, outfielders Matt Murton and Eric Patterson, and minor leaguer Josh Donaldson.
Athletics GM Billy Beane obviously has his own approach to making trades, but did the A’s get taken for a ride on this deal? Is there anyone you should add to your fantasy team now that they wear an A’s uniform? Beane is sure he got a good deal, but if you’re not so sure, you’ve got Fantasy Baseball Dugout here to break it down for you.
Sean Gallagher, Pitcher (3 wins, 4 losses, 4.45 ERA, 49 strikeouts, 1.36 WHIP): Gallagher has made ten starts for the Cubs this season, and logged 14.7 innings in 8 games for the Cubs in 2007. He’s only 22, but the start to his Big League career has been rough. While logging a save in 2007, his ERA was 8.59 and he only struck out five batters. 2008 has been better, but not great. After starting the season with two bullpen stints, Gallagher joined the Cubs rotation May 11 and went 3-1 in his first five starts. He hasn’t won a start since June 1, hasn’t lasted past the sixth inning since May 27, and only has one start since the beginning of June that he has given up less than 3 earned runs. He will be pitching for Oakland, so the potential is definitely there for improvement, but don’t add Gallagher just yet.
Matt Murton, Outfielder (.250 batting average, 6 RBI, 2 runs scored): You probably remember Murton from his 2006 rookie season, and rightfully so – he batted .297, scored 70 runs, hit 13 homers, drove in 45, and a stole 5 bases. He was a useful reserve outfielder that season, but only played in 94 games last season, and 19 so far this year. In 2005, he was ranked the 12th best prospect in the Southern League. Keep an eye on Murton, because if he can stay healthy he definitely has potential to be a solid fill-in outfielder. Sleeper alert! But don’t add him just yet.
Eric Patterson, Outfielder (.237, 1 homerun, 7 RBI, 5 runs, 2 steals): Patterson has played 20 career Major League games – 13 of which came this season. He’s only 25, and needs to further develop as a player before having significant fantasy value. He scored all 5 of his runs this season in a two-game stretch against the White Sox in late June. Expect Patterson to log mostly bench time or minor league time for the A’s initially. At this time, Patterson does not need to be on your fantasy baseball radar.
Josh Donaldson, Catcher (Class A Stats – .217, 6 homers, 23 RBI, 27 runs, 7 steals): Donaldson was a second round draft pick of the Cubs in 2007, and was being groomed as catcher after playing college ball at Auburn. He was the highest draft pick out of the university in several years, and batted .346 with 9 homeruns and 35 RBI in 49 games last season. Donaldson has potential, but unless you are playing in a A-ball fantasy league, he doesn’t need to be on your fantasy baseball radar until a season or two down the road.