Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Baseball Analysts on Harden Deal

I've been puzzling over this trade all evening. On the one hand, the A's gave up a guy who was FINALLY starting to produce for them when they were in the thick of a playoff race. On the other hand, they got two supremely cheap outfielders who will both probably be starting by August and a 22 year old pitcher who is ready to go about now, if necessary. After the initial "what the hell Beane!!" reaction, I've sort of drifted to the other side...this may not be a slam dunk for the Cubs...but then I remember the Cubs get a club option on Harden next year and it sort of becomes an even deal. Patrick Sullivan had the same process:

"Wow, Hendry got the better of Beane." "This is a deal that seems to
make sense for everyone." "Wait, maybe the A's got the better of this
thing." That has been my thinking, in chronological order. Now let me
explain...
1) Beane's track record trading pitchers; Oakland seems to have a good
sense for their own pitchers' health and where they are in their career
trajectory path. Beane picking up the phone and offering an Oakland
pitcher in all likelihood strikes fear around MLB.

2) Jim Hendry can claim that Sabathia had nothing to do with this, but we all know that not to be the case. Right? Don't we?
3) Why now for such a dominating performer like Harden? Why not drive the
bidding up as July 31st draws closer? I am guessing because Beane knows
that the next Harden injury could come on any given pitch and wipe out
all of his value.

Only by entering opportunity cost into the equation can this
thinking turn fallacious. I guess that's why I think Oakland might have
won this deal. I just do not think there was much of a market for
Harden. His extraordinarily high injury risk discounts his value to the
point where most teams would laugh in Beane's face if he asked for a
top-100 Baseball America prospect like Gallahger


Barring injury, this trade is an immense boon for the Cubs this year. However, giving up a guy like Gallahger is a much bigger blow than giving up LaPorta. Big hitting DH guys are a dime a dozen, and he had no real place on this Brewers team. Gallagher on the other hand, a potential ace and "can't miss" rotation guy, that is difficult to find.

It's entirely possible Beane just pulled a Mark Mulder on Jim Hendry's desperate ass.

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