Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Billy Got Fleeced

I don't have as much time to break this puppy down as I would like, but the important info is as follows:

1. It is likely that the Cubs got the two best players in this trade, which is ridiculous.

2. Harden has a club option for next year. Unlike Sabathia, he'll be around next year if he's healthy.

3. Chad Gaudin is at least as good as Sean Gallagher, and while Sean is young, Gaudin is only 25.

3. Matt Murton combines the power of Jason Kendall with the defensive ability of Adam Dunn. That's not entirely fair. He actually hits lefties pretty well, but he doesn't have enough sock to be a corner outfielder and he can't play anywhere else. When he was younger he projected to be a 25-30 HR guy who got on base at a .380 clip, sort of a poor man's Pat Burrell. The power never showed, he's now 26, and he's been moping down in Iowa for a year.

4. Eric Patterson is basically Rickie Weeks without all the great defense. Yeah, that's right. A disaster everywhere on the field, his bat will play at second, but his glove won't. If he can improve his glovework he may have some value, but he also may end up platooning with Murton in left.

5. Sean Gallagher. 22 years old. Nice fastball. Locates his pitches. Yada yada yada. That said, he's always pitched better than his peripherals indicate. He's been better out of the stretch - with men on base - which generally isn't sustainable. He has a stocky build (Billy Beane - We're not selling bluejeans!). Yeah, fine, but his upside is basically what you see right now.

6. As for the Single A catcher, my understanding is that he was drafted for his offense and promptly stopped hitting.

Look, I know that questioning Billy Beane is fraught with peril, and as far as the Brewers are concerned it doesn't really matter what the A's are doing, but it's hard to see how this was the best offer out there. You couldn't grab Rich Hill and his broken brain? You couldn't get them to throw in Ronny Cedeno or Josh Vitters?

The Cubs' farm system blows, now more than ever. Sure you got their top prospects, but their top prospects kinda sorta suck. The Brewers, even after trading for Sabathia almost certainly could have given you more, as could the Rays, Diamondbacks, or really anyone else.

Kudos to Jim Hendry. No one involved in the trade had any chance of being a contributor in the near term. Perhaps the Cubs will go through a rough patch in a few years when they have to rely on their farm system and there is no one there, but there really wasn't anyone there anyway.

I have no idea what Bill Beane was thinking on this trade. Maybe he and the A's will surprise me. It's happened before. I just don't see it.

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