The best laid plans of Oakland Atletics general manager Billy Beane have gone awry this season. Beane spent the entire offseason dumping quality, cheap young players like All Star pitcher Dan Haren who went to the Arizona Diamondbacks and 27-year-old outfielder Nick Swisher who got traded to the Chicago White Sox.
The plan was for Oakland to “retool” their minor league system. The A’s used the quanity over quality philosophy in acquiring young talent.
Unbelievably, despite going through a “rebuilding” year the A’s have managed to stay very much in contention in the American League. Oakland is 8 games over .500 and just ONE GAME out of the American League wildcard spot.
RICH HARDEN IS NOW A CUB
Yesterday that all went out the window when Beane traded pitchers Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin to the Chicago Cubs. In exchange the A’s got pitcher Sean Gallagher, outfielders Matt Murton and Erc Patterson and ninor league catcher Josh Donaldson. That’s hardly fair value for one of the American League’s top starting pitchers. Harden has arguably been the best pitcher in the AL this season. He was 5-1 with a 2.34 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. Harden is also leading all of Major Legue Baseball by averaging 10.75 strikeouts per nine innings.
Murton (26) and Patterson (26) are actually older than Harden (26) and Gaudin (25). Donaldson is hitting .215 in A ball. None of these players are quality prospects. The 22-year-old Gallagher is the key to the deal. He was ranked the Cubs # 5 prospect by Baseball America this offseason. In parts of two seasons with the Cubs Gallagher has a losing career record and a 5.28 ERA.
I have no idea why Billy Beane continues to get a free pass from both the local and national media. He should be excoriated for this latest ridiculous trade. It must be the power of Moneyball.