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  1. You didn’t make any reference to Gaudin. How does his value play into this trade? Isn’t he a solid 4/5 starter or long reliever?

    Comment by Chris — July 9, 2008 @ 8:03 am

  2. The flaw in your argument is that whether or not you “win” a trade should not only take into account the values of those players to your team, but what else you could have gotten. In other words, what was Harden’s perceived value on the market and how close did Billy Beane get to maximizing that?

    Admittedly we have to fall into the speculative realm to judge this, but the fact is that Harden has been relatively healthy this year and is pitching like an ace. Compared to the CC Sabathia package and accounting for the fact that Beane’s trade partner would get 1.5 years out of Harden instead of CC’s 1/2 season rental, there’s reason to believe he could have gotten a little more.

    Comment by Jason — July 9, 2008 @ 8:51 am

  3. This analysis hit the ball out of the park (and appears to be the right way to look at things). Oakland traded half a season per year of Harden for all of Gallagher, and Gallagher isn’t that much worse than Harden plus half a season of replacements, using a VORP analysis. But Oakland saves $8 million in salary out to 2009, which they can use to “buy back” the wins that they lost in the trade. Thus, even a “straight” trade of Harden for Gallagher makes sense, given that Gallagher has several more years past 2009 before he goes free agent.

    Knowing Billy Beane, there is likely to be a “sleeper” in Murton, Donaldson or Patterson. We don’t yet know who, and the whole point is that Beane wasn’t about to tell us until it becomes obvious. (Remember how he “snookered” the other Chicago (White Sox) team out of Chad Bradford?) That is his likely “profit” from the deal. Assuming (as I do) that Beane had identified his candidate from this bunch (with other two as “straw men”), he probably didn’t want to spoil the deal by looking too greedy.

    Comment by Tom Au — July 9, 2008 @ 9:04 am

  4. Dave, thanks for helping us A’s fans step back from the ledge… :)

    Comment by Kelly — July 9, 2008 @ 9:14 am

  5. The fact that the author neglected to mention the potential impact of Gaudin as either a bullpen guy or as “insurance” for Harden makes a lot of his assumptions useless. The point is that Gallagher has very limited MLB experience and could still be a bust, although he was the best player Oakland recieved in this deal. Murton was never going to fit into the Cubs OF plans with his limited power and fielding ability. Patterson is a utility player off the bench at best. Donaldson is struggling at a BA of .223 in single A. Sure, these guys fit the A’s system better than the the Cubs, but two facts make this a better deal in the short term for the Cubs: (1) the Cubs aquire a #1 pitcher than can help them advance this season in the playoffs and (2) if Harden has a setback this season, Gaudin is a more than serviceable replacement (and could be a replacement for Jason Marquis anyway). The fact that the Cubs got both of these pitchers makes this a better deal for them. You can’t compare Harden and Gallagher since Gallagher hasn’t started a grand total of 10 games at the major league level. The Cubs have been shopping all three (Murton, Gallagher, and Patterson) for months, so they obviously felt that they were not giving up anything over the top (as opposed to what the Brewers gave up for Sabathia). None of the prospects the Cubs gave up were higher than #5 in their system (Gallagher) making me believe that Beane was desparate to give away Harden now while healthy and willing to take any decent combination of players.

    Comment by Kyle — July 9, 2008 @ 9:22 am

  6. Plus, the author didn’t factor in all those great things Gallagher does with watermelons.

    Comment by David Williams — July 9, 2008 @ 9:48 am

  7. I think the analysis suffers because it doesn’t evaluate (or takes for granted) the marginal value to the A’s of 1 or 2 wins in this year’s playoff run. For a team sitting just a few games back from the division lead, this affects the analysis, if you think the A’s have any chance whatsoever of staying in the race. And if you don’t, well, you have to say that and explain your reasoning.

    Furthermore, the analysis should take into discount Gallagher’s production somewhat due to injury risk (not at Harden’s level, but not non-zero) and effectiveness.

    Comment by Yakker — July 9, 2008 @ 11:36 am

  8. I’ll say this. I’m glad Matt Murton is finally going to the A’s. That way, everyone who goes on and on about how he’s not given a fair chance, can enjoy seeing him ‘contribute’ hundreds upon hundreds of choppers to SS and 3B. Murton absolutely plays pepper with the left side infielders. He is creeping up on 27 and has been falling in the big leagues in both OBP and SLG every season. That his VORP is still in the + as recently as last season boggles my mind. He’s like one of those geological formations that defies gravity.

    At least all the debate will be able to stop soon on whether or not Murton is under appreciated, or just not all that great.

    To all the points about the A’s future benefits, I am inclined to agree. However, if you asked me if I would sell decent pieces of the farm if I knew it would put an outstanding team (playing below their pythag even) in a better position to win the world series this season, I would say yes. Maybe it will suck when Gallagher shoves it down my team’s throat for years to come with team controlled success, but if the Cubs were to win the series this season, it would be worth it, I believe.

    Comment by China Brown — July 9, 2008 @ 12:27 pm

  9. Kyle,

    Please point out something in the article where Dave says the trade was a bad idea for the Cubs or that they got the worse end of the deal. Oh look, he didn’t say those things. The article is solely examining the value TO THE A’S of what they received vs. what they gave up.

    Comment by Milendriel — July 9, 2008 @ 6:18 pm

  10. I’m sort of disappointed Gaudin wasn’t factored in, because overall it is pretty good analysis. I also agree with the above commenter that the marginal value of A’s wins needs to be taken into account. Additionally, one thing I have never understood about using “Win Analysis” in evaluating starters is that it largely ignores their value once a team reaches the playoffs. Say the A’s overcome the 1.5 wins they lose from Harden, and get to the playoffs– How do you evaluate the lack of Harden in that scenario, or if god-forbid you have to face him in the World Series?

    Comment by Richard G — July 9, 2008 @ 6:50 pm

  11. If they get to the playoffs, the loss of Harden hurts less I’d have to say. They still have a chance (albeit a smaller one) and they get the benefits of getting into the playoffs on next year’s revenues. Where the deal hurts them, and Yakker touched on it, is if the 1-2 wins that Harden could provide drops Oakland out of a shot at the playoffs. Those 1-2 wins suddenly become a lot more expensive than $8 million next year.

    Comment by Sal Paradise — July 9, 2008 @ 7:31 pm

  12. Decent analysis on Gallagher vs Harden, but not all pitching injuries are the same. Harden’s never had any surgeries, unlike Wood or Prior. Also, you failed to point out that the addition of Gaudin affects the replacement value for Harden if he does get hurt, or that the Cubs only gave up a pupu platter to ger Gaudin in the deal. If you look at the deal as a whole, the Cubs win hands down.

    Comment by Calvin — July 10, 2008 @ 4:20 pm

  13. Why not mention the fact that the Cubs are set at all of the positions of the players they traded? They’ve got Theriot, Soriano, Soto and a multitude of good pitching prospects, so why keep around guys that are just going to rot in the minors for the next several years when they could trade them for a damn good pitcher in the middle of a playoff race? I think the numbers in your arguement make sense, but the overall logic is flawed in calling this a win for the A’s just yet.

    Comment by Andrew Abbott — July 10, 2008 @ 11:20 pm

  14. ok thats all good we save 8 million but you dont add the factor of chad gaudin into the mix. i strongly belive that we should of made him our closer & threw houston street into the trade mix. street with good stuff & usually starts the hitters off 0-2 and then gives up a single on a 0-2 count & the panic begins to set in as he walks around the mound thinking only a 1run lead as he go’s 0-2 to the next batter & smash it’s a long deep flyball back way back gone its outta here homerun just like the save oppertunity is gone. harden we bring in to face 4-5 batters hell make it a 6 pack somenights as he would gas guys down with straight 99-103mph heat as he can throw no prob.for 1-2 inn. 15 pitches every other day or when needed which might enable him to finish a complete season or many injury free with the stress & fautige of throwing 100 pitch count through 7inn granted it was of no hit ball sometimes but thats history now i wish him & gaudin the best but now there outta here & in someone else’s rotation. so now its time to get chavez healthy along with the big hurt maybe travis buck comes to reality that he has a bobblehead & goes buck wild to get back on the squad giving us some much needed offensive stability & the PR. dept. gives blatton a bobble head day aswell boosting his confidence & ego to go 12-1 for the second half of the season pushing us past the what ever Lost Angles O Anheim for the west div. title WOOAAAAHHH “Let’s Go Oakland” cause in the end thats all that matters “Let’s Go Oakland” & 6-7″ 16yr.old pitchrs

    Comment by chris — July 12, 2008 @ 12:17 pm

  15. Basically its a good deal for both teams. The A’s didn’t sacrifice that much in the short term while potentially gaining a lot in the long term. The Cubs didn’t sacrifice that much in the long term while potentially gaining a lot in the short term. None of the Cubs top 4-5 prospects were included in this deal.

    Comment by zak — July 12, 2008 @ 8:29 pm

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