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Another Big Trade: Rich Harden To The Chicago Cubs

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No sooner do I spend a couple hours away from the computer then the Oakland A's and Chicago Cubs make a blockbuster trade just a notch below that made by the Milwaukee Brewers and Cleveland Indians incolving C.C. Sabathia.

Here is what the A's and Cubs did while I played wiffle ball with the kids.

Chicago Cubs get:
RHP Rich Harden, $7MM club option for '09
RHP Chad Gaudin, 2nd year arbitration

Oakland A's get:
RHP Sean Gallagher, 0-1 year
OF Matt Murton, 2-3 year
2B/OF Eric Patterson, 0-1 year
C Josh Donaldson, Low A

While I think the A's did very well to get three major-league ready players who are under their control for years, I can't help thinking that this offer is not exactly selling Harden as if one believes he isn't moments from getting hurt.  Why else add Chad Gaudin?

According to Baseball America's Prospect Handbook 2008, the A's landed the 5th, 7th and 12th rated prospects in Gallagher, Donaldson and Patterson.   The prospect most fans will be unfamilar with is Josh Donaldson, a supplemental 1st round pick in the 2007 draft out of Auburn University.

From BA:

A former third baseman, Donaldson started catching as a sophomore at Auburn in 2006.  The position shift and a strong summer in the Cape Cod League sent his draft stock skyrocketing, and he went 48th overall in June [2007].  After signing for $625,500, he rated as the short-season Northwest League's top position prospect.  Donaldson provides more offense and athleticism than most catchers.  He's aggressive and looks to pull pitches for power early in counts, but can shorten his stroke and use the opposite field.  He controls the strike zone and projects as a .280 hitter with 15-20 homers a season.  He has slightly above-average arm strength and threw out 38% of basestealers in his pro debut.  His speed is average.  His inexperience shows behind the plate, thought the CUbs believe he'll become a solid defender.  He had 11 passed balls in 45 games and sometimes hurried his release and undermined his arm strength.  Chicago has built up its catching depth, so it may take things slow with Donaldson and let him concentrate on his work behind the plate.  He'll probably open 2008 in low Class A.

With the emergence of Geovanny Soto, one can see why letting Donaldson go made sense.  A 22-year-old with a 217/276/349 in Peoria is not someone to worry about when your team hasn't won a World Series in 100 years, glowing projection aside.