Chicago Cubs: Rich Harden Wears Blue

Joe WillettSenior Writer IJuly 8, 2008

I was watching SportsCenter today and I saw something that made me grin.  Rich Harden had just been traded to the Chicago Cubs.

This is such breaking news that it isn't on ESPN's website, which I just checked to write this article.

At this point, the MLB.com article was up exactly 10 minutes ago, so I must be getting to this early, now, on to the trade specifics.

Here is what each team gets in the deal before going over what this means for the Cubs.

Cubs Get:

Rich Harden SP

Chad Gaudin RP

A's Get:

Sean Ghallager SP

Matt Murton OF

Eric Patterson OF

Josh Donaldson C

What this means for the Cubs

Just a few days ago, the Brewers acquired C.C. Sabathia who has a 3.83 ERA and 123 strikeouts. (Sabathia makes first start today)

Now the Cubs make a move that seems even stronger than what the Brewers did, not only helping their rotation, but also adding another solid reliever.

Despite Sabathia's strong numbers, Harden has an ERA about 1.5 less than Sabathia, has a stronger record at 5-1, a better WHIP, more strikeouts per nine innings, and a nearly 3-1 strikeout to walk ratio.

There was talk of the Brewers having the best 1-2 punch in the majors, but the Cubs blew past them with this acquisition, especially when you make it a 1-3 punch adding Ryan Dempster the way he has played.

The addition of Gaudin adds another strong reliever with Carlos Marmol in the bullpen to help get to Kerry Wood in the ninth.

In addition to Gaudin's help as a reliever, he is also available to step in as a starter, as he has done the job before.

He has 15 appearences this season where he has not allowed a run, and has six starts this season as well.

In his last seven appearances, he has just a 1.70 ERA, which bodes well for the Cubs.  This gives them a possibility to put him in the rotation at the fifth spot or keep him as a reliever where he has thrived.

I see this making a huge impact on the race and this could catapult the Cubs into the best team in the majors yet again.

I'm Joe W.

Joe also writes for TheDailyCub.com, a Chicago Cubs blog, and Hoops4Life.com, a basketball fan's site.

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