Most of the contributors at this blog (maybe all, I have no idea) are Cubs fans. As such, we are all somewhere between fairly and really happy about getting a risk with the talent of Rich Harden for Gallagher and assorted junk. The move got me thinking, though...the Cubs' GM Jim Hendry has received a lot of flack from Cubs fans for some of his bad moves and seems to have his good moves overlooked. So what I have prepared is a move-by-move breakdown, including my analysis and win/loss for the Cubs determination. I invite you, dear reader, to provide us with your analysis in the comments section. I will be grading all trades based on what the players became after the move. Don't like that? Can't help you...I can't remember all of the Cubs' needs when these trades were made.
I will probably miss a move or two here. My apologies.
And these are JUST the trades.
Analysis - A rough start to Hendry's regime because of what Dontrelle Willis turned out to be. He gave the Marlins 4 very good years after the deal. Clement would give the Cubs 3 good years, although they were undervalued due to his Win/Loss record (36-31 as a Cub). Alfonseca was painfully bad. Jorgensen and Cueto are irrelevant.
After-the-fact W/L - L
Analysis - One of the all-time 'what?!' deals. Todd Hundley was coming off of a year where he OPSed 722 after having OPSed 642 the year before. He was also due 13.5 million over the remainder of his contract. Chad Hermansen was, at best, a fifth outfielder. In return, Hendry took on the contracts of Grudzielanek and Karros (a total of 16 million remaining on their deals) and got a leadoff hitter who made Bobby Hill expendable in Grudz (782 OPS in 03, 779 OPS in 04) and a first baseman who was a God-send when Choi was injured in the Kerry Wood collision (Karros OPSed at 786 over the course of 312 ABs).
W/L - Win
Analysis - Is this even in doubt? Ramirez has become one of the best third basemen in the game. His defense has gone from atrocious (remember Error-mis?) to almost Gold Glove quality...just ask Jerry Hairston, Jr. The three players the Pirates got are no longer in the league. Jose Hernandez was garbage, OPSing 505 after the trade. Bobby Hill was a player-to-be-named and was supposed to be the next big thing at the keystone, but would never have an OPS+ over 82 and hasn't been in the majors since 2005.
Kenny Lofton provided the Cubs the lead-off hitter and centerfielder that was desperately needed after Corey Patterson tore his ACL. If memory serves, he was the main component of the deal with Aramis Ramirez being thrown in as salary relief. Oooooooops.
W/L - Win
Hee Seop Choi
Analysis - In round 2 of the Cubs/Marlins trade-off, the Cubs rebound from the first round loss and pick up a middle-of-the-order, great defensive first baseman for a prospect with a huge hole in his swing and a guy who has a last name that is hard to pronounce. Lee would win a batting title in 05 and has hit 15 HRs so far this year. If not for the lost year due to the wrist injury, this would be a laugher the likes of the Ramirez trade. Choi was an okay player who was having a good year with Florida and was then traded to Los Angeles with Penny for Paul Lo Duca, Juan Encarnacion, and Guillermo Mota.
Win/Loss - Win
Analysis - This one could really be debated considering Barrett's forced exit last year, but prior to that Barrett was one of the top offensive catchers in the league (and not particularly good defensively). He would win a silver slugger and hit 16 HRs each of his first three years with the Cubs. He would also punch AJ Pierzynski, which was awesome. Then he'd punch Carlos Zambrano, which was less nice. He would later be traded.
Damian Miller is a defensive catcher and that has incredible value. But his complete and total lack of offense has to give Barrett the edge here.
Win/Loss - Win
Analysis - Juan Cruz was often referred to as little Pedro, and in his one year with Atlanta he would finally live up to the nickname. He would then be flipped to Oakland as a piece in the Tim Hudson deal. Steve Smyth never made the majors after leaving Chicago. He hasn't pitched since 2005.
Andy Pratt was a high strikeout guy in the minors, but managed a 21+ ERA in his few appearances in Chicago. He'd later be sent to Milwaukee to complete a trade for Ben Grieve. Richard Lewis never made it to the majors and was claimed in the Rule 5 draft years later.
Win/Loss - L, solely because of Cruz.
Red Sox get:
Francis Beltran (f/ Cubs)
Brendan Harris (f/ Cubs)
Alex Gonzalez (f/ Cubs)
Justin Jones (f/ Cubs)
Analysis: This is a tough one to do, especially considering that Nomar was good in the ill-fated 04 season and then injured for the lion's share of 05 and that the Red Sox would win the World Series based a lot on their improved defense, which was greatly helped by their acquisitions in this trade. However, those guys came from other teams. The Cubs would give up a middle reliever in Francis Beltran who has never had an ERA under 4.50, although his K rate was solid with the Cubs and then less so afterwards. He plays for Detroit now. Alex Gonzalez was a high power, good defense, no contact shortstop but was expendable by Garciaparra. Brendan Harris was a line-drive hitting third base prospect who had a good year last year with Tampa Bay before being moved in the Delmon Young deal to Minnesota.
Justin Jones was the highly touted left-handed pitching prospect moved to the Twins in the deal. He's never made the majors and is pitching in High-A ball this year at 23 years old.
Matt Murton had a good year for the Cubs in 2006 and then received limited at bats in 2007 after the Alfonso Soriano trade. He was moved in the Rich Harden deal after no longer having a place on the squad.
Win/Loss - A very hesitant win...and really based more on Murton than Nomar. Nothing the Cubs moved in this deal would become anything worthwhile (which is a flawed way of looking at trades, I know...see above writing about my memory)...and Murton would be a piece in a huge trade while Nomar filled a huge hole in 2004 in a playoff run.
Jerry Hairston, Jr
Analysis - A move that will probably be considered one of the biggest of Hendry's career. Sosa was moved to the Orioles after the 2004 season and after walking out on the team and seeing his production slide. Sosa hit 35 Hrs his last year with the Cubs, he would then hit 35 total over the next few years (9 in Baltimore, 16 in Texas).
Meanwhile, Jerry Hairston would madden Cubs fans by constantly hitting foul balls down the left field line. He would be traded for Phil Nevin and now plays for Cincinnati. Fontenot has been a valuable back-up, but a back-up. Dave Crouthers has never made the majors and never pitched for the Cubs organization.
Win/Loss - This was going to be a loss because the Cubs really could have used 16 HRs in RF last year...but then I noticed he only played 16 games in the field last year, the rest of his shortened season at DH. Also, he would have cost quite a bit to play a bad, bad OF in 05 before getting the 06 production...so I'm going to give this one a win based on a recognition of Sosa's decline as well as not holding onto a beloved player based simply on who he was.
Analysis - A pretty meh trade. Novoa missed 2007 and is currently in AAA in the Cubs' system. He had a pretty good year in 2005, averaging more than a K an inning, but hasn't been worth mentioning since and is what he is - a middle reliever.
Farnsworth has been moved and moved and moved, currently pitching the 8th inning for the Yankees. Sometimes erratic and sometimes falling in love with his slider (just like Carlos Marmol), he is the type of power arm that teams covet for the late innings.
Win/Loss - Loss
The Cubs also traded for and then traded away Jody Gerut in 05. It was such a minor deal that I'm not going to write it up. I wasn't a huge fan of trading away Gerut for Lawton as I thought Gerut might have something left in the tank. Lawton would then be moved to the Yankees and Dubois now finds himself back in the Cubs system. It's almost as if it never happened.
Analysis - The Marlins take the rubber match as Hendry falls in love with Pierre's batting average and speed and how he profiled into the leadoff spot and gave away three young arms. Pierre would have an awful first half and would then end the year with a .330 OBP (although he did accrue 204 hits and 58 steals).
Mitre is a back-end starter who doesn't strike out enough batters and walks too many. He's out for the year. Nolasco has been a huge loss for the Cubs, creating a void that has been filled by Jason Marquis. Nolasco has given the Marlins 110 good innings so far this year. Pinto has been in relief for the Marlins where he strikes out his share of batters and walks more than his fair share. Still, it hurts to give up three cheap arms for a guy who would make a lot of outs for one year and then scoot.
Win/Loss - Loss
Analysis - Todd Walker was an offense first middle infielder who was moved to the Padres where he became something of a utility player, though he really didn't play any one position that well. He could hit, though, there was never any doubt about that. After a bad 2007, he is not in the majors this year.
Ceda, on the other hand, is 21 years old and in AA. He has struck out 202 batters in 160 innings while walking 86. Now relieving after starting in A ball, he has the potential to be a closer/high leverage reliever who was received for very, very little.
Win/Loss - Win
Analysis: Oof. A no-hit, over-rated in the field shortstop for a guy who might have been one of the few to actually have value off the field as well as on it? Maddux was like a professor. Dempster credits his success this year to Maddux showing him how to watch film. Izturis, on the other hand, had an elbow injury and looked like an alien. Awful, awful move.
Win/Loss - Loss
White Sox get:
Analysis - I like Cotts. I'd like him more if he'd stop walking so many guys, but he's been a valued part of the pen this year. Last year he was sent to AAA to try to become a starter, a plan that was mercifully abandoned. Vasquez has not yet been to the majors and is currently in the Boston system. Aardsma is on the Red Sox major league roster. He's been really good for the Sox this year after stinking last year for the White Sox in 32 innings.
I'll take the 30 decent innings from Cotts than the junk innings the Sox got from Aardsma last year.
Win/Loss - Win
Analysis - This is unfair. The Cubs took Hamilton in the Rule 5 draft solely because of a pre-arranged deal with the Reds. The Reds then flipped Hamilton for Edinson Volquez, who has been an ace-type this year for them while Hamilton has put up MVP caliber numbers in CF for Texas. It's gotta be a loss, but it deserves an asterisk.
Win/Loss - Loss*
Analysis - A much debated trade. Barrett was having a down year and had gotten into a fist fight with the Cubs ace. But he had still had 3 straight very good years with the bat. Bowen was brought in as a defensive guy, which he really wasn't. He was a switch-hitting catcher inasmuch as he could stand in either batter's box. Burke hasn't hit since he was drafted in the supplemental first round in 06.
Win/Loss - A loss as Barrett was traded at the absolute lowest point of his value for not a whole lot.
Analysis - This is sort of like Hendry's version of saying "Whoops!". Bowen is moved for another catcher who got on base well enough but couldn't throw out base runners to save his life (52 steals against 5 caught stealing). Jerry Blevins has thrown roughly 7 innings for Oakland since the deal.
Win/Loss - I really think this one should be a push. I don't think either team was particularly better after having made it.
Analysis - Not a good year for Hendry. Trachsel pitched 8 hours games and rocked an ERA above 8. Scott Moore was blocked by Ramirez, but had to have more value as he was OPSing 899 in AAA at the age of 23. Cherry is in AAA and 28 years old...but still...it was Steve Trachsel.
Win/Loss - Loss
And there you have it, my trade by trade analysis of Jim Hendry based on results. I think the Harden trade is a win too, but all I have for that is based on what we gave up. I think judging him based on results is fair in some ways, unfair in others - fair in that it shows that the players were well scouted by Hendry, but unfair as it cannot take into account injuries or the like.
It is what it is though. Maybe tomorrow I'll discuss his Free Agent signings.