How will the Cubs counter the Brewers’ C.C. Sabathia acquisition? They simply can’t match it, but the next best thing might be Rich Harden. Harden is also a frontline starter, but he lacks Sabathia’s durability.
According to Chris De Luca of the Chicago Sun-Times, "the Cubs have spent a lot of time on the phone recently with Oakland Athletics GM Billy Beane trying to pry away Harden." De Luca says they’ve been discussed a deal for at least a month. Plan C is apparently Randy Wolf. Will Carroll says the Cubs "think they match up well for A.J. Burnett."
Jayson Stark commented on the Harden situation on Thursday:
The A’s will consider any offers that allow them to add and subtract at the same time. But any Harden deal would have to at least approach last winter’s Dan Haren extravaganza.
A reminder: Baseball America ranked Carlos Gonzalez as the game’s #22 prospect, and Brett Anderson was #36. The Cubs don’t have two players like that. Then add Greg Smith and Dana Eveland, who have combined for a 3.52 ERA in 207 innings this year. Oh, and toss in Chris Carter and Aaron Cunningham for good measure. That was a haul, even for an ace like Haren.