Series hopes reinforced for players
Deal backed in clubhouse; Murton, Gallagher say goodbye
CHICAGO -- As several Cubs sat, eyes fixed on Lou Piniella, discussing the six-player trade pasted on clubhouse televisions, Carlos Zambrano walked over to Matt Murton and shook his hand.
The Cubs said goodbye to the outfielder and pitcher Sean Gallagher on Tuesday evening. They will welcome fresh faces Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin from Oakland, in a win-now trade given a seal of approval by their new teammates.
Third baseman Aramis Ramirez agreed with bringing in Harden, especially given the message sent by the third-place Brewers with the acquisition of the Indians' ace, CC Sabathia, on Monday. As Mark DeRosa said, you don't ignore it when you see the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner invading your division.
"That's the way you do it," said Ramirez, who was traded from Pittsburgh to Chicago in July 2003. "Milwaukee got CC. The front office here just went out there and got another No. 1 starter. That tells you that they want to go far. They want to go for a World Series, not only for the playoffs. We've got a good enough team to make the playoffs, but with a guy like that, that's going to get you to the postseason."
Two Cubs pitchers, starter Ted Lilly and reliever Neal Cotts, played with Harden in the Athletics organization. Cotts and Harden were teammates in the Minors seven years ago, and Cotts remembered Harden throwing even harder as a reliever than he does now as a starter.
"You're getting a really good pitcher. Obviously, he's proven it," Cotts said. "I think he's going to fit in here really well with this team. He's going to help us down the road."
Meanwhile, Murton took the news as if he expected it.
"I was not surprised," said Murton, who completed his four-year Cubs career with a .294 average and 28 home runs in 308 games. "It's something I've been talking about, hearing about since November. You never know exactly when it's going to happen, but it's always kind of been in the back of my mind that this day is coming. It's here now. I wish the Cubs the best of luck, and I look forward to my new opportunity."
Gallagher was flattered to learn he was a must-have for Oakland to complete the deal. He replaced Rich Hill in the rotation in May, and put up a 3-4 record with a 4.45 ERA.
The trade caught Gallagher a little more off-guard than Murton. At 22, Gallagher was the youngest Cubs player, and had developed close relationships with his veteran teammates.
"It's a great opportunity. I'm going to be starting [in Oakland], but it's very emotional," Gallagher said. "Scott Eyre, Ryan Dempster, I'm very close to these guys. Scott Eyre, I always call him 'Dad.' I'm going to miss him."
Nick Zaccardi is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.