The good news – Rich Harden and Aaron Heilman were claimed off of waivers this week. Why is that good? Well, as I discussed in my post yesterday, Harden has had a great 2nd half of 2009. Give certain factors (limited payroll flexibility, new ownership team, Harden’s injury risk), the Cubs are unlikely to sign Harden in free agency to a long-term lucrative deal, especially since other teams will likely pursue Harden with a big deal that the Cubs won’t be able to match. Now that Harden has been claimed off of waivers, the Cubs have 72 hours to negotiate a trade with that team, pull Harden back or release him. Seeing that the Cubs weren’t going to get anything for him anyway if he signed with another team in the off-season, it would be great if the Cubs could trade him to acquire a young prospect now. This late in the season, it’s unclear how much a team might be willing to give up for Harden, but if they can get something for him, that would be great. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything.
As for Heilman, who really cares. Nice guy, bad performance in 2009 with a 2-3 record and a hefty 4.55 ERA and 1.52 WHIP in 57 appearances.
The bad news – in Thursday’s game, the Nats defeated the Cubs 5-4 and took the series from the Cubs 2 games to 1. Heading into the series, the Nats were the worst team in baseball, winners of just 44 games and only 17 games on the road. Figures they would take 2 of 3 games from the Cubs at Wrigley Field and destroy all hopes of a 3rd straight playoff appearance for the north siders. Randy Wells had an uncharacteristic off day – giving up 5 ER on 5 hits and 4 walks in only 6 1/3 innings. Wells suffered his 7th loss of the season and his WHIP rose to 1.22 and his ERA rose to 3.06. Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez were the only 2 good hitters for the Cubs in the loss. Lee went 2 for 2 with a home run and 2 runs scored. Ramirez went 3 for 4 with a 2-run home run and 3 RBI’s.