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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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July 8, 2008 5:45 PM

Bedard out; Beane strikes again

Posted by Geoff Baker

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A look above at Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane, who just traded pitchers Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin to the Chicago Cubs for four players, including pitcher Sean Gallagher and outfielder Matt Murton. My girlfriend, Amy, is in the stands at Wrigley Field tonight, taking in the game (guess I drew the short straw on that exchange) and tells me the fans there seem pleased. Over here? We'll see.

Before we get into that a bit more, let me tell you that Erik Bedard has been scratched until after the all-star break. Mariners manager Jim Riggleman said moments ago that he'd rather not risk sending Bedard back out there too early. Looks like he'll start about the fourth game after the break, giving him a nice, long layoff to recover from all his hurts. For now, Jarrod Washburn goes Saturday and Carlos Silva on Sunday.

Back to Beane. He said today's deal hinged on the willingness of the Cubs to include Gallagher in the deal.

"It's always tough letting talented players go,'' he said. "But it's always nice acquiring talented players.''

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Gallagher made five starts in Class AAA before the Cubs promoted the 22-year-old righthander to the big leagues in May. He's gone 3-4 with a 4.45 ERA in 12 games, 10 of those as a starter.

"It's very difficult to acquire young starting pitching,'' Beane said. "And to get a guy who's already performing at the major league level, it's tough to get.''

Murton is the other big piece (infielder Eric Patterson and Class A catcher Josh Donaldson are the two other players off to Oakland) and could complete what A's insiders hope will be the team's outfield for years to come. They already have center fielder Carlos Gonzalez and right fielder Ryan Sweeney. Now, with Murton, 26, part of that Nomar Garciaparra deal between Boston and the Cubs in 2004 that helped win a World Series for the Red Sox, the A's feel they've got their outfield set for years to come.

So, while Harden is a big name, the A's may have pulled something off here yet again. As great as Harden is -- and I love those Canadian pitchers, as you know -- he gets hurt every year. He might make more sense for the Cubs as a short-term gamble if they can win a World Series. He'll be under club control next year as well, but this is all about the next few months for the Cubs. Beyond that, Harden will always be a gamble. Gaudin is another young arm, but he's starting to get around the game a bit. He was in Toronto when I covered that team. The Cubs will be his fourth major league team at age 25. Something to that, maybe? He's getting up there in cost as well and free agency looms.

Anyhow, two teams with two different sets of needs. May take a while before we know who wins this deal.

What does it mean for Seattle? Another potential trade destination for Bedard is gone. The Cubs were always a longshot on that front, but now, they're a no-shot. Same with the Brewers. Big hope left for a deal appears to be the Phillies or the Cardinals, if they decide to go for it this year.

But Bedard will have to get back out on a mound and show something in the "second half" to make that deal happen. I think. So far, there are a lot of unanswered questions.

Down below, J.J. Putz spotted our camera and did a little impromptu dance for us.

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Some lineup changes tonight. Jose Lopez hit a ball off his knee last night, so he gets the night off. Yuniesky Betancourt also gets a rest. Riggleman plans this to be the last break the middle infielders have until well after the break.

The lineups:

MARINERS (35-54)

51 Ichiro RF
16 Willie Bloomquist SS
28 Raul Ibanez LF
3 Jose Vidro DH
29 Adrian Beltre 3B
8 Jeremy Reed CF
44 Richie Sexson 1B
9 Jeff Clement C
13 Miguel Cairo 2B

52 Carlos Silva RHP


15 Ryan Sweeny RF
14 Mark Ellis 2B
32 Jack Cust DH
8 Emil Brown LF
28 Carlos Gonzalez CF
45 Wes Bankston 1B
24 Kurt Suzuki C
22 Jack Hannahan 3B
12 Donnie Murphy SS

58 Justin Duchscherer RHP

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