Some coverage from my reading list:
BaseballMusings' Harden a Cub: Confused, but thinks "It looks like a great move for both clubs."
BaseballMusings' The Oakland View: "I don't think this trade takes the A's out of the race, but it doesn't make them a better contender, either."
BaseballCrank's Rich Harden to the Cubs: "I guess [the Cubs] were feeling nostalgic for the Mark Prior Era."
AthleticsNation's Nico's Official Spin On The Trade: "I do think the trade will wind up as a good one for Oakland"
CatfishStew's Harden and Gaudin Traded to Cubs: "They traded two flawed players, and got back four flawed players, none of whom are very easy to muster up any child-like giddiness about. Emotionally, this one really hurts."
CatfishStew's That's a Load of Beane: "[T]he A's are saving quite a bit of money in this trade over the next year and a half... if you think of the deal as including Inoa plus an extra year or two of Mark Ellis, the trade looks a lot better, doesn't it?"
Overall, some mixed feelings in there. Some folks are absorbing the reality of a rebuilding year, while others already miss the "child-like giddiness" Harden inspired when he was on. But I don't see much gnashing of teeth or rending of garments. A's fans and baseball fans seem to be giving Beane the benefit of the doubt here, while admitting that there is quite a bit of doubt. I guess we'll just have to stay tuned...
Is this latest haul of new players more like Barton/Haren/Calero or Danny Meyer, Juan Cruz and Charles Thomas? And is Harden going to end up more like Mulder or Hudson in his post-Oakland career? I guess that's what makes this deal so typical of Billy Beane lately - he's taking a risk to improve the future while making sacrifices in the here and now. It's tough to be a fan of a team that is pushing back the window of opportunity. It's much easier for fans to get excited about someone going all-in, pushing their chips into the center of the table and seeing what happens immediately. When will Beane make that move? Or will he never make a move that bold because failure (should it come) will be so apparent and so quick that he could be out of a job?