If the Jon Garland for Matt Karchner trade doesn’t stick in your craw, you, sir, have an enormous craw. In late July of 1998 the Cubs were in second place, 3 1/2 games behind Houston, but also 3 games ahead of the Mets in the Wild Card race. They needed an arm. They got a Karchner.
Whatcha throwin’? A baseball? I like baseball.
The Cubs gave up a young prospect by the name of Jon Garland, who was a pupil of mine until he turned to evil. He helped the Emperor- Wait. He went on to establish himself as a solid fifth starter, has won 36 games in the past two seasons for the White Sox, and finished 6th in the Cy Young voting in 2005, the year he won his World Series ring.
Karchner, on the other hand, pitched a meager 60.7 innings for the Cubs over 2 1/2 seasons before being released in September of 2000. In case you’re keeping score, that’s 1159.7 innings fewer than Garland has pitched since the trade.
Low Point: NLDS. Game 1. The Cubs get all they can possibly expect out of Game 1 starter Mark Clark, as he goes 6 innings and allows only 4 runs, 2 earned to the slugging Atlanta Braves. Clark walks Braves starter John Smoltz to start the 7th inning. Enter Felix Heredia. Walt Weiss bunts and Smoltz is out at second on a fielder’s choice. The Cubs have hope! Heredia walks the next two, loading the bases with one out. “Damn you, Felix Heredia!” screams a young Kermit, nervously biting his nails. Enter Matt Karchner. He gets Andres Gallaraga to pop out! Two outs! The Cubs may get out of this one! No, young Kermit. Enter Ryan Klesko. Exit ball. Grand slam. 7-0 Braves. Game (and series) pretty much out of reach.