A Blast From The Past: Cubs vs. Padres Preview, Tuesday 8/17, 7:05 CT

When it comes to talking about bad Cubs trades, many people forget that on July 29, 1998, Ed Lynch -- who was far, far worse as a GM than Jim Hendry -- traded for the White Sox' Matt Karchner. The 1998 team did need bullpen help; only Rod Beck and Terry Mulholland were effective for the entire '98 season.

Lynch's first mistake was thinking that Karchner's two months as White Sox closer in 1997 -- after another infamous deal, the "White Flag" trade, sent Sox closer Roberto Hernandez to the Giants -- made him an "effective reliever". Karchner couldn't even keep the closer job past '97; Bill Simas replaced Karchner in spring training and Karchner was... bad. In fact, in the month of July 1998 before the deal, Karchner had posted a 10.57 ERA and 2.48 WHIP.

But Lynch traded for him anyway. What made this deal worse was that the Cubs sent Jon Garland to the White Sox in that deal, only a year after they had made him the 10th pick in the entire 1997 draft.

Karchner was bad for the 1998 Cubs; he was a little better in 1999 (when he wasn't on the DL), then was awful in 2000 and was released on September 5... ironically, just two months after Garland made his major league debut for the White Sox.

Garland isn't a superstar; he made the All-Star team and got some Cy Young votes in 2005 mainly because the Sox were such a good team. But he has been an effective inning-eater for nine seasons, is having a fine year in 2010, and is likely headed back to the playoffs.

Want to trash a Cubs GM? Ed Lynch hurt the Cubs for a decade by this deal. Can you imagine the 2003 Cubs with Garland? Or the 2007 or 2008 team with another solid starter? The Cubs wouldn't have had to spend money on Jason Marquis, for one thing.

Ah, well. There I go, lamenting the past again. Hopefully, no Cubs GM, whether Hendry or anyone in the future, will ever make a mistake like this one again.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Randy Wells
Randy Wells
vs. Jon Garland
Jon Garland
0-0 W-L 1-2
0.00 ERA 4.50
5 SO 28
2 BB 14
0 HR 9
vs. SD -- vs. Cubs

2010 - Randy Wells 5-10 24 24 0 0 0 0 141.0 159 75 72 14 43 109 4.60 1.43

2010 - Jon Garland 11-8 25 24 0 0 0 0 145.1 126 62 55 14 65 97 3.41 1.31

Despite pitching all those years for the White Sox, Jon Garland has not faced the Cubs since June 30, 2006 (lineup for amusement value only). He's faced a few current Cubs from their time in the AL; altogether current Cubs are hitting .257 in a fairly-small-sample-size 70 at-bats (18 hits).

Randy Wells has one career start vs. the Padres, on May 23, 2009 at San Diego. He threw well, allowing three runs in seven innings, but lost because the Cubs couldn't score more than one run off someone named Josh Geer, for whom that game was his only win in a 1-7 2009 season. Sound familiar? The Padres' Ryan Ludwick is 3-for-4 lifetime vs. Randy with two home runs (both hit last year).

Tonight's game is on CSN Chicago and Ch-4 San Diego. The game will be available on Extra Innings tonight. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Padres site Gaslamp Ball.

Tonight's first pitch thread will be up at 7 pm CDT, and the overflows will post at 8 pm, 9 pm and 9:45 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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