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Cubs 4-inning saves: Sean Gallagher, July 18, 2007

He was once a top prospect.

Sean Gallagher
Getty Images

Sean Gallagher was the Cubs’ 12th-round pick out of high school in Florida in 2004. He quickly ran through the Cubs system and threw well enough in Double-A and Triple-A to be the Cubs’ No. 4 prospect in 2007 and a Top-100 prospect in Baseball Prospectus’ pre-2007 rankings (82nd).

Called up in June 2007, he pitched in three games in garbage time, was sent back down and called up again the next month.

It’s in that context that Gallagher was called on to relieve Carlos Zambrano July 18 against the Giants at Wrigley Field with the team leading 9-0 after five innings. Big Z had thrown 80 pitches, not a tremendous number, but Lou Piniella figured he’d give Z the rest of the afternoon off.

Gallagher was up to the task. He threw three shutout innings before allowing three singles and a run in the ninth. The Cubs won the game 12-1. It was Gallagher’s only MLB save. Here’s the final out:

Gallagher made 12 appearances (10 starts) for the Cubs in 2008 without much success (4.45 ERA) and then in July was sent, along with Eric Patterson, Matt Murton and some kid named Josh Donaldson, to the Athletics for Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin.

You know, if Harden had been able to stay healthy that would have turned out to be a decent deal. Harden had 12 really good starts for the Cubs in 2008 (1.77 ERA), got hurt in 2009 and left as a free agent at the end of the season. He was out of baseball after 2011.

Gallagher went from the A’s to the Padres to the Pirates to the Reds to the Rockies and didn’t pitch an inning in the big leagues after 2010, though he was still pitching in indy ball as late as 2016.

Donaldson... well, I think you know what happened with him. I don’t think anyone could have predicted that at the time of the deal, Gallagher was who the A’s wanted. Donaldson was a throw-in.

That’s baseball, though.

Here’s the entire game from July 18, 2007: