The consensus around here is that Jim Hendry, the Cubs GM, pulled off another highway robbery (for more analysis, see here
). Last year he picked up Aramis Ramirez and Randall Simon from Pittsburgh for the stretch drive, giving up dross. This year he gets Garciaparra for, in effect, Alex Gonzalez and Francis Beltran (plus a swap of two comparable minor leaguers). Gonzalez has been injured and inconsistent: when he's healthy he's a good fielder and a .250 hitter with a above-average power for a shortstop. Beltran has been up in the bigs a couple of times, but he has yet to show any major league promise. In return, the Cubs get a guy who is an average fielder and a .320 hitter who can hit 20-30 HRs in a full season. It would have been nice to get Randy Johnson, but Nomar could be just the guy to push the Cubs into the wild card spot.
Sure, he's going to be a free agent at the end of the season, but now that he's in a Cubs uniform the thinking is that it will be much easier to sign him to a contract. All in all, I think it was a wicked awesome trade.