Los Angeles Angels trade for Dan Haren

In what will be the biggest news of the day (and possibly the week) the Los Angeles Angels have traded for Dan Haren. The Angels seemingly jumped in out of nowhere to get this deal done when the favorites were the Yankees, Tigers, and Phillies. So they must have put together some amazing package considering they wanted Joba Chamberlain from New York and Andrew Oliver from Detroit, right? Wrong.

In return for the annual Cy Young candidate, the Arizona Diamondbacks will be receiving Joe Saunders, prospects Rafael Rodriguez and Patrick Corbin, as well as a player to be named later.

Yeah, dumb. A well below average pitcher, a minor league RELIEF PITCHER, and a prospect who ranked #22 in the Angels system prior to the season. For Dan Haren.

Apparently the 29 year old Joe Saunders and a relief pitcher are more attractive than a 24 year old Joba Chamberlain and Manny Banuelos, a top ten prospect in the Yankees system. Even if the Yankees didn’t want to give up those two, Ivan Nova and Zach McAllister are better prospects than Patrick Corbin and Rafael Rodriguez.

I’m not going to delve too much into each player involved, but just on a player to player comparison, there is no comparison. Joe Saunders or Joba Chamberlain? Give me Joba every time. I know he is a reliever (right now) and has been a big let down. But he is more talented than Saunders. He is five years younger than Saunders. He has more cost-controlled seasons and is cheaper than Saunders. He has more potential than Saunders. As a relief pitcher who has thrown 1/3 the innings of Saunders in 2010, Joba has a better WAR.

But let’s say New York truly wouldn’t give Joba up. Let’s look at Ivan Nova and Zach McAllister instead. Neither is a stud prospect, but both are currently in AAA and close to ML ready, if not already. They don’t have much upside, but they should at least be better than Joe Saunders- and they would be under control for a combined twelve seasons, compared to two for Saunders.

As for the rest of the deal- Rafael Rodriguez? Really? A 26 year old RELIEF PITCHER? That guy is gonna be pretty damn valuable, huh Arizona. A relief pitcher for Dan Haren. Just cracks me up. He has been pretty damn good in the PCL, a huge hitters league, but relief pitchers offer so little value and are so unpredictable year to year. Unless he is the next Mariano, I doubt he’ll even be a D-Back in the long term (the same goes for Saunders).

Patrick Corbin could be a decent player. His upside is the middle to end of the rotation. He is a good enough prospect for ‘Zona to take on- assuming the other players in the deal are better. But they aren’t. He is in A ball right now, so he is still far away. You can read a scouting report on him here. Apparently he profiles a lot like Joe Saunders. Oh boy.

Not too long ago I addressed a potential Dan Haren trade to New York and broke down Haren’s value. I said he would bring a team about $23.4mil in value. So how did Arizona make out? Well, they got Joe Saunders for the next two seasons. Let’s say he is 1.5 WAR in 2011 and 2012. With a market rate of $4.4mil per win, that would be worth $13.2mil. But they need to pay him about $1mil this season plus 2011 and 2012. Using the 40/60/80 arbitration scale, he would make about $5.9mil in 2011 and $10.6mil in 2012. That’s a total of $17.5mil. Subtract that from his $13.2mil in value and you get -$4.3mil. Eeesh- ‘Zona is in the red right now. I don’t believe Rafael Rodriguez would be a top 100 pitching prospect, but I’ll be generous and say he is a B level prospect even though he is 26 and a relief pitcher. A B level pitching prospect is worth $7.3mil. While Patrick Corbin isn’t even a top ten pitching prospect in the Angels system, I’ll be generous again and label him a top 76-100 pitching prospect. That’s worth $9.8mil. So let’s add it all up! -$4.3mil + $7.3mil + $9.8mil = $12.8mil.

Josh Byrnes, where art thou? What a pathetic trade from Arizona’s point of view. Not only did they take the worst offer on the table, but they didn’t get anywhere near fair value in return. Ouch.

From the Angels point of view, what a steal. Whether the trade helps them in 2010 or not- and I doubt it will since they are too far behind in my estimation- a steal is a steal. Plus, it sets them up to be a pretty damn good team in 2011 depending on their off-season. Their rotation now features Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Joel Piniero, and Ervin Santana. In the off-season I could easily see them signing Javy Vazquez on a 1/8 or 2/16 type deal to give them a pretty dominant rotation. Early rumors are they will chase Carl Crawford as well. If they do that, with their projected 2011 rotation, they could pry the AL West crown back from the Rangers.

As for the Yanks, they walk out losers again. They were a mere minutes- no, seconds- away from landing the best pitcher going in the AL in the form of Cliff Lee. Now they went into the Haren talks as favorites again and walked away empty-handed. If the D-Backs were taking a shitty package like that, I would have loved to have Haren. However, I’m not overly disappointed. I will be though, if the Yankees truly desire SP right now. I DO NOT want Roy Oswalt or Ted Lilly. This non-trade better not push the Yanks in that direction. Andy is supposed to be back sooner than expected, so I would wait it out and install Ivan Nova into the rotation.

I want to end this post by saying: LOL, Arizona D-Backs GM fail. The PTBNL better be Kendry Morales or Jered Weaver, because when we look back on this trade in a decade, it might just be one of the worst trades in that time span.

Honestly, Arizona was better off keeping Haren. I know they want to re-build, but he is a top 10 NL pitcher with an affordable contract. When you rebuild, he’s the player you keep. They have core talent and aren’t far away, so they don’t need a fire sale. Whatever pieces they get from Kelly Johnson or Adam LaRoche could be enough to get them back on track. But when they do trade those other two players, there is no way they can get any value in return. Teams will look at this trade and laugh if Arizona even asks for a decent prospect. And if they really HAD to trade him, I can’t believe they didn’t think they could do better. I mean, an AS level pitcher, in his prime, with an affordable contract, under team control for 2-3 more seasons. The fact the other team would control him beyond 2010 should instantly bump up his value. But I guess not.

LOL ‘Zona.

EDIT: I want to add- by the time Haren’s contract runs up in 2013, Rodriguez and Saunders may not even be D-Backs and Corbin may not have even made his debut yet.

The D-Backs would have payed Haren $25.50mil in 2011 and 2012. Through arbitration they will probably pay Saunders $17mil. Is the $8mil difference worth it?

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