— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 3, 2012
Welp. No deal, says a lot of folks. Looks as though this deal fell through at the eleventh hour. Which is weird. It could be any number of a million reasons (dollar figures to square the deal, concerns with medical records, a sudden awareness of who and what Carlos Marmol is) but for now all we know is the deal is OFF.
The Angels have until midnight Eastern to make a final decision on Haren’s option. Wacky stuff on its way.
Update: the Angels decline Haren’s $15.5 million dollar option, buying him out for $3.5 mil. The man with more than 37 fWAR since 2005 is officially a free agent.
Erroneous assessment of not-real trade below.
More and more reports suggest surface by the minute, all suggesting the Los Angeles Angels traded Dan Haren, he of the one-year club option worth $15.5 million, to the Chicago Cubs for former closer/strikeout master/guy with little in the way of control Carlos Marmol.
One quibbling detail: in a cruel twist of irony, the man without any real control has ultimate control over this deal. Carlos Marmol must agree to waive his no-trade clause before this deal becomes official.
What seems like a questionable deal points to one thing and one thing only: Theo Epstein and friends are quite good at this.
@danielrathman Ha! That must be the only reason!
— Joe Hamrahi (@JHamrahi) November 2, 2012
Well, maybe not “one thing only” but still: there are many ways to look at this deal. Number one: the baseball-wide view of Dan Haren took a beating after his dismal 2012 season. The usually durable right-hander spent time on the disabled list, saw his fastball velocity and strikeout rates dip and his numbers decline across the board.
The Cubs, losers of 100 games in 2012 with nowhere to go but up, can afford to take a flier on a pitcher like Haren. They have deep pockets and, at the very least, improved their 2013 rotation. They also netted a tidy trade piece should Haren’s 2012 prove to be an unfair representation of his true talent at age 32.
The Angels get a reliever with some of the best stuff in the game. They also get a reliever who struggled to throw strikes at the best of times, who leads all relievers with a 16% walk rate over the last two seasons. TO be fair, his strikeout rate of just under 30% ranks him in the top fifteen.
As the BP guys above point out, the reliever free agent might just be a place of sadness of woe so, knowing is areas of need, Jerry Dipoto opted to grab a very live arm for the price of one slightly broken down pitcher.
There is also the matter of the seven or so million dollars the Angels save by trading Haren and taking on Carlos Marmol’s salary, nearly $10 million for 2013 before he fits free agency at the end of the season, almost assuredly without a qualifying offer in hand.
This is the part where fans of 28 other teams march on their team’s front office, pitchforks in hand, outraged that their team couldn’t acquire a pitcher of Dan Haren’s quality for a reliever like Marmol.
For which there is likely good reasons. The dollar figure, even for one year, is pretty steep. As much as we can all agree “there is no such thing as a bad one year deal” it isn’t our $15.5 million bucks on the line. There is also the matter of Haren’s declining numbers across the board.
Haren posted a below-average FIP for the first time in his career, allowing more home runs than the last time everyone wondered “what’s wrong with Dan Haren?”
That year (2010 with the Diamondbacks) looked like a little bit of batted ball bad luck when Haren thrived upon arriving in Los Angeles. His 2012 numbers look more like a guy who made more than 33 starts a year for seven years wearing down, missing time with an ever-troublesome bad back.
The Cubs are well positioned to gamble that isn’t the case, the Angels (and presumably your favorite team) are not. If the Cubs get a better version of Haren, their rotation is actually something worth watching (with Garza, Samardzija, and Travis Wood) until such time that Jed Hoyer opts to unload one of his starters for more building blocks.
since a few of you have asked: I’m not concerned about Haren’s velocity too much. He’s not a front end power guy anymore and that’s OK.
— Harry Pavlidis (@harrypav) November 3, 2012
If Haren is the slightly broken down, more league-averageish version of himself, the Cubs let him finish out the year and he walks just as Carlos Marmol would have: without the burden of a qualifying offer, free to ply his wares to the highest bidder.
The Angels…well the Angels sure better sign Zack Greinke or else Mike Trout is going to have to work on his change up. Maybe the Angels know something the Cubs (and everyone else) doesn’t and they can get Carlos Marmol back firing strikes and leaving a trail of whiffs in his wake. Or they added a big arm for the middle innings. Save a few Greinkebucks and hope their offense keeps doing what it does. Whatever. Their eyes are firmly locked elsewhere for the time being.