Another Big Name Pitcher Traded
The Angels sent Joe Saunders and three prospects to the Diamondbacks for three-time All-Star Dan Haren in a trade, Sunday evening. The prospects that were involved in the trade, are not expected to be any elite players. This is a swap of Saunders and Haren, and from a fantasy perspective it isn't close. Haren is a strikeout genius. Saunders on the other had is a gets his win based on luck and run support.
The player of most interest here, obviously, is Haren. His fantasy owners will be concerned that a move from the National League to the American League could be hard on what has already been something of a tough season due to the fact Haren will now have to face a DH. Haren has struck out 141 batters in 141 innings, but he has an ERA of 4.60 (his highest ERA since his rookie season in St. Louis) and allowed 23 homers so far in 2010 (which ties him for second in the entire majors).
The 29-year-old Haren has averaged 15 wins over the past five seasons and will improve the Angels pitching staff that is missing Scott Kazmir, due to left shoulder fatigue. Haren is known as a first-half pitcher. His career ERA before the All-Star break is 3.29 and his WHIP is 1.10; after the break, those numbers are 4.27 and 1.32. If he's been this erratic April through June, how bad will he wind up pitching July through September?
The Angels are in second place (7 games back) in the AL West behind the hot Texas Rangers who are 7-3 in their last ten games. The Haren/Sunders trade ends a long ordeal for Haren, in the second season of a four-year, $44.75 million contract with a club option for a fifth year. Haren is due to make $12.75 million each of the next two seasons with a club option for $15.5 million in 2013. The deal includes a $3.5 million buyout if the option isnít picked up and a list of teams Haren could veto, if traded to.
He had been rumored to be going to three or four different teams, including the New York Yankees and The Diamondbacks, who were looking to build for the future and possibly dump a significant portion of their payroll, though team officials have insisted thatís not the goal.
On the other side of the trade, Saunders is heading to the last place Diamondbacks. Saunders is an underwhelming fantasy pitcher because of his lack of dominance; he has 392 strikeouts and 229 walks in 692 career big league innings. Even in 2008 and 2009, when he was winning 17 and 16 games, he failed to fan even five batters per nine innings.
Last year, his ERA and WHIP were 4.60 and 1.43 and this year those numbers are 4.62 and 1.49. He's making the opposite switch from Haren, going to what is an easier league, but what's definitely a much harder ballpark. Saunders is an extreme fly-ball pitcher who's going to give up a lot of homers at Chase Field.
As for the prospects the Diamondbacks got in this deal, Patrick Corbin is a former second-round pick in 2009, a left-handed starter who's 21 and has never pitched above Class A. Supposedly the player to be named later is a good-not-great prospect. Rafael Rodriguez has already been to the majors and has just 11 strikeouts in 32 2/3 career big league innings. ESPN.com Jason Grey had this to say about the prospects:
"Rodriguez isn't a fantasy consideration. At best, his role will be as a middle reliever at the big league level. Corbin is developing a change, and he won't be coming to the majors quickly; he's a potential No. 3 or 4 starter down the road, but is at least a couple years away."
This is steal for the Angels, and a salary dump for the Diamondbacks. Unless the player-to-be-named is a much better prospect, this trade favors the Angeles. I am shocked that this was the best package the Diamondbacks could've obtained.
Harenís name has been involved in trade rumors all but he can now relax. He is headed to a winning club and back to Southern California, where he grew up and still has family. Harenís next start could come tonight against the Red Sox when the Angels return home from
Cash Scott for Citadel Digital © 2010