Getting four guys for the price of one SOUNDS like a great deal. But, IS IT? The D-Backs worked a deal that does just that. Arizona dumped pitcher Dan Haren, got four lesser players and KEPT the $33 million owed to Haren. I sure hope the new kids are hungry! And, I hope the team spends some of that $33 million to feed them. Read on…
(Courtesy of Nick Piecoro – Arizona Republic)
In trading right-hander Dan Haren to the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday for a package of four players, the Diamondbacks recouped a major-league starter, three minor-league prospects and significant salary relief – perhaps not in that order.
The Diamondbacks acquired veteran left-hander Joe Saunders, who will step into their rotation Thursday in Philadelphia; two minor-league pitchers in right-handed reliever Rafael Rodriguez and left-handed starter Patrick Corbin; and a player to be named, who sources say will be highly regarded prospect Tyler Skaggs, a 19-year-old left-handed starter.
// They also shed close to $33 million that’s owed to Haren, who is signed through 2012 with a team option for 2013, though it’s unclear just how much of that money will be reallocated to next year’s payroll, which Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall said will decrease.The deal drew immediate skepticism from those within baseball and those who cover it, some of whom called it a salary dump and were critical of the quality of players received.
Interim General Manager Jerry Dipoto, making his first deal three weeks after his former boss – Josh Byrnes – was fired, said the deal allows the Diamondbacks to restructure their roster, reallocate dollars and replenish the farm system.
“We were able to add to our club now,” he said, “provide for our club’s future and, at the same time, we were able to create a better balance and flexibility in the way our dollars have been allocated . . . to better tend to the different holes on our major-league club.”
Though Saunders has just a 4.62 ERA in 20 starts, Dipoto praised his ability to win games and rack up innings and cited his postseason experience.
“He’s a quality, durable, steady major-league starter,” Dipoto said. “We feel like this club needs that.”
Haren sounded ecstatic to be heading back to his native Southern California, where he said he’ll be pitching about 20 minutes away from where both he and his wife, Jessica, were born and raised. He said he smiled immediately when Dipoto and assistant GM Peter Woodfork told him where he was headed.
“I couldn’t wait to call my wife,” he said.
Acquired in a monster deal in December 2007 from the Oakland A’s – a trade that cost the Diamondbacks six players – Haren said he was disappointed things didn’t work out here.
“I was brought here to put us over the top and it didn’t happen that way, unfortunately,” he said. “I’ve got to move on and the organization has got to move on as well.”
Saunders, who will be eligible for free agency after the 2012 season, figures to cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $6 million next season, about half of what Haren will earn.
With the contracts of outfielder Eric Byrnes ($11 million) and pitcher Brandon Webb ($8.5 million) coming off the books, the Diamondbacks will have some money to spend. Though don’t expect them to have an $80 million payroll again next season.
“I think it’s going to decrease,” Hall said. “To what level, I’m not sure. We’re going to do what we need to do. There’s also going to be some pieces that we’re going to have to go out and get like a closer next year. We’re going to have to spend a little.”
The Diamondbacks have a list of players from whom they can select the player to be named, though sources say it will be Skaggs, who likely was viewed as the key to the deal, some considering him a potential No. 2 starter.
Skaggs, who was drafted last year and signed on Aug. 7, cannot yet be announced in the deal because players can’t be traded until one year after they sign their first contract.
Corbin’s ceiling is said to be as a mid-rotation starter and Rodriguez gives the Diamondbacks bullpen depth in the minors.