Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos stated in his season-ending press conference that starting pitching was a major concern for the club, but Dan Haren will not be helping that cause as the Chicago Cubs have acquired the former Angels starter for reliever Carlos Marmol. It seems like a fantastic gamble by the Cubs to take, as there are rumours that the Angels will be sending over cash as well.
Haren, hailing from Monterey Park, California, was a three-time All-Star with the Oakland Athletics and Arizona Diamondbacks from 2006 to 2008, a stretch where he recorded 4.3, 5.8, and 6.3 win seasons. His career year was in 2009 with the Diamondbacks where he went 14-10 with a 3.14 (pi!) ERA, 1.003 WHIP, and an 8.8 K/9, striking out batters 6 times more than he walks them.
After signing a 4-year, $44.75 million deal with Arizona in 2009, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim acquired him from the Diamondbacks at the deadline in 2010 for Joe Saunders, Tyler Skaggs, Patrick Corbin, and Rafael Rodriguez. Haren was paid $12.75 million for the past couple of season, and is owed $15.5 million in 2013 as a club option, with a $3.5 million buyout.
Haren had a very good season in 2011, his first full season with the Angels, goint 16-10 with a 3.17 ERA, 1.024 WHIP, and 7.3 K/9, giving up a league average of 0.8 HR/9. He received a handful of Cy Young votes for his effort.
This season was a big step back for the righty. After stringing seven years of pitching 200+ innings, Haren only tossed 177 in 2012, finishing with an inflated 4.33 ERA and 1.291 WHIP. His K/9 did not drop from 2011, but his walk and home run rate almost doubled. That was probably caused by a sudden loss of velocity on all of his pitches, especially his fastball. He also has reportedly been suffering from back pain this year. Fangraphs and Beyond the Boxscore wrote about about him.
All in all I think it is a great pick up by the Cubs, and a disappointing loss of opportunity for the Blue Jays. Yes that is a lot of money to pay for a pitcher who has reduced velocity and back problems, but he was a top-tier pitcher just a season ago and, Carlos Marmol has been a below-average reliever for the past couple of seasons. He would've been worth a try.
I did hope that Haren would be heading up to Toronto. Even the best, most ardent Blue Jays fan is itching for some good news to come from this club. It's about time, Alex.
UPDATE: The Thot Plicklens!
Various reporters on Twitter are reporting as of 10:00 pm Eastern,
60 minutes past the deadline two hours ahead of when the Angels had to decide on Haren's option, that the deal between the Cubs and Angels has not been finalized. Some reports say that Carlos Marmol may need to approve the trade. While the teams wait for Marmol, the Angels are also reportedly speaking with a mystery team.
To add another twist to the developing story, SB Nation's Baseball Nation reports that Marmol went on a Dominican radio station, saying that he is feeling strange and in a bit of shock, but that he is "looking forward to see the plans Anaheim has for me," so it sounds like a done deal to him.