Friday, November 2, 2012

Haren Here, Marmol There

The Angels had until 11pm to make something happen. At that point the team would have to either pick up or decline the option on righty Dan Haren. Recently the team announced they would be actively shopping both Ervin Santana and Dan Haren, hoping to trade them for salary relief as well as relief pitchers. They successfully traded Santana to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for a minor league lefty specialist, but had yet to move Haren. Both Santana and Haren had particularly awful seasons in 2012, but both are bounce-back candidates, making them valuable to teams that could otherwise not afford to take a chance on a player who played so poorly last season.

Enter the Chicago Cubs. Today, the Cubs announced that they had acquired Dan Haren from the Angels in exchange for reliever Carlos Marmol. Marmol, has had his ups and downs with the Cubs. He's recently shown rises in his BB% and HR/FB%, both bad signs for a pitcher who tends to be wild. His strikeout percentage hasn't dropped off, so Marmol still shows signs of his 2010 self, when he posted a 3.0 fWAR, but overall, he may cause more headaches for Mike Scioscia rather than solve problems. The Angels are fairly transparent. They want to sign Zack Greinke to a long-term deal, and improve their bullpen. This move saves them $5.7 million ($15.5 million - $9.8 million), which doesn't seem like much, but it could make the difference between staying under the luxury tax and not. 

The Cubs come out fairing very well in this deal. They "bought low" on Haren's potential productivity. Haren is a perfect bounce-back candidate. He has averaged 4.7 fWAR since becoming an everyday starting pitcher. His dip in 2012 to a weaker 1.8 WAR makes me think that the Cubs can expect Haren to produce a WAR in 2013 somewhere between 2-3.5 WAR, which would make the $15.5 million the Cubs now owe him reasonable. The Cubs have a solid defensive infield including Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney, and Anthony Rizzo, maning that a ground ball pitcher like Haren could flourish from playing with them. The Cubs were desperate to rid themselves of Marmol, especially since he became both more expensive and less effective at the same time. 

Overall, this deal favors the Cubs. I'm not sure what other offers were on the table for Haren, but I feel for Jerry Dipoto if this was the best he could do. I hope the $6 million he's saving due to this transfer is worth it. Although Marmol can be affective, he's trending the opposite way, while Haren's 2012 may have been just a one-year drop. Both players will become free agents following the 2013 season, unless they sign a contract extension. 

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