Sunday, July 19, 2009

By Chuck Richter - Executive Editor

While there is a lot of talk about the Blue Jays shopping Roy Halladay, perhaps the Angels should approach the Diamondbacks about a possible Dan Haren trade.

Today, the Diamondbacks who are clearly out of it in the NL West traded a productive young 2B in Felipe Lopez. Knowing the Diamondbacks minor league talent and depth, I can tell you they don't have anyone in the near future that's neither talented enough to wait on or ready to fill in now and be productive at the 2B spot. Interesting move by Arizona because they didn't get a 2B or middle infielder back in the deal with the Brewers today. Lopez is making just 3.5 million this season, though he was a free agent at the end of the season. I'm surprised Josh Byrnes didn't approach Felipe Lopez with a contract extension.

Maybe there is something coming down the Arizona to California pipeline. The hometown state of Angels owner Arte Moreno who still has connections inside the Diamondbacks organization.

The Angels have an enormous amoung of depth and talent at the middle infield positions and have the young pitching to give up to acquire a Dan Haren, who arguably is having a better overall season than Halladay, is younger and has an incredible contract for a player of his stature. Dan Haren's contract is at 4 years/$44.75M (2009-12), plus 2013 club option.

Through a little more than half a season, Dan Haren has posted a 1.96 ERA 0.80 WHIP, is 10-5 on a bad team and has fanned almost a batter an inning (137 K's in 138 innings).

Playing GM for today, this would be my offer.

The Angels send either second baseman Howie Kendrick or Sean Rodriguez - giving the Diamondbacks a productive young 2B who can start now for the club and provide some offense. The Diamondbacks would probably favor Howie Kendrick in the deal, which could give Sean Rodriguez more seasoning at the position this season in Salt Lake, putting Sean in a position to take over as the primary second baseman in 2010. The Angels could either move Figgins from third-base to second base and insert Brandon Wood at third-base, or just have Izturis take over as the primary second baseman for the rest of the season.

The 2nd player in the deal would be LHP Joe Saunders. This would give the Diamondbacks a pitcher they could insert immediately into their rotation. The Diamondbacks have expressed interest in Joe in the past. The Angels could easily get the same type of current production they've received out of Saunders from O'Sullivan going forward. Like Saunders, O'Sullivan has the type of confidence on the mound that Saunders has with an assortment of pitches which saw Sean win two consecutive ERA titles in the minors.

The third player of the deal could be either RHP prospect and former #1 pick Trevor Bell (7-5 2.26 ERA and .210 BAA in '09) or LHP prospect pitcher Trevor Reckling (6-5, 2.36 ERA, just 20 years old in Double-A) who was the lone representative from the Futures Game last week. Either one of these young arms are talented and top tier prospects in my opinion. Bell could probably start right now in the big leagues while Eddie Bane said in a recent chat with us that Trevor Reckling has what it takes to pitch in the big leagues NOW.

Finally, we could ship Jordan Walden as a PTBNL (he's on the DL) to complete the deal with the Diamondbacks, giving them either a future potential closer or frontline starter down the road.

That's a load of talent to give up for one player, but considering the Angels may lose John Lackey to free agency, Kelvin Escobar is finished as a starting pitcher and their is uncertainty about Ervin Santana going forward, it's a move worth making. Especially when you consider you would have Haren through 2014 if you picked up his option at the backend of his contract and you'd still retain top prospects' Brandon Wood, Hank Conger, either one of Trevor's, Sean O'Sullivan, Alex Torres and boast an impressive group of young hurlers from Low-A ball for the future.

The rotation for the dog days of summer and AL West pennant race would be a nightmare to face, especially in October having to face Haren, Lackey and Weaver in the playoffs.

Dan Haren
John Lackey
Jered Weaver
Ervin Santana
Sean O'Sullivan or Trevor Bell (if Reckling is traded for)

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