Wednesday, December 5, 2012

By Tanner Shurtz - Columnist

On July 25, 2010 Tony Reagins made a trade with the Diamondbacks interim General Manager Jerry Dipoto. The trade was Dan Haren for Joe Saunders, Patrick Corbin, Rafael Rodríguez, and a PTBNL (Tyler Skaggs), Haren was under contract for 2011 and 2012 at $12.75MM per season with a club option for 2013 of $15.5MM ($3.5MM buyout), while Saunders was arbitration eligible for the 2011 season and a free agent after that. Haren started 78 times, averaging an ERA of 3.45, struck out 409 batters while only walking 102 which is about a 4 KK/BB ratio. 

Haren threw 509 innings and posted a record of 33-27, though he missed time in 2012 with a back injury. After coming over to the Angels, he provided a necessary jolt into the rotation, going 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA in 14 starts and 94 IP. His 2011 season was his best since 2009, where he posted a record of 14-10 record, a 3.14 ERA, 229.1 IP, and lead the league in WHIP and K/BB (1.00;5.87) while finishing 5th in Cy-Young voting. His 2011 campaign did not disappoint, posting a 16-10 record with an ERA of 3.17, 238.1 IP, a WHIP of 1.02 and again leading the league in K/BB at 5.82 while finishing 7th in Cy-Young voting. 

At the other end of the spectrum, Saunders had a tough time adjusting to Chase Field, the NL, and being traded by the team he got drafted by. He posted a 3-7 record while starting in 13 games and had a 4.25 ERA in 82.2 innings. Like Haren, in his full year with his new team he performed exceptionally well, posting a 12-13 record with a 3.69 ERA in 212 IP, posting very similar stats to his 2008 season. Saunders was paid 5.5MM that season and eventually signed with the Dbacks for another year for 6MM. The amount of money the Dbacks took on in the trade for Saunders was 5.6MM and an additional 6MM after signing him in FA, totaling 11.6MM. 

The total cost for Haren was 29.65MM plus the buyout, totaling to 33.1MM over 2.5 years, accumulating a 5.8 WAR over that time. Using a WAR/$ (5MM per 1 WAR) metric, Haren was worth 29MM, so the Angels got exactly what they wanted from him. As for Saunders, he posted a 1.2 WAR over that time, which was worth 6MM, so he performed a little better than they expected. 

Now, over the 2.5 years of Dan Haren, the 3 prospects (namely Corbin and Skaggs) excelled very well in the Dbacks system. The main prize was lefty Tyler Skaggs (the PTBNL), who was drafted supplemental first-round selection (40th overall) in 2009. Skaggs (pre-2012) was rated the #13 prospect in MLB and was named the #3 prospect in the system. He absolutely dominated in 2011 and 2012 pitching from High-A to AAA. In 2011, he posted a 2.96 ERA in 27 total starts (17 in High-A and 10 in AA), 158.1 IP, 1.10 WHIP, and a 4.04 K/BB. In 2012, he posted a 2.87 ERA in 22 total starts (13 in AA and 9 in AAA), 122.1 IP, 1.21 WHIP, and a 3.14 K/BB. He was promoted to the big leagues in 2012 and debuted on August 22nd against the Marlins, where he pitched 6.2 innings, 3 H, 2 ER, 5 BB’s, 4 K’s, and a HRA. He finished the year with 6 starts and pitching 29.1 innings. Look for him to compete for a spot in the rotation come 2013, if he doesn’t make it he’ll most likely be pitching in AAA, not bad for a 20 year old. 

The second piece was lefty Patrick Corbin, who was drafted in the 2nd round in the 2009 draft. Corbin was rated the #10 prospect in the Dbacks system in 2011, he struggled in 2011 at AA, pitching to a 4.21 ERA in 21 starts and 160.1 IP, a 1.32 WHIP, but a solid 3.55 K/BB. In 2012 though he put it together in 13 total starts (4 in AA and 9 in AAA) posting a 2.84 ERA in 79.1 IP, had a 1.28 WHIP, and a 3.48 K/BB, he was then promoted to the Majors and debuted on April 30th against the Marlins, in which he went 5.2 innings, 8 H, 3 ER, 3 BB’s, 6 K’s, and 1 HRA. He finished the season starting in 17 games (5 games pitched in relief) with a 4.54 ERA in 107 IP, 1.32 WHIP, and a 3.44 K/BB. Also look for Corbin to compete for a spot in the rotation come 2013, as with Skaggs if he doesn’t make the team he’ll be pitching in AAA, also not bad for a 20 year old. 

The deal for Haren had its risks, dealing a potential ace and a potential #3 (and both lefties) but it was a risk the Angels had to take for a potential playoff run. Unfortunately, things did not work out as planned and the Dbacks project to have a very strong, young rotation in the coming years with Kennedy, Miley, Hudson, Skaggs, Corbin, and Bauer. Wade Miley posted a 3.33 ERA in 29 starts and 33 appearances in his 2012 rookie campaign, while boasting a record of 16-11. He became just the fifth rookie pitcher to reach 16 wins over the past 40 seasons. Haren, we had a good run, you helped out a lot (for the most part), and it was a lot of fun watching you pitch. I speak for all Angel fans when I say, thank you for your services to the Angels and we hope you the very best with the Nationals (signed for 1 year/13MM) and unfortunately we must end this era. The Dan Haren Era. 
Love to hear what you think!

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