When I got home from work, I turned on the TV. As I began to flip through the channels, I saw a gigantic tornado forming on MLB Network. John Smoltz and friends were saying that the Yankees had become ‘front runners’ to trade for Diamondbacks’ 30-year-old ace, Dan Haren. Haren’s numbers (7-8, 4.60 ERA) don’t look great, but if we look more closely, Haren is the league leader in strikeouts (141) and has suffered from the inept Diamonback bullpen.
To me, this potential move screams one thing loud and clear about the 2010 Yankees…
The Yankee brass just doesn’t trust Joba Chamberlain. Since returning to the bullpen, Chamberlain (1-4, 5.66 ERA) has been very inconsistent. With Phil Hughes starting to slow down (106 innings, 18 earned runs over his last four starts), the Yankees may give him a few more turns through the starting rotation before Andy Pettitte returns from his groin injury. Hughes would ultimately reclaim to the 8th inning role that he dominated last season (1.30 ERA).
Back to Haren. The guy is one of the premiere strike out pitchers in the game. Since 2005, he has recorded at least 14 wins and 163 strikeouts. Haren struck out a career high 223 batters in 2009.
Haren, a former St. Louis Cardinals prospect, was traded to Oakland in 2004 as a piece in the Mark Mulder trade. Haren excelled with the A’s (43-34, 3.50 ERA) before being shipped to Arizona. Haren is owed $12.75 million over the next two seasons and has a $15.75 club option for the 2013 season. In terms of New York/Boston dollars where an AJ Burnett and John Lackey commands $17+ mil per season, Haren is an absolute steal.
My only two questions?:
1. What will it cost to land Haren?
2. Can Haren succeed in New York?
1. Well, the D’Backs want a lot of young pitching, preferably at least one player who is ‘major-league’ ready. A package consisting of Ivan Nova, Zach McAllister, Jon Albaladejo, and another low level arm will probably get it done. Albaledejo (31 saves, 0.79 ERA) may be the perfect ‘sell-high’ candidate after his dominant AAA performance this season.
2. I always worry about players coming to New York from smaller markets. For every CC Sabathia that lands in New York, we get a Carl Pavano, Randy Johnson, or Kevin Brown that just can’t cut it.
Can Haren handle it? I would hope so. He is a West Coast guy and coming to New York may seem like a daunting task. Players that come to New York always try to over-perform. Overall though, I think of him as a less erratic AJ Burnett. A very good strikeout pitcher that has some propensity to give up bombs. In terms of pure cost, Haren is a steal at his aforementioned salary and prospect cost. Completion of this trade would put the Yankees even further ahead of their AL foes.
Whether or not the Yankees land Haren remains to be seen. However, we know for a fact that Yankee management definitely does not trust Joba in the eighth inning. That Joba tornado may be slowly blowing its way out of the Bronx…