Does a C.J. Wilson for Dan Haren Trade Make Sense?

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It’s obvious that Dan Haren has zero interest in pitching in Miami in 2015. Reportedly, he is holding out hope for the Marlins to send him back to the West Coast, preferably to either to the Padres or Angels.

If the Marlins were to grant Haren’s wish of being dealt to the West Coast, they’d have a major opening in their rotation, especially with the departure of Nathan Eovaldi (traded to the Yankees).

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Luckily for the Marlins, one of the teams where Haren would prefer to be traded to, has a pitcher they could be looking into dealing. It’s been reported that the Angels are looking to move left hander C.J. Wilson, who actually choose the Angels over the Marlins just three off-seasons ago in free agency.

So could a Haren for Wilson trade work? Rev Halofan of Halos Haven takes a stab at why the swap could make some sense.

"But then there is that $38 Million owed over the next two seasons to C.J. Wilson. What is to be done about our resident Mazda dealer? While every team wants to be rich in pitching, keeping CJ around after a miserable 2014 is asking to bitten twice by the disappointment snake. No thanks. He is a league average lefty who cannot even take advantage of a greatly expanded strike zone to paint a corner as it is called. Good news though, after three of his five contracted seasons here, his no trade clause has expired. CJ can be traded.Meanwhile down in Miami, the Marlins have a little conundrum. They acquired Dan Haren from the Dodgers but Haren has hinted he will retire if he is not pitching for a Southern California team in 2015. That would leave the Marlins with a hole in their pitching rotation. The Florida Fish were smart enough, though, to make the Dodgers pay Haren’s 2015 salary. And so they could trade Haren to the Angels – where he wants to pitch – for Wilson, who no Halo fan wants to see pitch. The only question is how much of the money owed CJ would the Angels have to eat."

The last question Rev brings up could be the biggest obstacle in any discussed deal. We know the Marlins are going to try and get the Angels to eat as much salary as possible. For the Angels to eat more of C.J. Wilson’s salary, the Marlins would need to sweeten the pot with some prospects that could benefit the Angels in the long-run.

My idea:

Marlins Acquire:C.J. Wilson and $20 million

Angels Acquire: Dan Haren, Adam Conley, and lower level prospect

In such a deal, both teams benefit a great deal. In Haren, the Angels get a pitcher that won’t cost them any money in 2015, as the Dodgers will be on the hook for his salary. Last year, Haren pitched 186 innings last season to a 4.02 ERA and an 4.09 FIP. He was worth just a 1.0 fWAR for the season, though Steamers projects him to be closer to a 2 WAR next season.

They also get Conley, who is close to major league ready, if he can regroup from his elbow woes from a season ago. Conley had a strong Double-A showing in 138 2/3 innings in 2013, posting a 2.66 FIP. His 2014 season saw him posting  4.20 FIP in 60 innings, but most of that could be written off due to injury.

The Marlins would also send over a lower level prospect, who holds some upside, to help Conley off-set the money that is being sent to Miami.

For the Marlins, they are able to unload of a pitcher that has no desire to pitch in Miami and acquire a left handed starter that their rotation is lacking. With the Angels paying $20 million of the $38 million left on Wilson’s deal, the Marlins would be on the hook for 2-years at $18 million contract, roughly the same they’re paying Morse and Prado for the next two seasons.

Wilson is actually a pitcher that I endorsed the Marlins to sign heavily during the 2011 off-season, before he and Albert Pujols ultimately chose to sign with the Angels. He would still be a good fit for the Marlins at this point in his career, despite his struggles last season.

In 2014, Wilson posted a 4.51 ERA and a 4.31 FIP in 175 2/3 innings of work. His 0.6 fWAR and 175 innings were the worst of his career as a full-time starter. Between 2010 to 2013, Wilson averaged 210 innings of work and a 3.7 fWAR. So a bounceback season could be in order for the 34-year old, especially in a move to the more pitcher friendly National League.

Adding Wilson to the mix would make the Marlins rotation stronger, making up for the loss of Eovaldi, when the team added Martin Prado. Wilson has also been durable as a starter, meaning the Marlins would have some insurance in the case Mat Latos continues to struggle with injuries, like he did in 2013. Wilson would also buy more time for top pitching prospects Justin Nicolino and Jose Urena, both who should pitch at the Triple-A level next season.

This is how the Marlins rotation would look in 2015 with Wilson in the mix:

  1. Mat Latos, RHP
  2. Henderson Alvarez, RHP
  3. C.J. Wilson, LHP
  4. Jared Cosart, RHP
  5. Tom Koehler, RHP

Slotting a left hander into the rotation would provide a nice change-up for a team that hasn’t had a prominent left hander in their rotation since Mark Buehrle, forcing opposing managers to change around their starting lineups a bit.

Dan Haren does not want to pitch in Miami and would prefer to be back on the West Coast in 2015. The Angels are looking to move C.J. Wilson and the Marlins have had interest in the past in him. Could these two teams get together and pull-off the trade I suggested? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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