Jul 1, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Dan Haren (15) reacts after giving up a solo home run to San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford (not pictured) during the sixth inning at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Dan Haren has pitched at the level everyone expected: a dependable back-end starter. His strikeouts are down from his prime years, but he still limits walks and still gives up home runs a lot. He’s had some luck as far as BABIP goes, leading to an ERA that is artificially low.
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However, teams aren’t buying ERA anymore and a slightly below average starter that will give you at least 6 innings every time out does have some value.
We have a pretty good comparable for a Dan Haren trade. In early July 2013, Scott Feldman was traded from the Cubs to the Orioles. At the time of the trade, Feldman had a little bit of a better FIP than Haren currently does (3.93 versus 4.29). Haren is extremely dependable, though, and can be counted on to not miss starts. That means something to a playoff contender down the stretch, even if Haren doesn’t make a postseason start.
Also, the acquiring team will pay Haren virtually nothing since the Dodgers are picking up the tab on the last year of his contract. The Orioles had to pay the remaining $3 million or so owed to Feldman. All in all, their value is probably incredibly similar.
What did the Cubs get for Feldman? The full trade was Feldman and Steve Clevenger for Jake Arrieta, Pedro Strop, and 2 international bonus slots. More or less we can break this trade into two parts, with one part being Clevenger for the international bonus slots. That leaves Feldman for Arrieta and Strop, which has certainly worked out very well for the Cubs considering Arrieta’s renaissance and Strop being a good bullpen arm. At the time, Arrieta was a former top prospect that struggled mightily in the bigs and Strop mostly looked expendable. Both guys still had pretty considerable upside and these are the kinds of players the Marlins should target.
Buy low on a former top prospect that still has time to turn it around while also adding a risky bullpen arm with upside. It is very unlikely the Miami Marlins will have the same success the Cubs did with their trade, but it is very much a risk worth taking.
One name that might be interesting is Dylan Bundy. His stock has cratered after suffering a number of injuries and he is out of options this year. The Orioles might be willing to part with him in a trade and while the risk is extremely high, so is the reward. It’s a very bold move but it’s also the kind that the team should start making more.
If the Mariners get close and decide to buy to make a run at the AL Wild Card, Danny Hultzen might also be an intriguing option. Same boat as Bundy (he’s suffered many injuries), but he’s a former top prospect and is still just 25.
Next: Mat Latos