As the city broils this afternoon and the Yankees take the field against the Royals, trade discussions continue between the Diamondbacks and the Yankees over Dan Haren and other players. Last night, the teams were believed to be close to a deal, but we later learned from Jayson Stark that the teams were much further apart than was believed. As Ben Kabak’s from RiverAveBlues writes,
Earlier in the evening, Arizona team president and CEO Derrick Hall went on the record and echoed Stark’s sources. The Yanks, he said, are not leading the pack. “We are not close on a deal with the Yankees, and there are some other teams involved that have deals of at least equal value out there. I would not categorize the Yankees as a front-runner,” he said.
The sticking points appeared to be whether the Yankees would include Joba Chamberlain and how much of Haren’s contract the Diamondbacks would assume. This morning, Jon Heyman gave an update on trade talks, which was significant in that Dan Haren is not represented by Scott Boras, tweeting that the Yankees were willing to include Ian Nova, Zach McAllister and 2 other prospects for Haren, but balked at taking reliever Chad Qualls and backup catcher Chris Snyder. He also reported that the Yankees were not willing to include Joba and assume the entire remaining balance on Haren’s contract. Bob Klapisch complemented this, saying that the Yankees were not willing to include Joba in any deal for Haren, but that the talks remained ongoing. The latest as of post time was from Buster Olney (via MLBTR) who said that the Diamondbacks had prioritized a closer in their attempt to deal Haren, which is why they requested Joba Chamberlain. If true, we will all have a good hearty chuckle.
Dan Haren is a fantastic pitcher signed to a reasonable contract. In 2010, he makes $8.25M. In 2011 and 2012 his salary jumps to $12.75M, and his contract has a club option for 2013 for $15.5M with a $3.5M buyout. For a frontline pitcher, this is a bargain. Haren is durable and has spent time on the Athletics and Cardinals before going to the Diamondbacks. He has a lifetime ERA of 3.71 with a FIP of 3.69 and an xFIP of 3.39. In the past few years, he has increased his strikeout rate dramatically, averaging 8.58, 8.75 and 9.00 in 2008, 2009 and 2010, respectively. Haren’s calling card is his ability to limit his walks, and he’s walked a mere 1.97 batters per nine innings over the course of his career, leaving him with an otherworldly K/BB ratio of 3.93. Since 2008, that ratio has been even higher – 5.15, 5.87 and 4.86. In 2010, Haren has struggled some and has an ERA of 4.60. However, he is a textbook example of looking past his ERA. His BABIP is .350, 50 points higher than his career average and 70 points higher than 2009. As a result, his FIP and xFIP stand at 3.92 and 3.39, respectively. In other words, don’t let his 2010 ERA fool you: Dan Haren is good at pitching.
This acquisition would come on the heels of the failed attempt to acquire Cliff Lee. At the time, this was believed to be a unique opportunity, and I don’t recall many analysts expecting the Yankees to make another run at a big name. However, it seems that Brian Cashman does not appear content to send the team into the homestretch and the postseason with a rotation of Sabathia, Burnett, Pettitte, Vazquez and Hughes. Certainly the struggles of Burnett and Vazquez, the injury to Pettitte, and the pending innings limit of Hughes have motivated him to make a move. If the Yankees acquire Haren, they can certainly be cautious with Pettitte now, and not rush his return. This also seems to imply that we will see Phil Hughes moved to the bullepn in September, and for the postseason.