Dan Haren, Effectively Untouchable

In his latest column, Jon Heyman relays the asking price for Diamondbacks ace Dan Haren. According to Heyman’s source, Arizona wants “two starting pitchers plus bullpen help” back for the ace. That’s a pretty staggering asking price, and one that probably precludes any team actually completing a trade for Haren.

What it really comes down to, though, is that Haren is just a phenomenally good pitcher. The only pitcher (starter or reliever) that ZiPS projects to beat Haren’s projected 4.95 K/BB ratio is Roy Halladay, at 5.71. Haren has posted four straight seasons at or above 4.0 WAR and looks prepared to do it again, with 2.6 WAR through the All-Star break. Certainly, with the Diamondbacks completely out of it and Cliff Lee set with the Texas Rangers, Haren looks like the ultimate prize on the market.

That is, if there was any reason whatsoever for Arizona to consider moving him. Haren is locked up through 2012 for a mere $25.5 million and, barring injury or collapse, should be a good bargain in 2013 with a $15.5 million team option. The 3.26 FIP that ZiPS projects is a roughly 5.5-6-win mark over a full season, making Haren about a $24-27 million player. He has a tremendous value both in terms of pure talent and in terms of his contract – the fact that he turns 30 in September is probably the major reason he doesn’t factor into our trade value rankings.

It seems to me that the ridicluous request of two starters and bullpen help is simply Arizona’s way of saying that Haren is untouchable. Although Arizona’s situation looks hopeless right now, they aren’t terribly far away from competing in 2011, 2012, or 2013, either. They have a legitimate superstar locked up in Justin Upton. Chris Snyder is under control until 2014 at catcher. Edwin Jackson is a decent mid-rotation pitcher. Mark Reynolds has tremendous power and is locked up until 2013. They have a variety of solid position players and starting pitchers. The bullpen, however, has been atrocious, and the unit’s historically bad -7.26 WPA is almost the complete reason for the team’s .382 winning percentage.

It’s certainly not going to be easy to fix all the holes that they have, but patching up a bullpen is much easier than attempting to add an ace or a superstar slugger. It may take more than one season, but there’s reason to believe that the core in Arizona can compete soon. Right now, it appears that the interim management in the desert knows that Dan Haren is going to be a major factor in any Diamondbacks team that competes any time in the near future.




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45 Responses to “Dan Haren, Effectively Untouchable”

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  1. Alex says:

    Dan Haren changed his name to Martin Prado? Haren seemingly didn’t make the top 50 at all.

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  2. Phillies Red says:

    So you’re saying Kyle Kendrick, JA Happ, and some pen arms won’t get it done? And here I thought that asking price was so reasonable. Hell, I’d throw in Moyer and Blanton too, if that’s what it takes.

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  3. Gary York says:

    I’m betting against ZIPs. Lee would have to fall a long way not to beat Haren and Halladay.

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    • The Ancient Mariner says:

      Actually, ZIPS projects Cliff to finish with a 7.64 K/BB — Jack Moore was probably thinking NL-only and forgot to check.

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      • Wally says:

        Lee’s K/BB rest of season is 4.75. You’re looking at including his 1st half numbers, Jack is looking at just future projections.

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  4. Josh says:

    Uh Jack…I don’t see Haren at #47….nice link haha. You gotta get it together man, lol

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  5. RPS says:

    Depends what “starting pitcher” means. If Porcello, Galarraga, and Perry is enough for them, that’s gonna get done. With the recent firing of Byrnes, I don’t think anyone really knows exactly what the FO is looking for right now.

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    • Mark says:

      Exactly.

      “It seems to me that the ridicluous request of two starters and bullpen help is simply Arizona’s way of saying that Haren is untouchable.”

      Gee, I thought it was their way of issuing a confusing non-statement statement in order to make the news. So… two Russ Ortiz’s and some bullpen help… a 45-year-old bullpen catcher? That’ll get it done? Where do we sign? I hate these completely meaningless front office type statements, and the even more inane treatment the media reliably gives them, by assuming their own definitions.

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  6. The World Wide Leader In Sports(ESPN) says:

    Oh man! Haren isn’t gettting traded? But, we need a big pitcher to be traded in order to spice up the trade deadline!

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  7. DonCoburleone says:

    Hey nothing to do with this post, but was anyone watching the Yankee game right now? Maddon goes to Wheeler and then Cormier with the game tied in the Bottom of the 9th inning?!?!?! Is Soriano hurt or something?

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  8. badenjr says:

    Hmmm… Last I checked, the Reds have 8-9 quality starters with none of them top of the rotation kind of guys. Giving up a couple of them plus some minor league relievers doesn’t sound too bad to me if they could get Haren for them.

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    • Geo says:

      Seriously. I’d give up Homer, Maloney/LeCure, and Boxberger to get it done. With the rotation money freed up by letting Harang (and possibly Arroyo) walk after this season, I’d gladly take Haren’s salary in the budget.

      Jocketty knows him well, too.

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      • badenjr says:

        I agree, but I don’t see the D-Backs taking that. We might have to include Wood/Leake instead of Maloney/LeCure and/or Donnie Joseph instead of Boxberger. I like it less under those terms, but I still think you have to seriously consider it.

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  9. Josh says:

    There we go Jack, good stuff. got it together..LOL….Haren not so untouchable tonight, The Dads are killing him.

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  10. allsnubteam says:

    Is PHX really a ‘small market’ team? Last I checked something like 5 million people or something lived in the valley of the sun which I think makes it one of the larger metro areas in the country.

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    • philosofool says:

      They can’t even sell out playoff games. Whether the market is big or not, I don’t think Arizona has tapped it very well.

      The D-Backs also have special problem that most teams don’t face: most of the people who live there and like baseball grew up rooting for someone else. The city is full of transplants and retirees that spent most of their life rooting for the Yankees, or Red Sox, or…. You get the point. In a city like Cincinatti, there are people who grew up with the team to create a loyal fanbase. Phoenix doesn’t provide that.

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  11. db90 says:

    Just a quick note that Miguel Montero, not Chris Snyder, is the organization’s choice for catcher of the future. They tried their best to shop Snyder over the offseason, and I’d be surprised if he were still a D-Back next year.

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  12. Warcard says:

    Two starters could mean two prospects capable of starting in a couple of years and if that is the case then their demands are no to much. I think they want a future frontline starter and a middle of the order starter along with a good relief prospect and that is not to much to ask for Haren.

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    • valuearb says:

      except that the team can compete now if it had a bullpen, and the biggest reason it can compete is Dan Haren. The odds of any “front line” starter prospect turning into a front line MLB pitcher aren’t really that high.

      The Phoenix market is one of the bigger MLB markts that hasn’t been split among two teams. It’s considered a small market because ownership has small pocketbooks, small minds, and small ambitions. They just want to unload their most expensive players and staff the team cheaply so they have a 100% guarantee of not losing any money because they are 100% guaranteed to not spend any money.

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  13. Jeffrey Gross says:

    Carlos Marmol+Josh Vitters = Give us haren, plz

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  14. Paul says:

    Was Chris Snyder really the second asset listed as the reason they can be good soon?

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  15. Dan Greer says:

    Justin Upton had one season of 4.6 WAR and he’s a superstar? I realize he’s only 22, and might yet be that, but it’s a little early.

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    • valuearb says:

      Justin’s WAR ranks as the 15th best for a player 21 or younger since 1901, just ahead of A-Rod, DiMaggio, and Cal Ripken Jr.

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      • Dan Greer says:

        Sure, I understand that his 2009 puts him in historically rare company, but he was only 35th in WAR for the season played. One season at that level does not in my mind equal a superstar.

        His projections on the other hand, are off the charts for future and career value; I’m just saying that he isn’t there yet.

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      • valuearb says:

        Your point is valid, but 35th out of 240 MLB starters is still a very solid, very near an all-star level performer. I’d think a superstar would have to be in the top 2 or 3 at his position, and Justin was 6th in Right Field. But I don’t think Jack is over-anticipating by using that language, if Justin improves just slightly, say from a 4.6 WAR to a 5.5 WAR, for his peak years, he’ll be one of the top two best RF every year for a long time.

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  16. Andrew says:

    Haren demanding high talent may be true, but it remains to be seen if Arizona will be temped by a team offering to consume the majority, if not all of Haren’s salary.

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  17. eliasll says:

    HAREN IS A BACK OF ROTATION STARTER AT BEST FOR THE SECOND HALF.
    HE HAS A CAREER 4.26 ERA AND 1.32WHIP IN 580 INN POST ALLSTAR.

    NO TEAM WILL TAKE HIS SALARY FOR THAT KIND OF PRODUCTION.

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    • valuearb says:

      LEAGUE AVERAGE ERA WAS 4.43 LAST YEAR, MAKING A 4.26 ERA A SOLID STARTER ERA, GIVEN THE AVERAGE MLB STARTER HAS AN ERA SLIGHTLY ABOVE LEAGUE AVERAGE. A BIG MAJORITY (57%) OF HIS INNINGS HAVE PRODUCED A 3.29 ERA IN GAMES CLASSIFIED AS FIRST HALF AND HIS 2ND HALF ERA IS BIASED BY CONTAINING ALMOST ALL OF THE INNINGS IN HIS 5.08 ERA ROOKIE SEASON. ONLY A GM TOO DUMB TO KNOW WHAT A CAPS LOCK KEY IS WOULD PASS ON ADDING A GUY WHO HAS AVERAGED A 138 ERA+ OVER HIS LAST 4 YEARS, ONE OF THE BEST IN BASEBALL.

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  18. Matt Murton says:

    YEAH~!!!!!!!!!@@po89UW3

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  19. matt says:

    “Arizona wants “two starting pitchers plus bullpen help” back for the ace. That’s a pretty staggering asking price, and one that probably precludes any team actually completing a trade for Haren.”

    You’re underestimating stupidity. The Giants gave that up for A.J. Pierzynski.

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  20. Jim says:

    What do you attribute Haren’s struggles after the all-star break last year to? His FB velocity has gone down in the past few years and he really looked like he wore down last year.

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  21. Jake says:

    Dan Haren….untouchable indeed. Two starters: Saunders and Corbin. Bullpen help: Rafael Rodriguez. Oh dear.

    From the looks of this, the Royals could’ve gotten Haren. Send over a package of Bannister, Bruce Chen, and the Fresh Prince…voila!

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  22. BuzzingThalami says:

    My comment above (“Mark” at July 17, 2010 at 6:22 am) rings prophetic now. This is just a staggering haul for Haren, right? I mean, it’s all about how many major league pitchers you get. And they got TWO for ONE. That’s like a win, right?

    Way to go, Jerry. Jeez.

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