The Diamondbacks Get Cheap

The idea of this is to present Arizona’s side of the trade but frankly I have been sitting here for an hour and still cannot even come close to justifying this. The argument that I have heard is that the Diamondbacks needed to shed payroll. I do not have any special insight into their balance sheets so I won’t bother refuting that. I will point out that they were already losing some $30 million in contracts this winter so I’m unsure how low they feel their payroll needs to get. However, even granting that premise, this trade is horrendous.

Make no mistake, Dan Haren is still a very good pitcher and he wasn’t a drain on their payroll. Haren was more than worth his contract. That value obviously makes him an easier commodity to move, but the point then would be to get good assets back. We do not yet know the identity of the player to be named later but have heard that it is not Mike Trout, the Angels only really exciting prospect. The known portions of the trade return range from intriguing but far away (Corbin) to generic (Rodriguez) to downright horrendous (Saunders). Joe Saunders probably doesn’t even make sense to retain given that he’s making almost $4 million this year and would expect to see a raise to the $6 or $7 million mark if he went through arbitration.

That is not a good haul; it’s not even a decent haul. It’s downright bad. It’s the sort of return you’d more expect if the person getting traded was a liability due to his contract, not an asset. The Diamondbacks just acted as if they have no understanding of Haren’s .350 BABIP or that their home park is prone to serving up home runs. The Diamondbacks just acted like Dan Haren was Scott Kazmir. He’s not and whoever eventually takes over as the full time GM in Arizona will rue this day as one that set back the organization significantly.

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Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.

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