ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Los Angeles Angels searched long and hard for a power hitter to help replace Kendry Morales, but wound up landing a front-line starting pitcher.
The Angels acquired Dan Haren from the Arizona Diamondbacks Sunday in exchange for pitcher Joe Saunders, two minor league pitchers and a player to be named.
Before the season started, I was devastated that the Angels went in without an established ace to replace John Lackey, but held out hope that they'd land someone at the deadline. They did just that. Dan Haren's a major improvement over the departed Lackey.
The only problem here is that it might be too late. The Rangers are up a whopping 7 games in the division with a chance to up that lead even more next weekend in Anaheim. Unless the Angels make their run now, their season's pretty much lost.
Oh, and there's the matter of lightning possibly striking twice. The Angels had Scott Kazmir fall into their laps last year, but it turned out there was a reason for that. Similarly, Haren coming to Anaheim for Saunders and low-level prospects heavily favors the Angels. There has to be a reason Haren came so easily and I'm more than a bit skeptical.
Now if the Angels follow this deal up with a trade for a big bat to cover for Kendry Morales' loss, THEN we can talk about a possible comeback, but until then, the Rangers should still handily take the AL West.
Unlike Cliff Lee, this isn't a rental. If Haren isn't enough for the Angels to win this year, he still should help the next two years (at $12.75mil each, a reasonable price for him.) Texas may be having one good year in a period of a lot of okay years, and the never ending ownership issue will not help them capitalize it.
Haren's ERA isn't as good as it was in previous seasons, but I don't think the problem is him. He's striking out as many as he ever does, and while his walks and HR's are up a little bit, his biggest problem is balls not getting caught and falling in for hits. Better defense or luck will help that.
The problem is Arizona. Between firing the GM and manager and this trade, they're reacting like a fantasy team owner who's bored with losing and decides just to shake things up without an actual plan.
There's no downside to this move for Los Angeles, who were going to go after a free-agent pitcher of Haren's caliber in the offseason anyway. And they didn't give up much at all to get him from the D'Backs, who I agree are rudderless right now.
You know it's not your team's year when their #1 hitter gets a season-ending injury on a walk-off home run.
You REALLY know it's not your team's year when two months later, your team trades for an ace-level pitcher and then he gets hurt on his very first start after every talking head spends the day talking about how durable he's been throughout his career.
How much more credit can you give a guy than to say it's IMO a bad decision to pitch to him in that situation? The man is an unearthly hitter these days, capable of nailing seemingly anything out for a hit no matter what you try on him.