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NL West Report: The Tale of the Snake, the Angel and the Haren

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Angel on the Mound
Angel on the Mound

Last week, I wrote that I had significant doubts that Dan Haren would be dealt.  Jerry DiPoto made me look like a complete ignorant fool by dealing Haren to Los Angeles (of Anaheim) yesterday.  Of course, it wasn't really my fault.  After all, he was reportedly demanding two starting pitchers and bullpen help for Haren last week, which is not the offer he accepted.  Team president said he needed an" A+ offer" to trade Haren....just three days before the deal went down.

I am no expert on the Angels' farm system, but I can tell you the Diamondbacks got nowhere near an A+ deal nor the two starting pitchers and bullpen help.

Instead, Arizona will be receiving Joe Saunders, the 29-year-old southpaw starter who has about three years of service time, and is thus still in his arbitration years.  I asked David OhNo for comps to Rockies players, and his choice for Saunders was Jason Hammel due to contract status and age.   Despite being a lefty, Saunders has to be considered the inferior pitcher, WINZ be damned.  You're looking at possibly $7/million a year for Saunders in arbitration, leading some to contend the D-Backs might non-tender Saunders after the season.  

Additionally, Patrick Corban comes in the deal, who was ranked as the Angels #22 prospect before the season by Halos Heaven.  He has been in A-ball this season and profiles as a mid-back-of-the-rotation starter, though he is a long ways away.  David's comp to Rockies prospects:  Chris Balcom-Miller, though Rockies fans have CBM rated quite a bit higher than Angels fans do of Corban.

Rafael Rodriguez fills in as the "bullpen help."  The 25-year-old has been mostly a AAA reliever the last two plus years, deservedly so:  he has a 5.51 ERA in his MLB career, but considering Arizona has a 6.53 bullpen ERA, it's hard to argue with the logic that he'll be an upgrade somewhere.  David's comp:  Edgmer Escalona.

The wild card in the entire trade is the PTBNL.  Rumors abound that it will be Tyler Skaggs, a 19-year old starter in A-ball who was chosen 40th overall in the 2009 draft.  He is ranked as the Angels' ninth overall prospect and received a lot of interest from Arizona scouts leading up to the draft, though they ultimately passed on him in favor of high school 3B Matt Davidson.    If Skaggs is included, he could very well be the most valuable piece in this trade.  David's comp:  There really isn't a good one, but the closest would be Tyler Matzek, though the difference in ceiling between the two is considerable.  The comp is age/experience related.

The haul is significantly less than what Josh Byrnes gave up to get Haren.  I never fail to shudder at the list:  Brett Anderson, Carlos Gonzalez, Aaron Cunningham, Dana Eveland, Greg Smith and Chris Carter (Oakland's #1 prospect).  But that's not the way to evaluate the trade, as it leaves out two considerable variables.  First, the Diamondbacks got 15.1 WAR (and $67.0million in Value) per fangraphs from Haren in his Arizona career, which is possibly enough to offset the difference in the deal.

Initial reactions from analysts heavily favor the Angels in the deal.   Fangraphs' Matthew Carruth hates the trade from Arizona's perspective, and the D-Backs fans at AZSnakePit voiced their displeasure in the poll, if not the comments in totality.  

The trade reminds JC Bradbury of the recent Javier Vazquez deal, while Buster Olney is reminded of the Jake Peavy deal in terms of payroll flexibility.  And there is the kicker, the second big variable.  

The Diamondbacks are mired in last place and are 107-155 since Opening Day 2009.  A highly paid ace is a luxury for a competitive team, but the roughly $30million remaining on his deal severely hampers the new regime from upgrading the roster elsewhere.  Nick Piecoro speculates that the extra money could be used on a closer, such as Kerry Wood or Rafael Soriano, next season.  I understand bullpen help is important to that atrocious pen, but I would be a bit peeved as a D-Backs fan if I turned an ace into an overpaid closer.  Click this link to listen to GM Jerry DiPoto and Dan Haren discuss the trade.

So would you trade Matzek, Balcom-Miller, Escalona and Hammel for Haren, provided CBM and Hammel took a big step back and Matzek took two?  Provided the Rockies would be on the hook for $30million to a pitcher that has given up more home runs than any non-D-Back in baseball?  It's worth considering.

I'll leave you with this, via Keith Law:

I've talked to a few sources in other front offices not involved in the deal, and the unanimous response is that this is a great deal for the Angels and a bad one for Arizona.

And this, from Bob Nightengale:

Informal poll of BB scouts and say that Dbacks made out quite well in Haren trade, esp with top prospect being the PTBNL

I guess we will just have to find out.


Team capsules after the jump.

NL West Report

Arizona (37-62, 5th, L4, 22 GB)

Last Week: 3-4.  3-0 vs. Mets.  0-4 vs. Giants.  Thanks a lot Arizona for helping us out.  That helped about as much as trading Haren to San Francisco.

Divisional Change: Lost 1.5 games to first-place San Diego.

This Week: 3 game road series @ Phillies.  3 game road series @ Mets.  Dan Haren was supposed to pitch twice this week.  Instead, Rodrigo Lopez will slide up and pitch twice.

You Should Know:  Joe Saunders' Arizona debut will come Thursday in Philadelphia, opposed by Kyle Kendrick.

News:  Even before the Haren trade, almost all of the Diamondbacks-related news was about Dan Haren.  In the absence of that, there's not much to report in this section.  The Nationals were interested in Edwin Jackson, but now that Haren has been dealt, Jackson will almost certainly be starting in Arizona.

Edwin Jackson

#36 / Pitcher / Arizona Diamondbacks





Sep 09, 1983

2010 - Edwin Jackson 6-9 21 20 1 1 0 0 129.1 133 75 72 13 58 101 5.01 1.48

In an underwhelming bullpen market, Jerry Crasnick lists Chad Qualls and Aaron Heilman as the fifth best trade targets for bullpens.

The Angels are also interested in Adam LaRoche.

Kelly Johnson hit for the cycle on Friday.  The second baseman could also be dealt.

Jon Heyman thinks Kirk Gibson will stick as Arizona's manager long(ish) term.  

Transactions:  None.

Injuries:  Brandon Webb threw a successful bullpen session July 21, yet there is still no timetable for his return.  Kris Benson threw a simulated game last Tuesday.  Leo Rosales still needs another week or two to strengthen his legs before returning.

Arizona Diamondbacks Injuries

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Brandon Webb shoulder 03/26/2010
Leo Rosales foot 04/29/2010


Los Angeles (53-46, 3rd, W2, 6.0 GB, 3.0 GB WC)

Last Week: 4-3.  1-2 vs. Giants.  3-1 vs. Mets.  

Divisional Change:  Lost 0.5 games to first place San Diego, rebounded to third place in the NL West.  Fell to 3.0 games behind in the wild card chase. 

This Week:  3 game road series @ Padres.  3 game road series @ Giants.  Desp.ite the fact that the Rockies now trail Los Angeles, we might want to root for the Dodgers to be on fire on the road this week.  Their tough schedule down the stretch might be enough to keep them at bay eventually.  Chad Billingsley is scheduled to go twice this week.

You Should Know:  ESPN's Sunday night game is Giants/Dodgers, with Billingsley facing Matt Cain.

News:  The Dodgers have been linked to Roy Oswalt for  long time, but I have not given a Houston-Los Angeles trade any more weight than one with the Rockies.  With the 24th-best farm system according to Baseball America, they don't have the greatest farm system to deal with, and Ned Colletti has watched Carlos Santana and Josh Bell take big steps forward while Casey Blake and George Sherrill have taken big steps back.  Natually, money is an issue with the impending divorce.  

Roy Oswalt

#44 / Pitcher / Houston Astros





Aug 29, 1977

2010 - Roy Oswalt 6-12 20 20 1 1 0 0 129.0 109 52 49 13 34 120 3.42 1.11

Ken Rosenthal suggests that Houston and Los Angeles don't match up. But as the trade deadline nears, Ned Colletti is doing as much as he can to keep the pipe dream alive for his fans.  In an LA Time article Saturday, Colletti noted he is "more open-minded" to trade prospects than before.  Additionally, Colletti claims to have the go-ahead from Frank McCourt to add salary.  However, the Dodgers probably only have $2-3million to play with, which obviously won't get an Oswalt deal done.  I would say there's no way this happens, but if I'm wrong for the second week in a row, it would kill the Rockies' playoff chances almost as much as this road trip.

Pitching is the priority for Los Angeles, and Ned Colletti believes they will be able to add both a starter and reliever.

Ted Lilly is one optionto join the rotation, while they are also looking at Pirate Paul Maholm.

Before Josh Byrnes was fired, the Dodgers were actively talking with Arizona for Dan Haren.   Now that would have been interesting.

Peter Gammons suggested the Red Sox might target Russell Martin, now that the Rockies have balked at trading Chris Iannetta.

Brad Ausmus has completed his recovery and return from his first career disabled list.  With that added to his career checklist, Ausmus has indicated he will retire after the season.

Transactions:  88704&notebook_id=11888708&vkey=notebook_la&fext=.jsp&c_id=la" style="color: #c8181d !important; text-decoration: none !important; background-color: transparent;"> Optioned C AJ Ellis and RHP John Link, called up LHP Jack Taschner from AAA Albuquerque and RHP Kenley Jansen from AA Chattanooga.  DFAed RHP Justin Miller.

Injuries:  Manny Ramirez was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained calf last Tuesday.  He is expected to be out a full month from now.  Activated Brad Ausmus from the 60-day DL.  Reed Johnson had a minor setback in his recovery.

Los Angeles Dodgers Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Manny Ramirez calf 07/17/2010
Reed Johnson back 07/09/2010

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Ronald Belisario other-excused 07/07/2010


San Diego (58-39, 1st, W3)

Last Week: 4-2.   1-2 @ Braves.  3-0 @ Pirates.  At least Atlanta is good?

Divisional Change:  Lost 1.5 games to 2nd place San Francisco.

This Week:  3 game home series vs. Dodgers.  3 game home series vs. Marlins.  

News:  The Padres are looking for an outfielder that is adept at reaching base against right-handed pitching.  Most certainly the most viable candidate would have been David DeJesus, who has a very good .296 OBP vs RHP.  Perhaps fortunately for Rockies fans, DeJesus tore a ligament in his thumb and is out for the year.

Jose Guillen

#6 / Designated Hitter / Kansas City Royals





May 17, 1976

2010 - Jose Guillen 95 355 45 98 15 2 16 59 26 77 1 0 .276 .338 .465

With DeJesus out as an option, Ken Rosenthal reports the Padres have a passing interest in Jose Guillen.  His .333 vs. RHP is less than that of Aaron Cunningham or Chris Denorfia.  Tim Krasovic of AOL FanHouse suggests Luke Scott of Baltimore as well, but lower in the article is something more interesting:  Josh Byrnes and AJ Hinch were both at PetCo Park soon after their firings and could be hired as special assistants by the Padres.

So with no completely desirable offensive upgrades, the Padres are focusing more on pitching.  In fact, Corey Brock suggests starting pitching and middle infield depth should be the priorities for San Diego.  Ken Rosenthal suggests Jed Hoyer won't make big moves, hoping instead to make a waivers trade for someone like Jake Westbrook after the deadline.

The Padres must have seen Melvin Mora's night in Miami last Tuesday.  They are considering trading for Miguel Tejada, with the rationalization that he could move to left field when David Eckstein returns from the DL.  I want tos see this.

The Padres were initially linked to Boston infielder Jed Lowrie, but Corey Brock indicates that adding Lowrie is a long shot now.  For the life of me, I can't figure out why Brock seems so broken up about it.

Mat Latos is already back in the Padres rotation.  Latos was sharp and experiences no complications from his "oblique injury." No kidding.

And for the non-baseball side of the link, GasLampBall reminds us of the 20-year anniversary of the worst National Anthem in American history.

Transactions:  Signed OF Wily Mo Pena and IF Nick Green to minor league contracts and assigned them to AAA Portland.  Optioned OF Luis Durango.

Injuries:  Placed 2B David Eckstein on the 15-day DL with a right calf strain.  Activated P Mat Latos and OF Will Venable from the 15-day DL.  Mike Adams threw a successful bullpen session this weekend.

San Diego Padres Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
David Eckstein calf 07/21/2010
Kyle Blanks elbow 05/18/2010
Mike Adams oblique 07/12/2010

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Chris Young shoulder 04/07/2010
Matt Antonelli hand 04/30/2010


San Francisco (56-43, 2nd, W4, 3.0 GB, Lead WC)

Last Week: 6-1.  2-1 @ Dodgers.  4-0 @ Diamondbacks.

Divisional Change:  Gained 1.5 games on San Diego while jumping to 2nd place in the division.  Took over first place in the Wild Card Standings, which they lead by 1.5 games.

This Week:  4 game home series vs. Marlins.  3 game home series vs. Dodgers.

You Should Know:  The Giants are on fire, winners of 15 of 18.  They were 1-8 preceding that streak, so have faith Rockies fans!

News:  Jeff Passan recognizes trading for Prince Fielder would be a hefty price, but links the Giants to Fielder anyway.  What a fresh new idea that has never been written elsewhere ever before!

Jeremy Affeldt's trip to the disabled list has enabled Henry Schulman to make a bad pun.

Will Ohman

#13 / Pitcher / Baltimore Orioles





Aug 13, 1977

2010 - Will Ohman 0-0 49 0 0 0 0 1 28.2 28 9 8 2 17 28 2.51 1.57

Jim Salisbury says Giants scouts were at the Rockies game yesterday, presumably to watch Jayson Werth and J.A. Happ.

Brian Sabean denies that the timing of Buster Posey's callup had anything to do with service time.  Naturally, he just wasn't ready.  Posey is currently riding an 18-game hitting streak, and to start this month, had arguably the best 10-game stretch for any rookie in MLB history.

Jon Miller was inducted into the Hall of Fame yesterday.  After his idiotic, unprofessional, ignorant accusation of the Rockies in recent weeks, I'm not going to comment on Miller.

Andrew Baggarly suggests the Giants might target LH bats from Arizona, likely Kelly Johnson or Adam LaRoche.

Eugenio Velez was struck in the head by a line driveoff the bat of Pat Burrell yesterday.  He received a concussion, was rushed to the hospital on a backboard and spent the night but is in good condition.

Grant Brisbee from McCovey Chronicles outlines his fears for the Giants as the trade deadline approaches.  I'm glad I don't fear the deadline with Dan O'Dowd.

Transactions:   Called up RHP Joe Martinez.

Injuries:  Eugenio Velez is day to day with his head injury and is listed as questionable.  Jeremy Affeldt suffered an oblique injury so intense that he couldn't sit down in his rental car.  That loss will really hurt the Giants' bullpen.

San Francisco Giants Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Eugenio Velez head 07/25/2010
Pablo Sandoval other-excused 07/25/2010


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Todd Wellemeyer quadriceps 06/11/2010
Dan Runzler knee 07/09/2010
Jeremy Affeldt oblique 07/21/2010