Record: 8-5 - Home: 5-3 - Road: 3-2
2010: The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim traded Patrick Corbin, Rafael Rodriguez, Joe Saunders and a player to be named later, to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Dan Haren.
There were no Diamondbacks birthdays to be found on the calendar, and the 2011 team didn't play today either. So, rather than rehash some semi-random old games, I thought I'd follow up on my Kubel piece, and commemorate another one of the moves carried out by Arizona, that was largely castigated at the time. Let's see how this one looks, two years to the day after it was carried out
This was another deal that people seemed to hate at the time. 47% of the near 800 votes labeled it as flat-out "terrible", though a sizable chunk (22%) wanted to wait and see who the player to be named later was, before coming to a decision. Let's review some of the reaction in the comments: "The Angels should be arrested. We got robbed," said Jdub220, a comment to which blue bulldog replied, "+ 100000000000" . azshadowwalker opined: "A 29yo ace for a 29yo chump and some maybes from the minors. Sounds like a typical D'backs' move. Dump a sure thing for a someday maybe. Now, the Angels have the owner we should have had and our ace. Nice."
But looking at it with the benefit of hindsight, two years down the road, this deal has turned out very well for us. Compare the stats for the two established starting pitchers over the time in question:
Though few expected it at the time, Haren and Saunders have posted very similar numbers in terms of ERA since the trade Over the first season and a half, it was advantage Angels, much as expected, with Haren having a 3.09 ERA through the end of last year, compared to Saunders' 3.85 over the same period. But Haren has been worse than mediocre this campaign, with a 4.76 ERA which has severely eaten into the lead - and wiped it out entirely, if you take park factors into account and use ERA+ as your measure. Now, Haren's peripherals, like K:BB ratio, clearly remain better. But with almost 400 innings in the books for Saunders, hard to claim small sample size at work.
A couple of other things to point out. Dan has cost the Angels more than twice as much salary as Joe has cost the Diamondbacks, so there's no argument over who has been the better value for money. Arizona has received close to the same results, while paying out a great deal less for them. While the move was widely seen as a salary dump for Arizona while they rebuilt, only one of those two pitchers has seen post-season action since they swapped teams - and it's not the most expensive one.
But perhaps the most important thing in Arizona's favor are the other players included in the deal. Admittedly, Rafael Rodriguez was basically a throw-in. but Patrick Corbin and the PTBNL, who turned out to be Tyler Skaggs, both have the potential to add significant value to the team in future seasons. Skaggs has a 2.68 ERA over 18 starts between Mobile and Reno, despite having only turned 21 less than two weeks ago. Corbin, a year older, has posted a 4.15 ERA in the majors, and a 2.58 ERA over his dozen minor-league starts this season, at the same levels as Skaggs.
At this point, it's hard to argue that this one was definitely a good deal for the D-backs, and will likely be one of the most lasting legacies of Jerry Dipoto's three-month tenure as our temporary GM. It's somewhat ironic that, when Dipoto departed Arizona, it was to become GM of the club to whom he traded Haren.