Haren for Marmol? Um…what?

Baseball was having fun with us yesterday. Yesterday afternoon reports broke that the Angels traded RHP Dan Haren to the Cubs for RHP Carlos Marmol. My verbatim reaction on Twitter was “Um…what?”

Haren, coming off a down year in 2012, had posted seven straight 4.0 WAR seasons before that and was owed $15 million for 2013. Marmol is due $10 million next season and is coming off two poor seasons and has a career walk rate of over 6.00 per 9.

Let’s assume that this trade played out as reported and the Cubs backed out at the last minute. The Angels preferred saving $5 million and adding Marmol over Haren to saving $12 million (because Haren is owed a buyout) and not getting Marmol.

Again, um what? What the what?

That is crazy. Again, according to reports, THE CUBS PULLED OUT. The Cubs were getting a number 3 or 4 starter at worst and a number 1 or 2 at best for a $5 million price that included not having to have Carlos Marmol on your team and said no.

So the Angels proposed a stupid trade and the Cubs said no. Baseball was having some fun with us. The Cubs probably figured that the Angels would decline Haren’s option (which they did last night) and could perhaps sign him for less annual value if they waited until Free Agency opens today. They’re gambling that Haren will sign with them for less than $15 million AAV, which is probably around what he’ll sign for.

But that scenario still leaves them paying $10 million to Marmol in 2013 and doesn’t guarantee them Haren.

I can’t see an explanation here that makes any sense other than that the reports we heard we simply wrong. I guess both teams could be stupid, but what are the odds that neither team in this situation was like… “wait a second…?”

Either way, Dan Haren is a Free Agent allowed to sign with any club. The Angels have money to throw at Greinke and the Cubs might get a shot to pay him a little less (maybe).

As teams start negotiating, Haren will be one of the more coveted players after Greinke, Josh Hamilton, Anibal Sanchez, BJ Upton, Michael Bourn, and maybe a couple others. He is entering his age 32 season and is coming off a down season, but if you’re willing to bet on a bounce back, Haren could be one of the best values this offseason.

The Cubs will be in the picture along with the Yankees and Red Sox according to reports. I’m sure other clubs are in the mix, but those are the names that are out there. To me, the Blue Jays, Orioles, Royals, Brewers, and Dodgers should be interested.

As Free Agency gets going, we’ll have full coverage and baseball will hopefully continue to have fun with us.

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