The Angels have won three straight AL West titles, and despite being six games behind the Rangers, aren't giving up on the idea of making it four in a row.
Striking out of the blue, Angels GM
Based on their underlying skills, Haren should allow about 20-23 fewer runs down the stretch than Saunders would have, while also taking a handful of innings away from the bullpen. At the standard estimate of 10 runs gained or saved equalling one win, he makes the Angels two wins better. Essentially, this trade matches what the Rangers did in adding
For the Diamondbacks, the news is grim. Saunders is a back-rotation starter with no upside and enough service time that he's in line to make about $6 million in 2011. Haren makes $12.75 million next year, so they're not even saving much money in the deal in the short term.
There's a player to be named coming back to the Diamondbacks as well, though it will not be Futures Game stud outfielder
Whether Skaggs or another player, though, the fourth man in the deal won't change the evaluation of it. The Diamondbacks traded Haren and got back no top-50 prospects, maybe no top-100 prospects. If the goal was to save money, they failed as well; the difference between what they'll pay Saunders and what they would have paid Haren is likely to be washed away by the damage done by what has now been made clear: the Diamondbacks are focused on the long term, and unlikely to be contenders in the NL West for a few years. If there's a model for how not to handle the trade of a high-priced, high-value player, this is it.