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On Sunday, the Diamondbacks traded away starter Dan Haren to the Angels for Joe Saunders, Rafael Rodriguez, Patrick Corbin, and a Player To Be Named Later. This looks like a terrible trade for the Diamondbacks, and is probably just a straight salary dump. Consider:
  • Saunders is just not very good, and is already getting expensive
  • Rodriguez is not a top prospect, is just a so-so reliever in AAA, and is already 25
  • Corbin has some potential, but was around the Angels' 15th best prospect
Joe Saunders, SP (29) - 6-10, 4.62 ERA, 1.492 WHIP, 4.8K/9, 3.4BB/9, 1.0 HR/9 Saunders has an impressive looking 54-32 Win-Loss record in the majors, but that's mainly a function of his run support and not his pitching. He went 16-7 last year despite a 4.60 ERA, because of a whopping 9.44 runs of support per game. With average run support, he would have been a 12-12 pitcher. His Fielding Independent ERA last year was 5.17, and is 4.70 this year. He doesn't strike out many batters (career 5.1K/9), walks too many (career 2.98 BB/9) and gives up his fair share of homers (1.06 HR/9). Plus, Saunders is making $3.7M this year, and will be arbitration-eligible in 2011, where he could easily make over $5M. Rafael Rodriguez, RP (25) - (AAA): 5-3, 3.04 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 5.4K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 0.9 HR/9 Rodriguez has now spent nine seasons in the Angels' farm system, and is now in his 3rd year in AAA. After starting until 2006, Rodriguez has been exclusively a reliever for the last four years, and has had some better results. But with a career strikeout rate of only 5.6K/9 in AAA, it's hard to see Rodriguez ever being a very successful reliever. He could become the 11th or 12th man in the Diamondbacks pen. He has never been ranked among the Angels' top prospects. Patrick Corbin, SP (20) - (High A) - 5-3, 3.88 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 9.5K/9, 2.7BB/9, 1.0 HR/9 Lefthander Corbin was the Angels second round pick in the 2009 draft, #80 overall, out of Chipola College in Florida. He has been striking out some batters in the minors, but his stuff is not considered dominating. His fastball generally sits around 90 mph with some natural tail and sink, and he also has potentially a above-average breaking ball and change-up. He is considered quite polished and athletic, and is expected to move quickly through the minors. It will be interesting to see if Corbin can continue to maintain high strikeout rates as he moves up through the minors. Overall, Corbin has potential, but is certainly not a sure thing. Player To Be Named Later - Who could the PTBNL be? Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall stated that the player is "likely a starter". But really, the Angels don't have anyone available who would make this a great trade for the Diamondbacks. Some speculation is that the PTBNL is 18 year old lefty Tyler Skaggs, the Angels' first round pick, #40 overall, from the 2009 draft. Like Corbin, Skaggs is young and has been striking batters out. But he also very far from the Majors, and has to be considered a wild card at this time. Since Skaggs did not sign with the Angels until last August, he is not eligible to traded until one year passes. The top prospects in the Angels' system are probably 19 year old OF Mike Trout, 22 year old catcher Hank Conger, and 22 year old RHP Garrett Richards, but there is no indication that any of them are coming to the Diamondbacks. Summary - The Diamondbacks had stated that Haren would be traded only if the team was "blown away" by an "A+" offer. It's hard to see how this trade with the Angels fits that description. They traded their best pitcher for a mediocre starter who's about to be expensive, a 25 year old reliever in AAA, and a 20 year old lefthander who was not considered one of the Angels' Top 10 prospects. The Player-to-be-Named-Later is still unknown, but it's doubtful that anyone could swing this trade in the Diamondbacks' favor.  Even if the prospects do happen to pan out, it's still amazing that the Diamondbacks were not able to get more highly regarded players for Haren.  Just a few years ago, they gave up star prospects like Brett Anderson, Chris Carter, and Carlos Gonzalez for Haren, and the return this time is nowhere near that level. It looks like just a simple salary dump, as Haren was due around $30M through 2012, and the Angels have picked up all of his salary.