As the first rumors of the offseason begin to circulate, the Red Sox are right in the center. MLB Trade Rumors has reported that the Red Sox are interested in acquiring Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Dan Haren. The Angels will be looking to shed some salary after taking on quite a bit last offseason and still failing to make the playoffs, checking in at 89-73. Haren has a $15.5 million option for the 2013 season with a $3.5 million buyout, and the Angels will probably looking to trade him in the coming days.
After going 16-10 with a 3.17 ERA in 2011, Haren was looked on as a Cy Young contender entering the 2012 season. However, he was a disappointment as he only went 12-13 with a 4.33 ERA in 30 starts and 176.2 innings. There isn’t an obvious reason why his ERA spiked from his career 3.66 mark, as many of his peripheral stats look similar to his career numbers. His home run rate was the only outlier from his career stats, as he allowed 1.43 per nine innings in 2012, well above his career average of 1.05 per nine.
There’s no reason why Haren shouldn’t rebound, however, as he isn’t far out of his prime. He’ll be 32 years old on Opening Day, and after clearing much of their guaranteed salaries, they can certainly afford him. I would be very receptive to acquiring Haren, but I’m afraid of giving up too much for him. I think the best move for the Red Sox would be to wait a couple of days to see if Haren hits the free agent market. If that were the case, not only would they probably wind up paying him less, but they also wouldn’t have to give up any prospects or immediate contributors.
However, if the Angels are to pick up on Haren’s pricey contract, he’d still be worth picking up. Rumors have suggested the Red Sox may try to trade John Lackey in a swap of bad contracts and Vernon Wells‘ name was brought up. However, the Red Sox have no interest in Wells (fortunately) so that may fall through. It’s possible that they’d have to trade a couple of high-ranking prospects for Haren; perhaps guys like Garin Cecchini and Rubby de la Rosa.
While the emergence of Will Middlebrooks has made Cecchini somewhat expendable, de la Rosa would be tough to part with. Acquired in the mega-trade with the Dodgers, he has great raw stuff. However, it may take a prospect of his caliber to acquire a proven starter like Haren. Since prospects are never a sure thing, I’d absolutely make a trade of Cecchini and de la Rosa for Haren. I hope these talks progress, as Haren would add another proven arm to the rotation and make the 2013 one step closer to contention.