What about Dan Haren?

All the talk right now is about Johan Santana. It’s unprecedented that a team would shop a player like that in the offseason, a true ace (and a lefty to boot) still in his prime years.

Santana has a great track record, still has every inch of break on that nasty slider, and has no health concerns, having pitched well over 200 innings in each of the past four seasons. Despite that, he ranks 50th out of 302 pitchers in Baseball Prospectus’ Pitcher Abuse Points scale, meaning his arm has a good chance of staying intact. He’s good friends with former Twin David Ortiz, and that could work in our favor.

On the other hand, Santana has one year left at $13M, then will require a $20-25M annual contract for at least five years. Probably not a bad investment, mind you, but one which could make the payroll kind of tight for a while. So if we have to give up too much to get him, we have to be able to just walk away. The problem is that the Twins could just as well hang on to Santana and take two high draft picks in 2009. With him on their squad and Francisco Liriano returning, Minnesota could have an incredible rotation next season. So we have to offer them more than they could get in that scenario, or else they have no reason to do the deal.

Then there’s Oakland’s Dan Haren. He had a 3.07 ERA last season, and his 56.4 VORP last season is comparable to Santana’s 57.7. He’s younger (27 vs 29), and the kind of big (6′ 5″), power righty the Sox like. I would not dare to argue he’s as talented as Santana, but he’s locked up for the next three years for just over $16M. That’s some real value there. If I’m going to trade away a Jacoby Ellsbury or a Clay Buchholz, I’d want to get that in return. Oakland needs a centerfielder, and they could use bullpen help. Would Billy Beane consider a trade for Haren involving Ellsbury and Manny Delcarmen?

I think Theo and the front office are keenly aware of this. I also think that we have an ace, and we’re happy with Josh Beckett. It’s the *ahem* Yankees who need a true #1. So we will hang around and drive up the price for Santana, and then maybe we can get in on Haren if the price is right. I think he will probably stick with the Twins for 2008, or New York could possibly trade away 2-3 premium young players for him. But if Brian Cashman is allowed to stick to his plan and not trade any of his prospects, there is an off chance that the Twins, desperate for a CF, could cave and we end up with him for say, Jon Lester, Coco Crisp, and one other player. Now that deal I’d do 100 times out of 100.


6 Responses to What about Dan Haren?

  1. Pat says:

    I almost completly agree except the thought of parting with Delcarmen really stings. I feel like good bullpen arms are very precious. I feel like our bullpen needs some improving this offseason, and trading one of our better arms for a good starting pitcher, when we have 6 and more coming, might be a harsh blow. But maybe Haren would be worth it. And how expensive would it be to replace Delcarmen?

  2. redsoxtalk says:

    I like the fit better b/c if Santana comes in, he’s older, has more experience, more Cys, makes more money than Beckett. He’s the de facto #1, while Josh hasn’t done anything deserving being “demoted”. Haren comes in, he’s clearly second fiddle to Beckett. Better for the clubhouse chemistry, IMO.

    Yeah, I kind of cringed as I typed Manny’s name in that post. But unfortunately, MDC and Hideki Okajima are the valuable relievers we could trade right now (Papelbon is obviously untouchable), and I’d rather keep Okie.

    If we land Haren in this type of scenario, I could see us trading Coco Crisp for a good bullpen arm, or possibly Jon Lester for a shutdown guy or maybe two good arms (Chad Cordero and Jon Rauch?).

    UPDATE: Today’s Matt Garza trade seemingly makes it unlikely that the Sox will be able to land Santana. The Twins pretty much filled their outfield opening with Delmon Young, so they will be looking for someone to play shortstop or third base, with Nick Punto playing at the other open spot. That also goes for the Yankees.

  3. JJ Allen says:

    thank you thank you thank you!

    I LOVE this post… this is TOTALLY what needs to happen. Especially now that the Yankees are willing to give up Hughes. Drive up the market, let the Yankees trade the farm (like they always do) for Santana, then quietly exit stage left to the man named Dan Haren.

    Immediately offer the same package to Beane for Haren, minus Lowrie. Lester, Bowden, Crisp, possibly Masterson. (Buchhotz and Ellsbury and Delcarmen are untouchables.) We need to keep Lowrie, as he should be our starting shortstop by the All Star break. (Lugo traded with money for a stud middle reliever.)


  4. JJ Allen says:

    Haren is younger, better suited to Fenway park, had an identical year to Santana, and is much, much, much cheaper.

    (Besides giving up the farm in talent, the Yanks will have to shell out $150 mil for Santana, bringing their grand total this offseason to over $500 mil. Good luck with that!)


  5. JJ Allen says:

    Now the Red Sox are offering Jacoby Ellsbury instead of Lester. I truly HOPE that they are just driving up the price. Ellsbury is a warrior poet. He was born to wear a Red Sox uniform. Let the Yankees have Santana and be stuck with… ONE BILLION DOLLARS! (Okay so its only like $550 million, but it is still very Dr. Evilish.)


    Ps. Dan-ny, Ha-ren! (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap.)

  6. redsoxtalk says:

    Billy Beane has come out and said that the asking price for Haren will be higher than that for Johan Santana (as it should be, given the contract and the age of the player). He would like to get four premium players in return for Haren, so I don’t see this one happening.

    The latest rumors have the Sox talking with Ben Sheets from Milwaukee.

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