Angels acquire Dan Haren from the Diamondbacks for Joe Saunders and three prospects

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According to the Diamondbacks’ official Twitter page the team has traded Dan Haren to the Angels for Joe Saunders, Patrick Corbin, Rafael Rodriguez, and a player to be named later.
While the Yankees, Twins, Tigers, and Cardinals were all repeatedly linked to Haren over the past couple weeks, the Angels kind of came out of nowhere to snag the ace right-hander.
Most reports said the Diamondbacks were focused on getting back some MLB-ready pitching help in a Haren deal and certainly Saunders fits that bill, but as a 29-year-old who has posted an ERA under 4.40 just once in his career he’s hardly a long-term building block.
He’s little more than a soon-to-be 30-year-old mid-rotation starter and neither Corbin nor Rodriguez were ranked among the Angels’ top 10 prospects by Baseball America heading into the season, so the identity of the player to be named later is key.
Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the PTBL “is a top prospect” but is “not going to be Mike Trout,” who ranks as one of the elite prospects in all of baseball. No other Angels were included in Baseball America‘s midseason update of the top 25 prospects in baseball, so while the PTBNL may prove to be someone very good it won’t be an elite prospect. And because of that, I really like this deal for the Angels.
Saunders is generally overrated because his career win-loss record is much better than his ERA, secondary numbers, or raw stuff, and to get Haren by packaging him with three non-elite prospects is a no-brainer for the Angels. Haren is signed for reasonable money through 2013 and is a legitimate top-of-the-rotation ace who ranks among the top 12-15 starters in baseball.
I’m shocked that the Diamondbacks were willing to sell so low on Haren and just as surprised that no other teams stepped up to beat the Angels’ underwhelming offer.

Aledmys Diaz is trying to improve his defense with strobe glasses

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.

Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.

The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.

Eduardo Rodriguez could rejoin the Red Sox rotation in July

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Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.

The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.

He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.