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


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.

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.