Dan Haren AP

UPDATE: The Dan Haren-for-Carlos Marmol swap is not happening


UPDATE: Oh boy. Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com was told by a source that the deal is off.

Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com hears that Carlos Marmol would have signed off on the trade, but the Cubs pulled the deal off the table for some reason. It could be because of the money involved or the medicals or maybe because Theo Epstein felt bad for pulling a fast one on Dipoto. In any case, the Angels are now talking to other teams and must decide by midnight ET whether to exercise Haren’s $15.5 million option for 2013. They could hypothetically pick up the option and trade him at a later date.

9:43 PM: As Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com notes, the hold-up isn’t because the Angels got cold feet, but rather because the Cubs are waiting on Carlos Marmol to waive his no-trade clause. If he agrees to join the Angels, Dan Haren will go to the Cubs.

This is a strange development, as Marmol’s comments to Dominican newspaper El Caribe earlier tonight (via Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com) made it sound like he was on board and the trade was a foregone conclusion. Apparently not.

9:30 PM: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com is also hearing that the deal isn’t done and that the Angels continue to talk to other teams. The clock is ticking, though.

8:53 PM: Hold your horses, everybody. According to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com, reports of a deal are premature and the Angels are still in active discussions with more than one team.

For what it’s worth, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times writes that one potential hold-up of the trade is that the Angels and Cubs are waiting for approval from MLB because of the money being exchanged. In other words, don’t assume this deal is dead. Still, this could be a long night.

8:15 PM: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com writes that the Angels could contribute all or part of Haren’s $3.5 million buyout. Wait, shouldn’t the Cubs be covering part of Marmol’s salary here? Epstein may have pulled a heck of a Jedi mind trick on Jerry Dipoto.

7:59 PM: Dan Haren said earlier this week that he expected to be traded before tonight’s midnight deadline on his $15.5 million club option for 2013. Not only is he being traded, but there’s an interesting twist involved.

Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times and Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago are reporting that the Angels have traded Haren to the Cubs for Carlos Marmol. Yancen Pujols was first to report that Marmol was involved in a trade.

No word yet on how much money will exchange hands or if other players will be involved. Marmol is set to make $9.8 million next season. Meanwhile, the Angels were prepared to buy out Haren’s option for $3.5 million if they couldn’t find a trade partner.

Getting Haren is a major coup for Theo Epstein and company, even coming off a down season where he posted a 4.33 ERA over 30 starts while showing diminished velocity and dealing with a back issue. If he can rebound, the Cubs could flip him for a pretty nice haul at the trade deadline next year.

As for Marmol, the erratic right-hander is coming off a season where he posted a 3.42 ERA, 20 saves and a 72/45 K/BB ratio over 55 1/3 innings. Most expected the Angels to be in the market for a closer this offseason, but that may no longer be the case with Marmol and Ernesto Frieri in-house. That would take away one potential destination for Rafael Soriano.

John Lackey to start Game 1 of the NLDS for the Cardinals

John Lackey
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St. Louis has decided on John Lackey as the Game 1 starter in the NLDS versus the winner of tonight’s Wild Card game, manager Mike Matheny announced.

Lackey led the Cardinals in starts (33) and innings (218) this season while posting a 2.77 ERA and 175/53 K/BB ratio with 21 homers allowed.

Carlos Martinez being out for the playoffs with a shoulder injury took a big rotation option away from Matheny, but Lackey has a 3.10 ERA in 43 starts since joining the Cardinals in mid-2014 and also has a 3.08 ERA in 117 career postseason innings.

He’ll face either the Cubs or the Pirates, in St. Louis. No word yet on the order, but Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn, and Jaime Garcia figure to follow Lackey in the rotation.

The Yankees were booed last night. Did they deserve it?

Masahiro Tanaka

The boos came raining down from the Yankee Stadium faithful last night. They started when Brett Gardner grounded out in the eighth inning. More came later. A lot of it was, no doubt, based on Gardner’s disappointing performance late in the season. A lot of it was because, around that time, it seemed like the Yankees had zero shot whatsoever to mount a comeback. Which, in fact, they didn’t. A lot of it was pent-up frustration, I assume, from a late season skid which saw the Yankees lose their lead in the AL East and wind up in the Wild Card Game in the first place.

Anyone who buys a ticket has a right to boo. Especially when they buy a ticket as expensive as Yankees tickets are. It’s obviously understandable to be disappointed when your team loses. Especially when your team is eliminated like the Yankees were. And last night’s game was particularly deflating, with that 3-0 Astros lead feeling more like 10-0 given how things were going.

But isn’t booing something more than a mere manifestation of disappointment? Isn’t a step beyond? Booing isn’t saying “I’m sad.” It’s saying “you suck!” It’s not saying “I’m disappointed,” it’s saying “you should be ashamed of yourselves!” And with all respect to Yankees fans, the 2015 Yankees have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

This was a club expected to miss the playoffs, full stop. Maybe some people allowed for an if-everything-breaks-right flight of fancy, but hardly anyone expected them to play meaningful games late in the year, let alone a playoff game. They were too old. Too injured. There weren’t enough young reinforcements to fill the gaps. Some even went so far as to claim that they were about to spend years in the wilderness.

But then A-Rod broke out of the gate strong. And Michael Pineda had a really nice first couple of months. And Mark Teixeira put up numbers that wouldn’t have been out of place for him several years ago. The bullpen did what it was supposed to do and more, Masahiro Tanaka held together somehow and, eventually, a couple of young players like Greg Bird and Luis Severino came in to reinforce things. The not-going-anywhere Yankees were contenders. And they led the division for a good while. Of course they stumbled late. And of course they lost last night, but by just about any reasonable measure, this was a good team — better than expected — and, unlike a lot of Yankees teams in the past, was pretty darn enjoyable to watch.

Then the boos. I just can’t see how this Yankees team deserved that.

I realize a lot of people in the media have duped a lot of people into thinking that a team with a high payroll is supposed to be dominant. And I realize George Steinbrenner duped a whole lot of people into thinking that anything less than a World Series championship for the New York Yankees is failure. But that’s rhetoric and branding, not reason. In the real world where baseball players play baseball games World Series titles are rare, even for the Yankees. At the end of the season all but one of 30 teams are either at home for the playoffs or went home after suffering a gut-wrenching playoff loss. The Yankees are the most dominant franchise in the history of American professional sports yet they still have finished their year without a title over 75% of the time.

With that as a given, fans are left to judge their team’s performance based on its talent, its health, its heart, its entertainment value and the strength of the opposition which ultimately vanquished it. The Yankees weren’t nearly as talented as many, yet made the playoffs anyway. They were a walking hospital ward, let limped on. They never quit and never got pulled down into the sort of muck a lot of New York teams find themselves in when things start to go sideways. And, ultimately, they were simply beat by a better team. By any reasonable measure the 2015 Yankees were a good story, a successful enterprise, a resilient bunch and no small amount of fun.

It’s OK to be sad that it ended as it did. But that doesn’t deserve to be booed. Not by a long shot.