Brian Cashman has done a great job recently of avoiding the temptation to trade his best prospects for pitchers who were not worth the price. However, in hindsight, one error he did make was not completing a deal for Dan Haren when Arizona traded him. He reportedly would not give up Dellin Betances, Joba Chamberlain, and Hector Noesi for Haren at the July trading deadline last year. Haren is the number two starter the Yankees are looking for, and getting him without having to give up Jesus Montero or Manny Banuelos is a no brainer in my mind. It is obviously easy to say after Joba’s injury but he was not being used as a starter in 2010, and a bullpen arm is not valuable enough to stop you from acquiring a pitcher like Haren. Maybe Cashman will get another chance to redeem himself, but it would cost him a lot more than it reportedly would have before.
The Angels and Yankees do match up pretty nicely as trade partners. The Yankees can help fill the Angels major needs at third base and catcher, where they do not have MLB quality players currently on their roster, and nobody ready in the minors. The top of the Angels rotation is great, but if they lose Haren their rotation would be a little thin. Here are two packages I find to be fair: Jesus Montero, Dellin Betances, Brandon Laird, and a lower level prospect for Haren, or Montero, Eduardo Nunez, Hector Noesi, and David Phelps for Haren. The Angels could want a stronger pitcher back in Betances, or a stronger third basemen back in Nunez. I find the first package to be stronger, but maybe the Angels would think differently. Haren would be exactly the kind of pitcher the Yankees want to put behind CC Sabathia. He had an excellent year last year going 16-10, with a 3.17 ERA, 192 strikeouts, and a 1.02 WHIP. Haren also only walked an astonishing 1.25 batters per 9 innings last year. His arsenal of pitches is outstanding with a four seam fastball, a two seam fastball, splitter, cutter and a spiked curve. Haren does not throw especially hard but still has racked up at least 190 strikeouts in the last 5 years. The downfall is that he is already 31 with a lot of innings under his belt. The Yankees may fear giving him a long term deal. He does have team options in his contract for the next two years. A rotation of Sabathia, Haren, Nova, Hughes, and Burnett certainly looks appealing though.
I personally doubt the Angels would trade Haren unless they acquired C.J. Wilson, who they are rumored to be interested in. Haren is still under team control for the next two years, and the Angels are not a small market team, so they can afford him. However, if they got Wilson, they would feel comfortable with a Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, and Ervin Santana top three, and may want to improve their offense. Montero would be an instant middle of the lineup hitter for them, which they definitely need. I would love for Cashman to be able to make up for an error in judgment and go get Haren. However, the Angels will ask for more than the Diamondbacks did and Cashman wasn’t willing to pay that price, so one would wonder if he would in fact pay more. I think he would be willing to because he can undo his previous mishap with Haren. Also it helps that Haren is a proven, elite pitcher. If the Angels will listen, the Yankees should consider Haren for sure because I think he would be an excellent fit for them.