TRADING THE FARM FOR HAREN

Literally. Or almost, anyway.

While a baseball nation turned its lonely post-winter meetings eyes to the Mitchell Report, Oakland A’s ace Dan Haren apparently morphed overnight into Nolan Ryan.

How else to explain the Arizona Diamondbacks trading so much of their admittedly loaded farm system to Oakland for Haren on Friday afternoon?

The D-backs sent six Minor Leaguers to Oakland for Haren and injured Minor League reliever Connor Robertson. Of that sextet I would deem four of them top-of-the-line prospects and two of them among their very best. Here is a quick rundown of the six:

OF Carlos Gonzalez: Ranked No. 23 on MiLB.com’s recent Top 50 prospects list, the two-time Futures Game participant from Venezuela has been viewed as one of the best outfield prospects in the game, thanks to his power and strong arm. The left-handed hitting 22-year-old combined for 86 RBIs between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Tucson this year.

LHP Brett Anderson: The club’s second-round pick in 2006 out of Oklahoma, he signed late so 2007 marked his pro debut. The 19-year-old son of legendary Oklahoma baseball coach Frank Anderson combined for a 3.07 ERA between two Class A stops, striking out 125 in 120 innings while walking just 21. He throws a slider, curveball and fastball and was a Midwest League All-Star.

1B Chris Carter and OF Aaron Cunningham: Both were acquired during the 2007 season from the Chicago White Sox in separate trades. Carter, 20, is a strapping power hitter taken originally in the 15th round of 2005 out of high school, and hit .291 with 25 homers and 93 RBIs at Class A Kannapolis this season. Cunningham, a speedy center fielder, is a five-tool threat across the board.

LHP Greg Smith: A finesse pitcher with a curve, changeup and fastball that touches 90, was Pioneer League Pitcher of the Year after being drafted in the sixth round of 2005 out of LSU, and has been consistently among his league’s ERA leaders as he’s worked his way up through the system in two-plus seasons.

LHP Dana Eveland: The only member of the six with Major League time under his belt, he missed three months this season to injury but has posted a 2.61 ERA in his Minor League career dating back to signing as a draft-and-follow with Milwaukee in 2003. Most of his Major League time came in 2005. While his big league stints have been in relief, he has primarily been a starter as a pro.

In my opinion, the Athletics may have lost their ace, as most people expected them to, but they have made themselves much deeper and stronger. Only a handful of organizations could have afforded to give up this much for, basically, one Major League ace. Arizona is one of them. — Lisa

 

21 Comments

Pitching is 75% of baseball. A young healthy ace who is under contract at below market rates for a few more years is invaluable. Teams should build their team around players not Haren. The best of the above is ranked 23rd as a prospect. Big deal. The only good player the A’s have traded for in the last 5 years is Haren, who is now gone. Arizona got the trade of the century. The A’s have been torn apart. If the A’s have no farm system that is because of Beane. The emporer has no clothes. Beane is ruining a franchise not rebuilding it.

Just another thing thatshows Billy and Mr. Wolf don’t care about Oakland or its fans.
A lot of fans were on discounted plans due to losing seats when stadium was changed to susit Raiders. We were grandfathered in at a % of regular game prices. They changed this % with no notification to fans. Boy were we suprised when we got bill for 2008 season. Don’t mind the change but sure would have liked to know in advance so we could have put money aside

Beane and Wolf don’t care about Oakland. Wonder what they would do if season ticket holders started to cancel.
Their full attention is toward 2011 in Fremont.

Looks like they don’t care if we win or lose until then

i think people are missing the point that you trade your bait (haren) when there at their highest value, if he had gotten hurt, say goodbye to any trade involving half of arizona’s top 12 prospects, how many a’s fans wish we had traded harden when he was watching the games from the dugout and not his couch, now we’re stuck with injured harden and nothing to show for it, good move by beane, fans will be kissing his *** again once this rebuilding process pays off

As good as Haren was for Oakland,the trade had tobe made. The A’s need to start rebuilding.. Their minor league system is weak,through Billy’s wheeling and bad dealing. I’m a die hard A’s fan and reseruction is the word fo the day.Next on the list should be Street,he’s not your typical hard throwing closer but I’m sure someone willing to take the bait.Finally some moves to prosperity. Go Billy GO!!! Michael from Fairfield

Some people have obviously been spoiled with the competitive teams in Oakland since 2000. This move is not about building the 2011 A’s, rather its about recognizing that they don’t have a good enough team to contend in 2008 and also a depleted farm system to go along with it. Getting six prospects for one player is a no brainer for the situation the A’s are in. Yes Haren is under contract for a few more years, but thats exactly the reason they were able to get so much for him. Have the opponents of this trade even looked at the ages and minor league stats of these players. -Joe from the South Bay: The Future Home of the Oakland Athletics

I would like to have kept Haren around a little longer, but without signing a big free agent we were not going to be competative this year or next with the weak farm system. They got good value for Haren, I do think that it is a strong signal that we are in full rebuild mode. With that being the case I think that you have to go the way of the marlins and move any players possible who are over the age of 30-33 because it is going to be a few years before they are ready to contend again. I really like guys like Kotsay, Embree, and Ellise but they could also bring in some good young prospects, who could be ready for the big leagues in a short time even if you have to wait to the trading deadline.

i have been a fan of the oakland A’s since they moved to Oakland in 1968 from K.C. I have attended all world series games played in Oakland. For many years, including the past several i have shared season tickets with my father Gene Cain, where we would sit in Section 217.

The trade of Danny Harren for a handful of maybe major league players is by far and away the worst trade i can ever remember being made by the A’s. I am certain that Charlie O would not have made that trade. If Danny Harren was not the best pitcher in the AL last year, he was certainly one of the best. It is significant to remember that he was the starting pitcher for the AL in the All-Star Game.

I am a big fan of Mr. Beane and respect his intellect. However, this decision is even worse than the decision to trade for Jason Kendall, which wasted at least $20 million dollars of the teams money, the $33 million that was wasted on Jermain Dye, the $66 million for Eric Chavez who cannot play half of the time for alleged injuries that no one witnessed during a game, the $21 million wasted on Esteban Loiza and the $2 million wasted on Jay Witasick. At a minimum, Billy Beane’s decision making mistakes have cost the A’s over $100 million dollars over the last five years. The Danny Harren trade would at least make a little since if Mr. Beane would have required that the D-Backs also take Eric Chavez and his heavy contract and thereby increase the profit of the A’. It is common knoledge that the A’s make a healthy profit in contrast to the Giants who lose money every year. There is nothing wrong with making a profit. The ownership of the Giants is a partnership of Billionaires who need tax deductions and want their favorite city to have a MLB team.

If Charlie Finley were involved in this trade, it would have been as the owner of the D-Backs and after the trade he would have laughed his butt off at what a fool Mr. Beane has become. Sometimes, people let their press clippings overide their common since and intelligence.

Does Mr. Beane think that trading away the foundation of the team, the teams best starting pitcher, is going to increase season ticket sales? In one year, the A’s have gone from having one of the best starting pitching staffs to having a mediocre staff which leaves the A’s with little chance of not finnishing in last place.

I am sick to my stomach over this trade. My wife has never cheated on me but i feel like i just went home and found my wife in bed with another man.

Soccer *****! Soccer will never be considered a legitimate sport in the United States. When it was announced that Billy Beane was actually serious about getting a professional soccer team for the new stadium and that he traveled to Gernamy to watch the world cup, that should have been a red flag that his bubble is perhaps a little off center. Maybe there is a legitimate reason why many MLB General Managers choose not to take him seriously.

The worst part of this trade is that Mr. Beane is making it clear to veteran A’s fans that he is not committed to making the team more competitive. The logical appearance is that once the new stadium is built, the current ownership will sell everything and turn a profit of a few hundred million. Veteran A’s fans are not stupid; many have more eduction and more knowledge of the Oakland A’s history than Mr. Beane. Action speaks louder than words. Let us wait and see the effect that Mr. Beane’s decision to trade Danney Harren will have on ticket sales for the 2008 season.

StephenAustinCain@Hotmail.com

To say that this trade is the worst in A’s history is to forget the trades that aqcuired Ted Lilly and Jose Guillen. How can that statement be even made yet when only one of the six players acquired has major league experience? You honestly cannot judge the types of trades until we have a chance to follow the performance of the players involved. I have to ask if most Oakland fans truly felt that we had any chance to contend prior to the Haren trade? I can’t say that we would have had any chance of keeping up with the Angels or Mariners this year. But hey, maybe we should have held onto him for another couple of years and finshed second or third and then let him go to free agency and receive a compensation pick in return. That sounds like a much better option. And to those that this move is only to build a team that would sell season tickets in Fremont, don’t be a hypocrite and complain that this will hurt the season ticket sales in Oakland this year. Well maybe you’re right, the average attendance will probably drop from 17,000 to 15,000. Either way they are pitiful numbers for a team with a track record for success. Oh, and one more thing, if you are going to try to sound intelligent in your posts and claim you are such a huge A’s fan, at least spell the name of the trade centerpiece correctly.

On March 15, 1978, Charlie O. Finley traded Vida Blue, 27-year-old left-handed ace of the team and coming off three seasons with adjusted ERAs of 104, 142, and 121, to the Giants for the following package:

24-year-old C Gary Alexander (marginal but successful in majors to date);

);
UNLOCK TABLES;
–25-year-old OF Gary Thomasson (breakout season in ’77 with 117 adjusted OPS, but had been in the majors since age 20);
–26-year-old RP Dave Heaverlo (2 of his 3 big-league seasons had been quite good up to that time, but with low K/9);
–21-year-old SP Alan Wirth (no ML time at that point);
–21-year-old SP John Henry Johnson (no ML time at that point);
–19-year-old SP Phil Huffman (no ML time at that point, but he was the Giants’ 2nd-rounder in 1977);
–28-year-old reserve IF Mario Guerrero (high AVG in several ML seasons, but no other offensive skills);
–and $300,000.

–Heaverlo, Wirth, Johnson, and Guerrero would all be decent for the A’s in ’78 (with Johnson especially showing promise); however, they would pretty much all disappear from the A’s after that. Huffman was traded to the Blue Jays, had an awful rookie season in 1979, and was never really heard from again. The two Garys had sub-.210 starts and were traded to different teams mid-season.

–This year, Billy Beane sent Dan Haren, 27-year-old right-handed ace of the A’s staff and coming off three seasons of adjusted ERAs of 137, 108, and 117, to the Diamondbacks for the prospect package.

–I know nothing about the minor league pedigrees of anyone in the Vida Blue trade, but I know that I’d rather have this D-backs package than the Giants package way back when (Finley wouldn’t like this one; it has no money.) Why?

–1. More position players. Half the package for Blue was very young pitchers. That’s precisely the way to set up one of these trades for disaster. The pitchers were rushed to the majors and had abysmal strikeout rates; even when they had good years, the lack of Ks caught up with them. Of the Blue package, only Johnson and Huffman cleared 1981 in the bigs, and Huffman only for 4.2 innings. Blue kept pitching until 1986, thus outlasting everyone but Johnson in the trade. This is in part because there was so much young pitching, thoroughly unpredictable at all times. In contrast, Gonzalez, Carter, and Cunningham are near-guarantees to be productive major league regulars. The trade doesn’t need Anderson/Eveland/Smith to pan out like the Blue one did; Gonzalez and Carter in the middle of the order will compensate for Haren just fine.

–2. There are no scrubs in this trade. Smith and Eveland aren’t a bad bottom 2 for this trade. Mario Guerrero definitely was.

–3. Billy Beane has the patience to groom these prospects until they’re ready. The Blue package was rushed and did well before falling apart almost all at once; what parts should have gotten patience based on track record (the Garys) should have stuck around. Batting around .200 for a last-place team is not the end of the world, and when they were dumped, not much was left. Finley wasn’t so much rebuilding as refilling the coffers, and so he pressed the panic button very quickly. Beane is too calculated to do that.

–In short, not only would Charlie O. do this sort of trade, he did it, and he screwed it up.

–Vive la Beane.

While we’re at it, it’s NOT significant that Haren started the 2007 All-Star game, unless you’re saying that the A’s trading their All-Star starters works out great. (Mark Mulder started the 2004 All-Star game for Oakland and was traded for Haren, Daric Barton, and Kiko Calero at the end of the season.)

Plus, if that’s so, then Jason Schmidt facing off against Esteban Loiaza in the 2003 All-Star game is significant too.

I am astounded by how many so called A’s fans support this trade. Several have said you have to make a trade when someone is at his peak value. Danny Haren is young and has been one of the few A’s who has been healthy. His upside is unlimited. He has several years to go on his contract. What was the rush?

You win with pitching and defence. If they had gotten several top pitching prospects in return, the trade might be defensible. Arizona however refused to trade their top prospects and Beane caved and did the trade any ways. Why not wait until mid season? Why not build the future A’s around Haren? This is a terrible trade.

The only explanation is that the owners want to bring payroll close to nothing except for Chavez and Kotsay who noone wants. Maybe Wolff is having a tough year as a home builder (they all are facing a very tough time).

I have gone to over 40 games a year for the past 5 years. This year I will go to 20 at the most and may skip the whole season.

A star pitcher for a bunch of Single A players is just ridiculous. (oh, I forgot about the one guy with major league experience…his 10 era fits right in with Dan Meyer and Dallas Braden.)

Go Warriors

Haren probably IS at his peak value. The Santana talks indicate that you’re not likely going to get what you want if you wait around. Teams aren’t trading for X player this year; they’re trading for Y years of X player this year.

Is Haren the incredibly hit-lucky guy of the 2.30 ERA in the first half, or the rather ordinary guy with the 4.15 ERA in the second half (in line with his 2006 and a higher ERA than Lenny DiNardo – yes, that Lenny DiNardo – had all season)? Haren was a BABIP-fluke ace in the first half and the picture of league-average in the second half.

Santana had a similar 2007, but this has been Santana’s WORST year since being a starter. Because of the 2007 first half, this was Haren’s best year by far.

If people think Carlos Gonzalez is the #23 prospect in the game, I’d certainly call that trading one of your top prospects. If you’re believing the writers of this blog that there were four top-of-the-line prospects in there (3 of whom are position players, who tend to be more stable than pitcher prospects in evaluation).

To answer questions specifically: You trade a guy when he’s healthy, not after he’s broken down; his upside may be exactly what we’ve seen and no more, and with that second half I’d say we’ve seen all of his upside (don’t forget that if his numbers improve in the NL, they should because he’s going to the NL); and the “rush” is BECAUSE he has several years to go on his contract, in contrast to how the Santana talks have gone, where the Twins are strapped into a package they don’t want for a pitcher way better than Haren. Beane saw a package he liked; the “rush” was to get an actually useful package.

As for Eveland…if you think a 23-year-old LHP with 64 IP at the big-league level (with a career ERA of 7.55, not 10…his numbers this year were in 5 IP) and fine minor league numbers (in the PCL!) is irredeemable, particularly as the worst player in the deal, then I’m not sure what reasonable package would have satisfied you.

I really dont think anybody in Oakland realizes how good Eveland is. He hasnt had his “chance” to get comfortable in the big leagues yet. Milwaukee and Arizona both would call him up for a few weeks, then send him down. How do you get comfortable in a couple weeks? Espcially when your a 23 year old kid. All of you just watch. When he gets comfortable, he is going to put up a 3.50 ERA or less and strike out more then enough batters. Eveland is the best part of this trade, and not to metion all of his pitches are sick! He tops out at 95 from the left side with movement. His curve ball reminds me of Zito’s and his slider will hit a right handed batter in the back knee after he swings and misses. All of you just wait. You all will be happy we got Eveland.

When I was younger (in the 1950’s) the then Philadelphia A’s and the St Louis Browns were permanant cellar dwellers in the AL. Due to this exhaulted status it seemed that their purpose was to serve as a major league level farm team for the Yankees, The Red Sox and for the Indians, and anyone else that had a need for good talent. With Billy’s latest trades, it appears to me that he is trying to return to this status.

It is amazing how quickly people forget even the most recent trades. When Beane traded Mulder everyone said the same things, how could we trade a possible ace for some young talent(Haren)(I was one of them). Beane has a pretty good track record with his trades, maybe not with his signings. When he traded for Kendal he came over and did a great job finishing out the season, granted not so much after. Same goes with Dye when he came over he finished out with almost a RBI per game average. They got some highly rated players from an organization who has recently shown they can find good young talent.

Keeping Haren wouldn’t have done anything for the A’s because they were not one or two players from beating the Angels, as much as it pains me to say. Keeping Haren for a year or two only puts the A’s at risk for getting nothing when he gets hurt or has a bad year. If it was possible for them to sign him later I would be all for keeping him as your ace, but all A’s fans know that isn’t going to happen.

We need to reload with talent the way it was with the big 3, Tejada, Chavez, and Giambi. These players are probably as close as you could get with the trade of one player. There is a risk of the three pitcher the got will not be as good as Haren, but there is about the same risk that Haren blows an elbow or sholder, just no way to get around the risk factor in all of sports.

I will say that if we are going down this rebuild or reload phase then we need to go all out. Don’t rely on the six you get with the Haren trade, look to move players that will be able to help another team now and might be unable to help the A’s in a few years (from age or injury history) when they are able to make a serious run at the division. I like just about every player on this team and hate to see any of them leave via trade or free agency, but would rather see something come from trading them. It kills me to watch guys walk away for nothing when their contract is up. Tejada and Giambi would have gotten a high price in the last years of their deals but we were in a title chase.

We are not in a title chase now and won’t be with the team as is. Chavez is Beanes golden boy, for now atleast. But if Harden, Kotsay, Calero and maybe even Ellis have good starts to the season they would have trade demand at the deadline for young players and prospects. All of these Guys are great right now and in there prime, but what will they be in 3 years when the prospects are ready to make a real impact on the club? Or what would their value be at a later time even. I think you have to hold judgement until the spring at least when you see these guys on the field.

For a moment, forget the appeal of the hitters in this deal, which was supposed to be what made it happen, mostly because of Carlos Gonzalez’s huge potential.

Look closely at the pitchers and their minor league records.

I happen to like any minor league pitcher who has more than a couple of seasons of experience and offers all of the following: a winning record; an ERA of 3.20 or better; a strikeout ratio at or close to 9 per 9 innings; few walks; a WHIP of 1.20 or lower.

Just about any outstanding major league pitcher had those qualifications on his minor-league resume. They tell you that the guy can compete, throw strikes and strike out batters — exactly what you need to succeed in the bigs.

Haren’s record is an excellent example — and quite typical of the top echelon of MLB starters. Check out his minor league stats:

32-17; 3.15 ERA; 474 IPs; 462 Ks; 86 BBs; 1.13 WHIP

Here’s Dana Eveland’s line:

28-18; 2.61 ERA; 413 IPs; 406 Ks; 127 BBs; 1.17 WHIP

Pretty close. A lower winning percentage and higher walk-rate, but still…

Here’s Greg Smith:

31-14; 3.27 ERA; 352 IPs; 305 Ks; 104 BBs; 1.19 WHIP

Also quite good — and not far behind what Haren posted.

Now Brett Anderson:

11-7; 3.07 ERA; 120 IPs; 125 Ks; 21 BBs; 1.22 WHIP

Not as much experience, so it’s harder to tell, though I like Anderson’s control and high K rate.

Overall, it looks to me like we got three very promising pitchers (along with all those hitters) for Haren.

But here’s the problem: Beane not only traded Haren, he also gave up the best minor pitcher in the deal, Connor Robertson.

Here’s his line:

20-9; 2.81 ERA; 234 IPs; 311 Ks; 93 BBs; 1.25 WHIP

To me, the only knock on Robertson is his high walk rate. Otherwise, he’s as good or better than the guys we got back — with the highest winning percentage in the group, the highest K rate and the second lowest ERA.

If Robertson had not been included, I’d vote this trade a big success for Beane. It still might work out in the A’s favor, but can you imagine of Haren goes on to have the kind of career success Tim Hudson’s had, and Robertson turns out to be the best of the minor-league bunch?

Not so good!

The A’s have traded Hudson and Mulder in the last 5 years you idiot. They were at the top of their careers and now Hudson is no better now than he was. The only reason we had Haren was because we took the Cards for a great young arm just like what beane is doing now with these 6 prospects. See if Haren can hold up like he has, I doubt it thats more innings than anyone in the last two years. His tank was empty at the end of the season, enjoy him. The A’s have and will be a better organization than the diamondbacks swill ever be, respect that.

OK OK so the deal IS done. Haren is gone and well, yes, it is a disappointment. What gets me, and this is just assuming alot, is if any of these kids or two do prosper in the bigs, how soon will Beane turn around and trade them? The A’s look like an organization that is just sitting on its hands…for what? Fans make the team and we demand a competitive team. Why do we have to wait to’11 when we are in Fremont? I thought new ownership was going to put money into this team?! I will continue to root for the green and gold, only with red eyes!!!

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