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