In a deal that comes as a major shock to the system, the Angels have acquired Dan Haren from the Diamondbacks. The Angels were never mentioned during the discussion of potential destinations for Haren, so this deal flew under the radar until it’s completion and subsequent announcement.
Even though his ERA isn’t pretty this year, Haren is still a pitcher on the top of his game. Haren currently ranks 4th in the Majors in strikeouts, and was tied for the NL lead before he was traded. Guys of Haren’s caliber aren’t usually available for acquisition, and the Angels pounced when the opportunity presented itself to them.
While there are always worries about players moving from the NL to the AL, Haren should be an exception. Haren has had past success in the AL, contributing 13 wins to the Athletics from 2005-2007. Plus, the AL West isn’t exactly an offensive division, so Haren should have no problems sustaining his production going forward.
The Angels are currently 6 games back of the Rangers in the AL West, and 8.5 games behind the Rays for the AL wild card, making them unlikely to make the playoffs. However, they still have a small chance of rallying in the final two months and sneaking their way into the postseason. If they can, pairing Haren with Jered Weaver would make the Halos a scary team to face in October.
But, because Haren’s contract runs through 2012, with a club option for 2013, this move isn’t an all-or-nothing push for the 2010 postseason. With Kendry Morales returning next year, and the monetary woes possibly continuing in Texas, the Angels will enter 2011 as a favorite to reach the postseason. Weaver, Ervin Santana and Joel Pineiro will all still be under contract for next season, leaving the Angels with one of the top rotations in all of baseball.
While we still await word on who the PTBNL will be, it appears the Angels didn’t mortgage the future to win now. Instead, they figured out a way to give themselves a chance to make a run in 2010 while vastly improving their odds in 2011. Let the celebrating begin.