UPDATE: Haren for Marmol Called Off. Haren a Free Agent

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

The reported trade sending starting pitcher Dan Haren from the Anaheim Angels to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for closer Carlos Marmol has been called off. This leaves the question: Could Chris Perez be exchanged for Haren instead (and SHOULD he be)?

It is impossible to run much evaluation on the deal without knowing if any money is exchanging hands or if other players are involved, but my initial reaction is to wonder if the Indians were in talks with the Angels about a similar deal to acquire Dan Haren in exchange for Chris Perez.

Would the Angels have gone for such a swap?

Well, let's compare Carlos Marmol and Perez. Both were at their best in 2010, but that will be three seasons ago by Opening Day, and I think a look at their numbers from 2011 and 2012 more accurately reflects who each of them is at this point. So, here are their combined numbers from the last two years:

Age IP G GF W L S H R ER BB K ERA ERA+ bWAR fWAR
Carlos Marmol 28-29 129.1 136 108 5 9 54 94 57 54 93 171 3.76 104 0.8 0.9
Chris Perez 25-26 117.1 125 110 4 11 75 95 49 45 42 98 3.45 114 1.4 0.8

Neither of them has been lights out over the last couple years, but it seems clear to me Perez has been the better pitcher. Marmol collects a lot of strikeouts, but he also walks a ton of guys. Perez is three years younger and has also been working in the more difficult American League. In addition to those numbers, it's worth pointing out that Marmol is signed for 2013 at $9.8 million, and will then be a free agent. Perez is eligible for arbitration and will likely end up getting $7.5 million or so for 2013.

Better production for less money, I have to think the Angels would prefer to have been dealing for Perez, if that was an option.

Meanwhile, what about Dan Haren? Well, here are his numbers since being traded to the Angels in July of 2010:

Year Age Tm W L ERA G CG SHO IP H R ER ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9
2010 29 LAA 5 4 2.87 14 1 0 94.0 84 31 30 139 1.160 8.0 0.8 2.4 7.2
2011 30 LAA 16 10 3.17 35 4 3 238.1 211 91 84 119 1.024 8.0 0.8 1.2 7.3
2012 31 LAA 12 13 4.33 30 1 1 176.2 190 95 85 87 1.291 9.7 1.4 1.9 7.2
LAA (3 yrs) 33 27 3.52 79 6 4 509.0 485 217 199 108 1.141 8.6 1.0 1.7 7.2

Obviously his production fell off quite a bit in 2012, after seven strong seasons in a row. Back problems were an issue for him this season. Haren had an option that will clearly be picked up now, he'll make $15.5M in 2013 and then be a free agent.

On Monday I'll be posting my list of the top free agent pitchers (with a position player list to follow on Tuesday), a list Haren would have been pretty high on had the Angels been unable to work out a deal and declined his option. I'm pretty high on Haren as a rebound candidate. I don't think he'll get back to his peak form, when he was a top ten pitcher, but I think he could be a very solid #2, which would of course make him the clear ace here in Cleveland.

$Early word is the Angels are going to cover the $3.5 million it would have taken to buy out Haren's option, leaving the Cubs on the hook for $12 million in 2013. Even #12 million is steep for a team like the Indians, but I also don't want to see the Indians pay Perez $7.5 million next year. $12 million should buy you a WAR of ~2.5 on the open market, and I think Haren will bounce back to better than that next year, I'd guess something in the range of 3 to 3.5. In short, I think Haren will be well worth his salary in 2013. The remaining question for the Indians would have been (and continues to be) should the Indians be signing players (and spending money) with 2013 in mind, or not?

The Indians will hopefully still look to trade Perez, and hunting for prospects that can help the team in 2014 and beyond might be the wisest move. Haren will be 32 years old next season, so he could still have three or four strong seasons, and perhaps the Indians would have been able to sign him to that sort of extension, but, give or take injuries, he's likely to slowly decline each year over the rest of his career.

Would you have been happy with a Perez for Haren swap? If so, what sort of extension would you have liked to see the Indians offer him? If not, is it because you don't think Haren will be worth $12 million in 2013, would prefer the Tribe trade Perez for prospects, or don't want Perez moved at all?

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