The first domino fell tonight as an ace starter, Dan Haren, was dealt to the Diamondbacks for a bevy of prospects. I believe the D'Backs won this one. Let's dig into the details.
Take Haren, a horse of an American League pitcher, and throw him in the easier league. The D'Backs got themselves a bona fide ace to pair with Brandon Webb, and they get him for three years at a reasonable price. He makes a mere $16.25MM over 2008-10; he's worth at least three times that amount. (Arizona also gets 26 year-old reliever Connor Robertson, who hasn't really conquered Triple A yet.)
To balance out the immense value of Haren, the A's get six young players. Four of them represent the #1, 3, 7, and 8th ranked prospects on Baseball America's top ten for the team.
Carlos Gonzalez, 22, is the stud of the group. He can play right or center and has definite star potential. However, he's no lock to become Carlos Beltran or Jeff Francoeur.
Southpaw starter Brett Anderson turns 20 in February. He's more about polish and command than stuff, and is a curious guy to be the main pitching prospect in the Haren deal. He'll try to tackle Double A in 2008.
We've discussed 21 year-old first baseman Chris Carter recently; the D'Backs just acquired him for Carlos Quentin. Who knew it was setting up a Haren deal. He's a slow guy with massive power and plenty of strikeouts. He'll give High A ball a try in '08.
Outfielder Aaron Cunningham turns 22 in April. He's one of those guys who doesn't do anything poorly but isn't great at any one skill either. Baseball America thinks he'll become a solid fourth outfielder.
24 year-old southpaw Dana Eveland came to Arizona along with Doug Davis. He's drawn David Wells comparisons and has proven himself in the high minors. He missed a lot of '07 with a torn tendon in his pitching hand.
Greg Smith is a 24 year-old southpaw starter with a good curveball and mediocre fastball. His strikeout rate was just 5.85 per nine at Triple A in '07.
I'm surprised Billy Beane didn't get more "sure thing" young players for his best trading chip. Gonzalez will probably pan out, but he really needed a high octane near-MLB young gun starter too and he didn't get it. I will give him credit for spreading out his risk over six prospects, though. Josh Byrnes gets an ace without giving up anyone he needed in '08.
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