It took some time, but the Angels got even. Two weeks after the Rangers acquired Cliff Lee, the Angels traded for a highly-coveted pitcher of their own, obtaining Dan Haren from the Diamondbacks, according to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. In exchange for Haren, the Angels gave up Joe Saunders, Patrick Corbin, Rafael Rodriguez, and a player to be named later (Twitter link). The player to be named later is going to be Tyler Skaggs, barring something unexpected, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (via Twitter).
The deal brings an end to months of speculation surrounding Haren, who became the most desirable hurler on the trade block after the Mariners shipped Cliff Lee to the Rangers. Unlike Lee, Haren's contract extends beyond this season. Haren is under contract for 2011 and 2012 at $12.75MM per season with a club option for 2013 of $15.5MM ($3.5MM buyout). The righthander has a 4.60 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 21 starts thus far in 2010.
Saunders, a former first round pick of the Angels, will change teams for the first time in his career. The lefty owns a career-high 4.62 ERA with 4.8 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 on the season. The 29-year-old will earn a shade over $1MM for the rest of this season, after which point he is arbitration-eligible. The D'Backs will control his rights in 2011, but Saunders will hit free agency after 2012.
Skaggs was the Halos' supplemental first-round selection (40th overall) in 2009. The 19-year-old signed for $1MM in early August. According to Baseball America, Skaggs is armed with a fastball in the 88-91 mph range that could reach 91-93 mph when his upper body matures. Skaggs, in their estimation, projects as a solid mid-rotation starter.
Corbin, who turned 21 on Monday, is a lefthander with "much of his value tied to the development of his fastball", according to Baseball America's Prospect Handbook. At 6'3", the super-athletic hurler can dunk a basketball without a running start. Rodriguez, soon to be 26 years old, saw some time with the varsity squad in 2009, turning in a 5.58 ERA with 10 Ks and 9 BBs in 30.2 innings. Baseball America writes that he "features two plus pitches" at his best.
The Phillies, Cardinals, Tigers, Yankees and Dodgers were among the many teams connected to Haren this summer. The Angels did not appear to be a frontrunner for his services, but GM Tony Reagins pulled the deal off nonetheless. His counterpart, D'Backs interim GM Jerry Dipoto, faced the same challenge Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos faced last winter: his first major trade involved his team's best pitcher.
It was first reported by Bill Plunkett and Dan Woike of the Orange County Register that Saunders was involved in a trade.