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Dan Haren Rumors
Johan Santana‘s comeback bid has hit a snag, as the southpaw was scratched from a planned Venezuelan Winter League start with shoulder soreness (via the league’s Spanish language website). Though he will surely find another opportunity to showcase for MLB clubs, shoulder health was already an obvious concern for the two-time Cy Young winner.
Here are some more notes involving starting pitching:
- It has been a challenge to find obvious fits for free agent righty James Shields, but ESPN.com’s Dan Szymborski (Insider link) makes the attempt by focusing on which clubs would stand to receive the greatest boost in projected wins. Three NL West teams (Dodgers, Giants, Padres) and a trio from the AL Central (Tigers, Royals, White Sox) join the Marlins as the clubs that the ZiPS projection system thinks would benefit most by signing Shields.
- The Marlins have not yet received any trade offers for righty Dan Haren, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. Miami is in an interesting spot with regard to the veteran, as Jackson explains.
- Before reaching agreement on a three-year deal that bought out all of his arb-eligible seasons, the Cardinals and righty Lance Lynn considered longer extension scenarios, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. That did not come to fruition because the team was interested in delaying Lynn’s free agency by one or two years whereas the pitcher was only interested in foregoing the open market for a larger, longer pact. Lynn explained that he would be open to revisiting talks later: “It’s not something that we could get situated, but there’s always going to be a process later. If everything goes well and I pitch the way I’m capable of, I’m sure that will be revisited down the line.”
We learned earlier today that the Marlins are showing interest in free agent outfielder Ichiro Suzuki. Talks between the two parties are “progressing,”reports Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. The Marlins do not have an obvious fourth outfielder on the 40-man roster at this time, so Ichiro would back up the trio of Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, and Christian Yelich. Other internal candidates like Martin Prado and Michael Morse have experience in the outfield but seem unlikely to move from their primary positions. Tyler Colvin was also added earlier in the offseason on a minor league contract. A deal is not thought to be close at this time per Cotillo’s source.
- The Marlins are “wrestling” with a decision to trade starting pitcher Dan Haren, tweets Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. According to clubs speaking with Miami, the team prefers to keep him over selling low. Regardless of where Haren plays next year, it’s been previously reported that the Marlins intend to keep most or all of the $10MM the Dodgers will send to cover his contract.
- Miami has three arbitration eligible players who have yet to sign, writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. With a combined $1.72MM discrepancy between the players and team, the club’s payroll is beginning to shape up. The club is said to be aiming at about $65MM and appears to be on pace. Including payments from the Dodgers, the Fish have $44.725MM committed to 11 players with the seven arbitration eligible players coming in at an additional $13.135MM to $14.875MM. Pending any other acquisitions (like Ichiro), the rest of the club is likely to be formed from players paid around the league minimum.
MONDAY: Though Haren is planning on attending Spring Training, he’s still hoping for a trade and has again asked that the Marlins move him to a West Coast club so he can be closer to his wife and children, reports Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. One likely he roadblock standing in the way of the deal, according to Jackson, is that the Marlins want to keep the $10MM the Dodgers sent their way in initial trade, even if they deal Haren to another club.
SUNDAY: Dan Haren will report to Spring Training as a Marlin next month, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. The Marlins acquired Haren from the Dodgers last month in the Dee Gordon / Andrew Heaney deal, but Haren lives in California, and he struggled with being away from his family when he pitched for the Nationals in 2013. Following the trade, it was unclear whether Haren would pitch for the Marlins, be traded back to a team on the West Coast, or retire and forgo his $10MM 2015 salary. Last week, it was reported that Haren had told the Marlins his preference would be to pitch for another team. As of yesterday, however, the Marlins reportedly remained hopeful that Haren would pitch for them. It appears Haren changed his mind, although his apparent willingness to pitch for the Marlins still does not necessarily rule out a possible trade.
The 34-year-old Haren remains reasonably useful, despite his dwindling velocity — he posted a 4.02 ERA, 7.0 K/9 and a stingy 1.7 BB/9 in 186 innings last season, despite his average fastball clocking in at just 87.7 MPH. Assuming he sticks with the Marlins, he’ll join Mat Latos as a veteran presence in a young group of starting pitchers that also includes Henderson Alvarez, Tom Koehler and Jarred Cosart, with Jose Fernandez returning at some point during the season after having Tommy John surgery last year.
The Marlins still hope that Dan Haren will report to spring training, writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. The righty, who was acquired from the Dodgers earlier in the offseason, has told the club he prefers to play for a west coast team. Of the available options, the Padres and Giants are considered the most likely to acquire him. However, the Marlins could use a veteran like Haren, and they’re unlikely to spend $100MM on a free agent alternative like James Shields. When MLBTR readers were polled last week, nearly 11% thought he would pitch for the Marlins next season.
- The offseason has been hectic for Ryan Lavarnway, writes Mark Townsend of Big League Stew. As MLBTR readers know, he’s waiting to hear if a fifth club will acquire him. He started the offseason with the Red Sox and has since bounced to the Dodgers, Cubs, and Orioles. Baltimore designated him for assignment to clear room for Delmon Young. Lavarnway remains in DFA limbo. Townsend speculates that the Diamondbacks could use a catcher, but they’ve had ample opportunity to acquire him several times.
- A’s GM Billy Beane hinted at the club’s plans for the rotation, writes Jeremy F. Koo for SB Nation. Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir have rotation spots on lock down, while “Kendall Graveman, Jesse Hahn, and Drew Pomeranz are on the inside track.” The A’s also have Jesse Chavez, Sean Nolin, and Chris Bassitt in addition to injured hurlers Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin. As Koo notes, it’s surprising to see Graveman as part of the inside track crowd. Acquired as part of the Josh Donaldson trade, Graveman has two seasons of professional experience including four and two-thirds innings in the majors.
MLBTR offers its best wishes to the family and friends of former Negro League player Herb Simpson, who passed away Wednesday at age 94. As MLB.com’s Greg Johns writes, Simpson was the last known surviving member of the Seattle Steelheads and also saw action with the Birmingham Black Barons and Chicago American Giants.
As we honor an early pioneer of African-American baseball in the Pacific Northwest, here are some notes from the league’s western divisions:
- Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that asking prices in trade talks for another backstop are simply too high at present. “We’ve not made a whole lot of headway in that area yet,” said Stewart. “Without really giving up something that’s going to cost us a player that we don’t want to give away, we don’t have a whole lot of motion yet.” Arizona has had talks with the Blue Jays regarding Dioner Navarro and with the Cubs regarding Welington Castillo, says Piecoro.
- The Rockies have “mild” interest in trading for Dan Haren, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. However, as he notes, the thin air and homer-friendly nature of Coors Field make Colorado a fairly poor fit for Haren. Morosi also tweets that while the Giants did have interest earlier in the offseason (prior to re-signing Jake Peavy), there’s no active dialogue between Miami and San Francisco.
- Rangers top prospect Jurickson Profar, who missed the entire 2014 season after tearing the same muscle in his right shoulder twice, has been cleared to begin a throwing program on Jan. 19, tweets Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest. Still just 21 years old, it was only two years ago that Profar was the consensus No. 1 overall prospect in baseball (per Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and MLB.com). A healthy Profar would give the Rangers somewhat of a surplus of middle infielders, as Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor are both in the fold as well.
Randy Johnson, who was elected to the Hall of Fame with more than 97 percent of the vote, will join the Diamondbacks‘ front office as a special assistant to GM Dave Stewart, the team announced yesterday. As MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert writes, Johnson will participate in community initiatives, weigh in on baseball operations decisions and, most excitingly to Johnson himself, work with minor league pitchers. “I don’t see myself being a coach,” Johnson said, “but I do see myself going around to the Minor Leagues and I think that’s where I can best help.” Johnson won’t specialize in discussing pitching mechanics with the D-Backs’ prospects, but rather on the mental side of the game, such as the mindset and work ethic needed to be successful. Meanwhile, D-Backs CEO Derrick Hall indicated that Johnson’s No. 51 will be retired this season or next — an honor which Johnson wanted to delay until he received the call to Cooperstown.
Elsewhere in the NL West…
- Dan Haren‘s preference to end up back on the West Coast is common knowledge at this point, and Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Giants checked in with the Marlins on Haren earlier this offseason (Twitter links). However, Morosi adds that those talks came before the Giants re-signed Jake Peavy. It doesn’t seem that the Giants are pursuing rotation help any longer based on comments made by assistant GM Bobby Evans on Tuesday in the wake of Tim Hudson‘s ankle surgery, though Morosi notes that Haren would likely welcome the opportunity to pitch in San Francisco — a West Coast club with a pitcher-friendly park.
- It’s looking more and more like the Padres will hang onto Will Venable rather than trade him, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets. As Lin notes, Venable is a left-handed bat on a right-leaning roster and can back up all three outfield spots. He’s also earning a relatively modest $4.25MM next season, so the price isn’t prohibitive. I’ve previously speculated that the Marlins could have interest, as they’re looking for left-handed-hitting backup outfielders, but Lin’s report suggests there’s not much of a match there.
- Lin also spoke with manager Bud Black today regarding Carlos Quentin, who appears to be the odd man out in the outfield mix (Twitter link). Black simply told Lin that the Padres were going to have to see how Quentin’s knees are in Spring Training before proceeding, indicating that even if he is ultimately moved, it may not happen until March.
- In addition to Black, Lin spoke to GM A.J. Preller today, who cautioned that Padres fans shouldn’t necessarily expect any more large splashes. Any remaining moves from San Diego would be “more likely something around the edges, to continue to add to the depth of what we’re building,” according to Preller.
- MLB.com’s Corey Brock tweets that we shouldn’t be surprised if the Padres add a veteran catcher who can back up Derek Norris between now and Spring Training. The Friars do have Tim Federowicz on their roster after acquiring him in the Matt Kemp trade, but they may prefer a backup with more big league experience.
JAN. 5: Frisaro now reports that there is a market for Haren, and the Marlins will do their best to work out a deal that benefits both parties. He adds that his ultimate expectation is that Haren will indeed be traded.
Meanwhile, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, who reported earlier this morning that Haren had begun a throwing program to get ready for the 2015 season, hears that the Marlins are hopeful of having a resolution soon on Haren’s 2015 plans (Twitter link).
JAN. 3: Dan Haren has told the Marlins he would still like to pitch for a West Coast team, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports. It appears, then, that Haren is unlikely to pitch for the Marlins in 2015, although Frisaro notes that it’s still unclear whether Haren will retire.
The Dodgers traded Haren to Miami last month in the Dee Gordon / Andrew Heaney deal and agreed to pay his salary for the coming season, despite Haren’s preference to play in Southern California (where his family lives) and indications that he would retire if traded elsewhere. The Angels have said they’re not interested in dealing for Haren, and the Dodgers already traded him away, limiting his options.
Frisaro writes that Haren’s preference is to pitch “out West” and to have Spring Training in Arizona, noting that the only West division team that doesn’t train in Arizona is the Astros. It’s not clear, however, whether Haren has widened his interest beyond the three Southern California teams.
Reports over the weekend indicated that Dan Haren has informed the Marlins of his desire to pitch for another club, and Jon Morosi of FOX Sports looks at the situation a bit further. Morosi reports that Haren has begun a throwing program and has yet to inform the Marlins that he plans to retire if he’s not traded. While his West Coast preference is very well known, Haren will consider other clubs on a case-by-case basis if the Marlins are able to facilitate a trade elsewhere, he adds. As Morosi notes, the Marlins have little incentive to desperately shop Haren; the Dodgers included $10MM in the trade that Miami will be able to keep even in the event that Haren retires. In a poll conducted by MLBTR’s Brad Johnson, the majority of respondents expect Haren to retire.
Here’s more from the NL East…
- Little has changed on the Mets‘ shortstop front, writes ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin, who hears from team insiders that Wilmer Flores is still likely to have the Opening Day job. The Mets’ remaining offseason additions could simply come in the form of minor league deals for a few more lefty relievers as the club looks to find a complement to southpaw Josh Edgin. The last significant move could be to move a starter, with Dillon Gee being the most likely name to go. Rubin also notes that the Mets believe continued offseason agility training will help make Flores a passable defender at short. Flores hit .322/.365/.556 with six homers in 25 games (90 at-bats) in the Venezuelan Winter League this offseason.
- The latest from Fangraphs’ Mike Petriello is an attempt to find a new home for Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard. Petriello points to previous comments made by GM Ruben Amaro Jr. on 97.5 The Fanatic in Phildelphia in which Amaro admits to having told Howard “it would probably bode better for the organization not with him but without him.” As Petriello notes, Howard has always been a better hitter to the opposite field — never more than in 2014. He concludes that three AL clubs whose parks favor power to left more than to right could conceivably fit him in as a DH: the Orioles, Blue Jays and Rays. I’d personally wager that the Phillies may have to eat as much as $50MM of the remaining $60MM on Howard’s deal to move him.
- The Marlins like James Shields, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, but they (unsurprisingly) aren’t comfortable paying him in the five-year, $110MM range. Last night, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that Shields is fielding offers in that neighborhood.
Earlier today we learned Marlins starter Dan Haren has requested a trade to a West coast club. Haren, who was acquired from the Dodgers earlier in the offseason, reportedly prefers to pitch “out West” with a team that trains in Arizona. That leaves nine of the ten West clubs as a possible destination (sorry Astros). Let’s talk through the options.
- Marlins: It’s not certain Haren would retire rather than pitch for the Marlins, so there is still a chance the two parties can reach an understanding. If Haren is hoping to sign another free agent contract next offseason, Marlins Stadium and the NL East is a fantastic home. One thing I assume about the trade – knowing Haren may decline to play for them, the Marlins were probably more interested in acquiring the $10MM sent to cover his contract than Haren himself. As such, they may be unwilling to include the full amount in a deal sending him elsewhere.
- Dodgers: This is an odd option. Actually that might be understating it. The Dodgers just finished trading Haren away, but they’re still sending Miami $10MM to cover his contract. Given that the righty prefers a southern California club, perhaps Los Angeles would consider a reunion. Then again, perhaps not. The Dodgers have plenty of rotation depth for the fifth spot in the rotation, so it’s unlikely they’ll check in unless somebody is injured.
- Angels: GM Jerry Dipoto told reporters in December that the club would not trade for Haren. Dipoto isn’t usually considered the type of GM who would blatantly obfuscate, so it’s likely that the club is legitimately uninterested. Of course, plans can change, and it’s been nearly a month since that report.
- Padres: The final SoCal club has reportedly looked into acquiring additional pitching like Hiroki Kuroda. As a fly ball pitcher, Haren seemingly fits the ballpark. He should come at an affordable financial and prospect cost too. GM A.J. Preller has been everywhere this offseason, so you have to assume he’ll at least check in on Haren. While the Friars have plenty of rotation depth, there’s nothing wrong with pushing Odrisamer Despaigne or Robbie Erlin further down the depth chart. There’s always a place for more starting pitchers.
- Athletics: The remaining western clubs are outside of Haren’s preferred location, so there’s no guarantee he’d treat them any differently than Miami. The A’s seemingly fit given their past history together, excellent outfield defense, and spacious ballpark. The club could use more pitching since they’ll be a little thin while they wait for Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin to make mid-season returns from Tommy John surgery. And Haren might fit in the budget depending on how much cash the Marlins cover.
- Giants: Like the A’s, the Giants have the right type of ballpark for Haren. AT&T Field is actually the most pitcher friendly park. The club is pursuing pitching depth and could be in on James Shields. Haren might represent a nice alternative who can serve as an affordable one year bridge to next offseason’s crowd of fantastic free agent hurlers.
- Mariners: Seattle is currently looking at a competition between J.A. Happ, Taijuan Walker, and Roenis Elias for the fourth and fifth starter’s job. Adding a pitcher like Haren to the mix makes sense, but it’s hardly necessary. Of all the non-California clubs who could acquire Haren, Seattle strikes me as the most likely. And that still strikes me as a long shot.
- Rangers, Rockies, Others: Not to influence the poll, but I just can’t see another destination as a fit. The Rangers could use another starter, but Haren is a poor fit for the park. The club also appears more focused on 2016 at the moment. If Haren won’t play for Miami, I doubt he’d agree to pitch in hitter happy Denver. All other potential fits are quite distant from his California home.
So, the question is two-fold: Will Haren play in 2015 and where will it be?
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo tells Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post that he was comfortable trading Steven Souza to the Rays because top outfield prospect Michael A. Taylor is only about a half a year behind Souza in terms of development. Taylor’s development has taken on greater importance now that Souza is gone, Janes notes, as he’s now the most big-league ready of their outfield prospects. Director of player development Mark Scialabba tells Janes that the team was happy with Taylor’s progress in 2014 and believes he can help in the Majors in 2015, but he also acknowledged that Taylor’s plate discipline is a work in progress. Taylor’s development is of particular importance, in my mind, due to his ability to handle center field; Denard Span is a free agent in one year’s time, and the Nats may not be able to retain him, Ian Desmond, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister and Tyler Clippard — each of whom is in their final year of team control.
More from the NL East…
- Though the Marlins have an exceptional young outfield in Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton, the club is still on the lookout for a fourth outfielder, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Ideally, Morosi notes, they’d acquire someone who can handle center field to back up Ozuna. The free agent market has little to offer in terms of center fielders who saw significant time in the Majors last year, though the trade market has some options. The Padres have a number of outfielders that can play center field (Will Venable, Abraham Almonte and Cameron Maybin), Oakland’s Craig Gentry is an excellent defender, and the Cardinals’ Peter Bourjos is elite with the glove as well. One buy-low option on the free agent market could be Franklin Gutierrez, though his health issues are significant and he didn’t take the field in 2014. All of those names are my own speculation.
- Dan Haren is said to be holding out hope that the Marlins will trade him to either the Angels or the Padres, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The veteran Haren, acquired in the trade that also sent Dee Gordon to Miami, has a very strong, well-known desire to be on the West coast near his wife and children in Los Angeles.
- Meeting the Rockies’ asking price for Troy Tulowitzki doesn’t make sense for the Mets given Tulo’s health concerns, writes Newsday’s David Lennon. The Rox are set on multiple pitching prospects in return and haven’t shown any indication that they’re willing to eat a significant amount of cash. Lennon assumes the Rockies would need to eat a similar a percentage of the contract as the Dodgers did when moving Matt Kemp, which would come out to roughly $36MM.
- MLB.com’s Mark Bowman feels that if the Braves do still move Evan Gattis in a trade, they’ll attempt to land a starting pitcher or outfielder that can step into the Majors in short order and has a good deal of team control remaining. Of course, Gattis himself fits the description of an outfield option with team control remaining, though it’s certainly possible the Braves would prefer a better defender with a different skill set. As Bowman notes, the Braves have made a conscious effort to infuse their system with more speed- and contact-oriented players. Bowman also touches on the Braves’ bullpen and the money they’ve saved this offseason in his latest Braves Inbox.