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?