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Earlier this week, reports had the Angels considering moving one or both of Ervin Santana and Dan Haren before the end of the week, ahead of their respective deadlines for picking up the 2013 option the Angels hold on each. I thought each, primarily Haren, might make an interesting target for the Cubs. The gist:

Dan Haren and Ervin Santana are set to be free agents in five days. Although each is controlled under a team option for 2013, those options – $15.5 million for Haren, $13 million for Santana – are expected to be declined given the down years for Santana (73 ERA+) and Haren (87 ERA+). Haren’s option includes a hefty $3.5 million buyout, so it’s possible that the Angels will decide he’s worth that $12 million difference and keep him ….

Before making that decision, however, the Angels are going to shop each pitcher, reports Jon Heyman ….

I think the Cubs should seriously consider feeling the Angels out on both pitchers.

Why would the Cubs give up prospects to get a guy they can likely sign as a free agent in a few weeks? Why would the Cubs give up prospects to get a guy on a really expensive one-year option?

Because those are exactly the kinds of deals the Cubs would love to sign pitchers to for 2013, but which free agents tend to hate – super short-term, high dollar amounts for one year. The Cubs are in a perfect position to absorb the cost associated with what amounts to a really expensive one-year deal for Haren and/or Santana – they have the money, and they have the desire to pick up flip-able pieces. And it’s not like these are worthless pitchers. Who knows what might happen in 2013 if the Cubs added one or both of them on the relative cheap?

From the sound of a report from Ken Rosenthal today, one or both of Santana and Haren is going to be dealt this week. Rosenthal says it would be an upset if no deal is made, and cites one executive who thinks both will be moved. The Angels are being agressive, and Rosenthal reports that the option decision on Haren is due on Friday, whereas it is due on Santana today.

So, are the Cubs among the teams actively in discussions with the Angels? Rosenthal doesn’t name names, but he does list teams “among the clubs seeking help for their rotations.” On that list, he has the Royals, Twins, Blue Jays, Padres, Red Sox and Brewers. Many more teams are looking for pitching – and arguably no team is a better fit for a one-year rebound candidate like Santana than the Cubs – so I wouldn’t read too much into the exclusion of the Cubs in that list.

Will anything happen today? Later this week? It sounds like it will. I know I’m suddenly watching the Angels’ option decision on Santana much more closely (assuming it is, indeed, today), and will be following the Haren story closely as well.

Even if neither goes to the Cubs, their movement(s) will have an impact on the pitching market, which will, in turn, have an impact on the Cubs’ offseason. In other words, whatever happens, this is a relatively important story to follow.

  • WGNstatic

    Ahhh… the game begins:

    In other words, whatever happens, this is a relatively important story to follow.

    We are 4 days into the offseason, and Brett already has us wrapped around his finger, refreshing furiously for the latest news and rumors. ;)

    Life on a Cubs blog in the offseason at its best

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Ha. Hey now, sometimes it’s true!

      But I can’t lie – I love the hunt and the chase of the offseason. So many possibilities, so much information, so many twists, so many story lines to follow …

      • WGNstatic

        Hey I love it too, hell, that’s why I am here. But, man… the free agent signing period isn’t even here yet and we are already hooked.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          My guess is after the option window passes, we’ll have a small flurry of signings, and then a quiet week or two.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

            And then the winter meetings.

  • Cubbie Blues

    From the Angels’ website:

    By 9 p.m. PT on Wednesday, they must decide whether to pick up Ervin Santana’s $13 million option.
    By 9 p.m. PT on Friday, they must decide the same on the $15.5 million option in Dan Haren’s contract.

    So, yes, it looks like the decision on Santana’s option is today.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      9 PM PT… so midnight Eastern.

      I’ll probably still be up then anyway. It may not go to the deadline, but I bet it gets within an hour or two.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Yeah, I’m already tentatively planning a late night.

        • Myles

          BLOGATHON

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Unfortunately The Wife allows me to completely check out of all of my familial duties just two days a year (the Blogathon, that is).

  • Me

    To me it sounds like Santana will be Cubs bound today.

    Just a hunch though

  • Frank

    I’d love to have Haren, however, I’d be surprised if KC didn’t aggressively pursue him, and they’d likely be willing to give up more than our side.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com ZachCubs82

    I woud like to see the Cubs go after Dallas Braden, Brandon McCarthy, and Shaun Marcum

    • Frank

      Why? Marcum and Mc

    • Frank

      Sorry. Marcum and McCarthy would certainly be upgrades for us, but not worth that contracts they’ll get due to the weak market. Haren and Santana would be riskier, but would be one year commitments only. Besides, we could probably get both. And Dallas Braden isn’t very good.

      As for Haren or Santana, Haren’s obviously the better option, but Santana’s more of the type acquisition that I’d expect from our FO based on their short time here. Former top prospect who has had some success but is now little more than a mid risk reclamation. I’d be all for him, certainly over raiding the junk bin for more guys like Germano, Socolovich, and such.

  • Troy

    I’m curious as to what type of prospect the Cubs would give up to land one or both of these two pitchers

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      For Santana, at the full $13 million, anything better than a top 20 to 30 prospect seems like too much. For Haren, I’d be uncomfortable with more better than a top 10 to 20. That is to say, if the Cubs gave up a top 10 prospect for Haren, and took on the full $15.5M, I’d question the deal (unless it was a kid that we already know this front office doesn’t believe in … ).

      • Dr. Percival Cox

        So if we gave someone like Amaya for Haren, that’s a deal you’d be okay with?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Yes – that’s the range. I sure do like Amaya, but that’s just sentiment. I’d probably say the same of every guy in that range.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          I’d say Amaya is a little young for the Angels to be interested.

          One name to watch here will be Junior Lake.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            That’s a deal I guarantee the Cubs would do. Angels? Eh. Depends on how they view the lad.

          • Dr. Percival Cox

            That makes a ton of sense for everyone involved. It would take care of the Junior-Lake-on-the-40-man problem., give the Cubs a flippable asset, clear up Greinke salary room for the Angels, and even give them a potentially useful utility guy in the near future. (They really need cheap bench players with their contracts and their awful minor leagues.)

            Nice thinking, Luke. You should ask Theo for a job.

  • Dr. Percival Cox

    If there really are that many teams involved in the talks, it might not be as cheap as everyone hopes to grab one.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I wondered that myself – but, then again, simply because that many teams are interested (and Rosie was just speculating this time) doesn’t mean any of them see the situation as anything more than, “Hey, Angels, we know you’re going to turn these guys loose in a couple days anyway, we’d give you a 25th-ish prospect for one of ‘em.” Haren could net more, possibly. Lotta teams might want to check in, but not necessarily a lot of teams see Haren at $15.5M as a good fit or a bargain worth paying handsomely for.

    • Mick

      It could also be DiPoto calling Rosenthal with a scoop to motivate teams to come with their best and final offers.

      The Cubs could really turn the Angels into a one-stop shop though if they can think bigger than just Santana or Haren. If the Angels are this motivated to trade players because of $4.5M in buyouts think how motivated they’d be if we offered to take on Vernon Wells’ contract. Throw them Barney and Marmol and we could get those three and a couple of MLB ready prospects like Nick Maronde and Peter Bourjos. As soon as we trade Soriano we slide Wells over to LF and Bourjos becomes the everyday CF. Maronde could start in the bullpen and we could stretch him out after the we trade Haren at the deadline.

      • BluBlud

        Give me Moronde, but you can keep Bourjos.

        OH, BTW, I don’t see this happening considering the have Kendrick and Aybar, both better then Barney, up the middle already.

        • Mick

          Cowart’s been tearing up the AFL maybe we could swap Bourjos out with him??? Barney would make a pretty good utility infielder for a contending club and he would give the Angels options. Maybe they non-tender or trade Callaspo, they could move Hendrick to 3B and Barney would start at 2B. Callaspo’s set to make around $5M in arbitration so, that could be more money the Angels use to acquire pitching.

          I’m just trying to get creative because I don’t see a lot of value in trading a prospect for Santana and/or Haren and hoping to trade one or both at the deadline for a better prospect and oh, by the way Haren’s set to earn $15.5M and Santana $13M. I’d think we could do just as good if not better ROI-wise finding a couple of bounceback candidate SP’s off the FA list like Liriano or heck, Santana at a reduced price after his option gets declined.

          • Jeremy

            I don’t see the Angels trading Cowart at all as much as I like him. I think they trade Callaspo before him.

  • Stevie B

    Hey WGN….I certainly hope you’re not busting Brett’s minerals, as he could be busy floating around a bunch of crap that has absolutely NO merit just to keep us on the pain train. This IS valid and interesting info.
    Brett, this entry got my attention meter to peg a good solid 2.5, which isn’t bad for October 31st.

    • WGNstatic

      No, truly only playful kidding. Like I said, I am checking in on the site throughout the day, and I really do appreciate (and curse at the same time for my hours lost) the work Brett does to give us all our fix.

  • ncsujuri

    Yeah, what Troy asked….

  • Zach

    I remember Theo’s first press confrence when someone ask him if he thought cold weather played a part in certain players in the begining of the year. He agreed and thought it would hav to be evaluated when signing free agents. Im not a big fan of either of them. Both are flyball pitchers and getting on the older side. They both have pitched 90 % of there games in warmer climates and both have had some injuries in the past. I pitched in college and it makes a diffrence pitching in warmer weather.Im not saying that players cant make that change but why would the cubs pick up those two pitchers and risk either of them starting the season off bad.I think they should go after Ryu,Villenueva and Marcum.

  • Cubbie Blues

    Doesn’t sound like Haren wants to go anywhere

    “I’m sick of changing teams,” Haren said after his final start of the season. “Coming to L.A. was a dream come true, really, so it’s going to be hard if I leave. Wherever I go, I’ll obviously give 100 percent effort, just like I did every start here. But L.A. has always had more of a significance to me, just because I grew up so close to Angel Stadium. Regardless of where I play, I’ll probably reside close to the Orange County area.”

    It may only be end of season emotions though.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That, and it’s not really up to him at this point.

      • Cubbie Blues

        Yeah, I should expounded on that. If they don’t pick up his option then I am seeing a big possibility for a hometown discount. It’s possible that Anaheim is banking on a discount as well and is factoring that into his option decision.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Certainly possible.

  • LwEB23

    What are the odds that the Cubs pretend to be in play for a trade, allowing the trade market on them to go up and out of reach of other potential buyers…. Therefore, letting them become free agents for us to sign one of them…. Thoughts?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Teams don’t really screw other teams like that (i.e., in your example, the Cubs are screwing the Angels) – small chance for a small gain for the Cubs, and the cost is a front office that hates you, doesn’t deal with you, and badmouths you to other front offices. These are all real people, after all.

      Do teams feign interest for a variety of reasons when they don’t actually have any? Sure. But they wouldn’t take it to the level needed to actually drive up the price and then back out at the last second when option decisions are due.

  • Kyle

    The Cubs need to make better use of $15 million and a rotation spot than either of these guys, though Haren would be at least defensible.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      If you believe that the Cubs’ primary objective is to get (1) as good of pitchers as possible, (2) on as short-term deals as possible, they could – and would, on the free agent market – do much, much worse than Haren.

      But, well, you don’t necessarily believe that, so …

      • Kyle

        Peavy just got 2/$29 and is a much, much better pitcher than either.

        Even trying to go with as short a deal as possible, I’d rather have several guys on the market than Haren, but I’ll grant that’s a judgment call. Do you place more weight on the possibility of a regression to previous means, or the fact that he’s 32 with plummeting velocity.

        • Dr. Percival Cox

          It seems likely the Peavy contract was a hometown discount to a situation he loves, since he signed it before even dipping a toe in the free agency waters. It’s dangerous to assume that’s the going price.

        • Myles

          Yeah, you’re crazy if you think the other FA pitchers are going to sign deals anything like Peavy’s.

          • Kyle

            Even adjusting for the hometown discount, Peavy’s so much better that the point remains.

            We’re talking about either a 1/$15.5 deal for a pitcher coming off a 1.8 fWAR season or a 1/$13.5 deal for a pitcher coming off a -0.9 fWAR season.

            You can beat those in any market.

            • Scott

              Haren’s velocity is down and that is a big concern. But when you look at only last season, you miss ’08, ’09, ’10 and ’11. Haren was better each year and threw 216, 229, 235 and 238 innings.

              Nobody knows who will be better next year (Peavy is 9 months younger) Peavy had a better year, but Haren has a higher career WAR and lower career xFIP. Coming in to this season very few people would have picked Peavy to outperform Haren.

              • Kyle

                If you see the 08-11 Harden on the trade market, let me know. Or better yet, let Theo know.

              • Dr. Percival Cox

                Fangraphs actually posted an article on this today. Somewhat amusingly, both Kyle and Brett could use it to boost their argument.

                http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/the-market-for-dan-haren/

                • Kyle

                  I’m not a big fan of picking up Haren, but I wouldn’t rail on it too much if they did. I think they can do better, but I’d rather have Haren than nothing.

            • David

              I would agree with you re Santana, but I would look at harens larger body of work. If you discount everything he did before 2012 and think that this season is his new norm, you are probably right. If you look at it as an abberation for a guy who’s been a very good pitcher for quite a while, then its a different story.

              And this is really the only season since ’08 that Peavy has been more valuable than Haren. Thats due mostly to injuries but it cant be ignored.

        • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

          I put most weight that it’s only a 1 year deal.
          Years, to me, is more important than salary.

          • Kyle

            The fact that it’s only a 1-year deal makes it even more problematic for me.

            Right now, our 2014 rotation has Samardzija, Wood and the hope that Vizcaino can stay healthy and handle a rotation spot.

            We need to start filling those spots immediately. We can’t risk going into next offseason with three full rotation spots or worse needing to be filled.

            • cubchymyst

              I agree with you here. Looking at 2014, Samardzija, Wood are the 2 most probably starter. Looking at options after those 2:

              Vizcaino if he stays healthy (who you mentioned)
              Cabrera if he can be stretched out and stay efficient
              Garza or who every they acquire in a trade for Garza
              Free Agent or 2
              A current prospect
              A prospect acquired in a trade other than Garza
              A college pitcher from 2013 draft

              A lot of questions marks there but also a few possibilities. Its only been one year but It be nice to see the starting rotation depth Theo mentioned when he first took the job start to materialize a little more. A lot can happen in the next 2 offseasons and next year trade deadline deals.

              • Bill

                Even if Vizcaino stays healthy, how many innnings is he going to be able to throw in 2014? You have to believe they won’t push him this year and the most he’s ever thrown is around 110 innings. I don’t see Vizcaino making a significan impact until 2015, at the earliest.

                • cubchymyst

                  Hopefully Johnson can help Vizciano build up his arm strength so that he can be starter. Next year Vizciano he will be on a strict limit but no reason not to think in 2014 he can’t pitch close to the number of innings as Samardzija did this year (so not a full year of pitching). The point is the Cubs are no where close to the pitching depth Theo mentioned when he first took the job. He mentioned knowing who the 7th, 8th, and 9th starters might be going into a season. There are a lot of places where those starters can come from but at this point the Cubs lack the depth for 1-5. I didn’t expect it to occur in 1 season, but if the plan is to be competitive in 2014 then the rotation depth needs to start materializing quickly because it will be difficult to do it in 1 offseason.

                  • Dr. Percival Cox

                    We’re still acquiring pieces. Maybe Vizcaino works, maybe he doesn’t. The goal is to get to the point where one prospect succeeding or failing is unimportant. We’ll get there.

                    • Kyle

                      The goal is to win baseball games. We need some long-term solutions at SP to advance that goal, and we need them relatively soon.

                    • Dr. Percival Cox

                      That isn’t the plan. I know that upsets you. I know you think you could do it better. Maybe you could. But you weren’t hired for the job and that isn’t the plan the Cubs are going with.

                      It’s much longer term. It’s much more focused on rebuilding from the ground up. And it means the major league team is probably going to be pretty unwatchable for another season or two. Sorry that upsets you so much. Genuinely.

                      But your saying that “The goal is to win baseball games” on Brett’s blog is not going to change Theo’s plan.

  • calicubsfan007

    I would love Haren to be traded to us. I watched him play in AZ, and he was easily the ace. I know that Santana is more likely the guy we would go after due to age, affordability, etc, but I think that the Cubs should really kick the tires on Haren. He is a quality pitcher with great character, as he was the face of both the Dbacks and many charitable organizations in AZ during his stay there.

  • CM

    Ludwick?

  • skidrow

    ROYALS JUST GOT SANTANA.

  • Rudymeolismullet

    Why trade prospects for a guy for 3 months to trade for prospects? I say stay the course…Wait for King Felix next year, and then make our move!

  • Rcleven

    Royals Acquire Ervin Santana

  • Frank

    Royals send LHP Brandon Sisk to the Angels–a 27 year old reliever at AAA; 2.54 ERA in 50 games.

  • Pingback: Royals Acquire Ervin Santana from Angels | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary()

  • Fastball

    If we can get Haren in a deal similiar to what Santana was acquired for then do it. The clock is ticking Theo

  • Kyle

    “That isn’t the plan. I know that upsets you. I know you think you could do it better.”

    More importantly, I think Epstein and Hoyer could do it better.

  • Frank

    If the Angels are interested in Marmol, why not send him straight up for Haren and pay the difference between the two salaries. Then we could pick up a bargain bin closer option such as Lidge or Jenks and hope for the best.

  • nkniacc13

    I wonder if the price for haren would go down a bit if the cubs were to take wells in the deal.

  • Pingback: Report: The Cubs Are Interested in Dan Haren | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary()

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