Report: The Cubs Are Interested in Dan Haren (UPDATES: Bruce Levine Hears It, Too)

This should come as no surprise to you folks, as it’s been written about here quite a bit this week, but now there is a national report connecting the Cubs to Angels starter Dan Haren.

Jon Heyman reports that the Cubs and Red Sox are among a handful of teams (he doesn’t name the others) actively speaking to the Angels about a trade for Dan Haren. You’ll recall that Haren is subject to a 2013 option for $15.5 million ($3.5 million buyout) held by the Angels, and a decision is due on that option by 11pm CT tonight. The Angels, all things considered, would like to deal Haren before having to decide whether or not to pick up that option. If they deal him, they could send along $3.5 million (since they’re obligated to pay at least the buyout price anyway), making Haren a mere $12 million one-year commitment. That could net them a nice prospect, despite Haren’s down 2012 season.

(The Cubs, however, might prefer to just take on the full $15.5 million, and part with a lesser package of prospects. It’s up to the Angels, really.)

Haren, for his part, expects to be dealt today.

The national media – Heyman, in this instance (and Ken Rosenthal, earlier in the week, who did not list the Cubs as a possibly interested party) – sees the Cubs as an unlikely or odd fit for Haren, given their presumed non-contention in 2013. But, as I explained earlier in the week, Haren, for the Cubs, represents the opportunity to pick up a quality pitcher on a one-year deal, whom they could flip at the deadline in 2013 if they, indeed, are not competitive. Getting Haren – or someone like him – on a one-year deal in free agency would be impossible.

Keep your eyes and ears open, folks.

UPDATE (11:50am CT): Bruce Levine hears from a source that the Cubs, indeed, have interest in acquiring Haren. Though the source went on to note that Haren is “one of many” starting pitchers the Cubs are considering. Also, you have to remember: there are probably a lot of teams interested in picking up Haren, each for their own reasons. A team on the cusp of competing next year may be more willing to pony up the prospects than the Cubs, who undoubtedly view Haren as much as a flip candidate as an actual piece to the competitiveness puzzle in 2013.

UPDATE 2 (at 12:05pm CT): Ah, remember all those update posts from the trade deadline era? This might turn into one of those. Jon Heyman tweets that the Yankees are not in on Haren, and says that it’s the Cubs, the Red Sox, or … others. Not exactly a huge help, but at least we know it’s down to 29 teams! (Not 28, because the Angels might keep him.)

UPDATE 3 (at 1:20pm CT): Jim Bowden says the Angels aren’t interested in picking up Haren’s option and then trying to trade him later in the offseason. In other words, according to Bowden, we’ll have a kind of resolution today: either Haren is traded, or becomes a free agent.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

133 responses to “Report: The Cubs Are Interested in Dan Haren (UPDATES: Bruce Levine Hears It, Too)”

  1. Cubbie Blues

    If they deal him, they could send along $3.5 million (since they’re obligated to pay at least the buyout price anyway), making Haren a mere $12 million one-year commitment.

    If the Cubs do get him I would prefer they pay the full $15.5 million and send over a lesser prospect.

  2. ottoCub

    Hm… if the Cubs can put together a rotation of Garza, Samardzjia, Haren, Wood, and (shudder) Dempster, that would be an impressive staff. And If they can also add one more big bat to the lineup. Hm… I am an optimist! ( this is why we love the off-season :)

    1. DarthHater

      that would be an impressive staff

      This is why we love the off-season?

    2. MightyBear

      agreed

  3. Jarrod Campbell

    I understand the reasoning behind this, but I just don’t get it. It seems like 12 million is a high price to pay, “just in case” we end up being in contention. I know if we’re not in contention, we can trade him for a lot, but only to teams who are willing to “rent” him for the rest of the year. So the number of buyers, then, decreases. Correct me if I’m wrong here, but wouldn’t it be pointless to give up prospects now just to get different ones at the deadline in 2013?

    1. MightyBear

      The value of the prospect at the trade deadline should be higher than the value of the prospect now. Theoretically of course.

    2. DocPeterWimsey

      Correct me if I’m wrong here, but wouldn’t it be pointless to give up prospects now just to get different ones at the deadline in 2013?

      It is if you get back the same calibre prospects. The hope is that you pull a Maholm and you spin Haren for a good prospect. Then the Cubs will have spun a low-level prospect for a good one.

      Hey, nothing venture, nothing gained!

      1. Luke

        Even if they get back the same caliber of prospect, if the new prospects are in places the Cubs need help (pitching), it could still be a good deal.

        For example, the Cubs don’t need more middle infield prospects. If they could turn Zeke DeVoss into Dan Haren, and then Haren into a starting pitching prospect who ranks roughly even with DeVoss, they would still be coming out ahead.

        1. willis

          Great point.

        2. Ted

          But will his name be as cool?

  4. GDB

    Personally i’d love to add Haren. If we had him i’d be more confident of getting a good year out of him than I am with Garza.

    Presumably we could be trading anybody who is not seen as a part of the “core” going forward. What do the Angels want anyway? Bullpen pieces?

    1. Internet Random

      I’m getting rid of Britta.

  5. ETS

    Santana cost a 27 year old minor league reliever. If haren nets a “nice prospect” I’ll call this a bad deal.

    1. Kyle

      I’m not disagreeing with the conclusion, but Haren is a much, much better pitcher than Santana.

      1. ETS

        Agreed, but it’s the same set up as far as from what the Angels are risking (trading an optional player rather than declining the option).

        1. ETS

          So I guess it’s reasonable to think the haren will net something better than santana, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a “nice” prospect.

          1. Jade

            And lets not forget that Haren isn’t a terrible hitter .223 .246/326 =572 in 298 PA’s not bad for a pitcher. Not that we get him for his hitting prowess but he might prefer the NL – better stats, likes to hit, ect. And they Cubs would probably put him on a contender come July.

            1. Kyle

              That’s a very good point. Whenever he’s been in the NL, he’s added about half a win per season with his bat.

              1. Myles

                Haren’s lost a bunch of velocity. It’s not coming back. That being said, his HR/9 is probably coming down a bit, he doesn’t walk people, and he was SLIGHTLY unlucky last year. I’d like to trade Junior Lake for Dan Haren and 3.5 million. I’ll be thrilled.

            2. fortyonenorth

              Can he play third? That would be an upgrade, yes?

      2. Cub Style

        No, he’s not anymore. He doesn’t have the velocity he used to have. His maximum veloctiy went from 94-96 all the way down to 91. He doesn’t have the extra juice he used to have to get guys out.

        1. Kyle

          That’s all true, and he’s *still* a much, much better pitcher than Santana, who was literally the worst starter in the majors last season.

          1. AB

            yep the ballhawks would love a rotation with Travis Wood and Ervin Santana

          2. cubchymyst

            Santana was worse than a few of the cubs pitchers?

            1. Kyle

              In aggregate, yes. Most of the bad Cubs pitchers weren’t around long enough to vie for the award.

  6. StrandedCub

    A rotation of Garza-Haren-Shark-Wood- and a Marcum or McCarthy type FA would be oddly impressive considering what the rotation looked like for the last couple months of the 2012 season.

    1. willis

      Not only oddly impressive, but if Garza is healthy and Haren even has a semi-bounce back year, we could argue that’s as good as any staff in the central.

      1. Ted

        I know picking up a flyer on Haren is exciting, but let’s pump the brakes

      2. Kyle

        It’s sort of a high-risk, high-reward staff.

        If Samardzija can handle a full season of starting and his peripherals turn into results, if Garza’s elbow is healthy, if Haren has any sort of regression to his mean, then suddenly that’s a very impressive rotation.

        Or maybe two of those don’t happen, we trade anyone with their arm still attached at the deadline, and it turns out worse than last year.

  7. StrandedCub

    Anybody think Marmol+cash is a possibility to go back the other way?

    1. DarthHater

      Oh, I hope so.

  8. Ben (BG2383)

    I would rather them pay the full tab if they get him than dump quality prospects. A team that generates the type of income the Cubs do can handle that pretty easy. I see this as an easy way to upgrade the rotation on a 1yr flyer with the possibility of dumping him at the deadline if Cubs suck
    (sorry about grammar and incoherence of writing been working for 8hours already)

  9. Joker

    Of course you try to makes this trade. This is a win/win even if he’s horrible given the short committment and lack of quality options available.

    Let’s say this costs us a bat and a pitcher. Maybe a Justin Bour plus a Low A pitcher works?

  10. MightyBear

    I put this on the message board but thought I would throw it out here as well:

    Assuming Soriano plays left and DeJesus plays center field, who in free agency is a good fit for the Cubs to go after and play right? Assuming they could sign an outfielder on a short comeback type of deal, similar to Maholm last year.

    1. ncsujuri

      Saw one article mention Swisher as a good fit because he would be able to provide some mentorship/plate discipline to the youngsters…thoughts?

      1. fortyonenorth

        Swisher’s looking for a long term, big $$ deal.

        1. beerhelps

          i’m not disagreeing with you, but any team that does that for Swisher is beyond ignorant

  11. Dustin S

    I’ll defer to Theo and Jed’s wisdom on this one, but at a high-level I have a hard time seeing the value in this. Trade prospects away now for a 1 year deal, hoping Haren stays healthy and pitches well enough (both risks), again hoping that teams will pay well for a rent-a-player 1/2 season of Haren. Buying teams always use the “why should we give up much for a 1/2 season” at the trade deadline. Plus there is the ~7.5M in salary for a half season during 2013 when they are rebuilding.

    In the end it’s a gamble that what we give up to trade for him + 7.5M < than the return at the break, adding in the risk of injury or a bad 1st half. Not entirely exciting to me. But I do understand that they have to do something to fill the rotation holes, even if it's just to maintain respectability next season.

  12. Cryinmybluecoolaid

    Even if we do trade for Haren, I would be surprised if he was in our rotation next year. I could see Thoyer flipping him at the owners meetings for more prospects. A lot of teams need pitching but cannot or do not want to add payroll, like the Yankees.

    1. Cubbie Blues

      Getting Haren would be to hope he rebounds in the first half of the season and trading him at the trade deadline like Maholm last year. He will not be traded during the Winter Meetings. The FO would get much more back if he rebounds rather than just eating salary. Nothing is said that the FO can’t both eat salary and trade at deadline.

      1. Mick

        This is why I doubt we’ll get Haren is because the Angels know we’ll turn around and deal him to one of their potential rivals, they may as well trade him right to Texas.

        1. DocPeterWimsey

          they may as well trade him right to Texas

          If the Angels were concerned about Haren helping the Rangers, then they would not face any quandary about picking up his option. After all, they clearly are considering passing on the option and letting anybody else sign him.

          1. Mick

            But if they can trade him to a non-rebuilding NL team or AL team outside of their own division, they’d clearly consider that as well. The Cubs made a trade 2 months ago with Texas so, there some history there.

            1. DocPeterWimsey

              The Angels are a contending team, and they seem willing to cut Haren loose for little or nothing, with a preference for the former over the latter. There is a good chance that other contenders are going to think the same of Haren.

              1. cubfanincardinalland

                It is not because they don’t want Haren, they are trying to free up payroll, mainly to sign Greinke, they also want to keep Torri Hunter. Pujols money starts to accelerate before to long also. It is about money, not talent.

  13. Jim

    The other intriguing piece about this is if the Cubs get Haren now, and can’t move him at the deadline, they will have had him for a full season and be able to get compensation if he walks via free agency. I think this move makes a lot of sense for the Cubs, as long as they don’t have to give up too much, which I don’t think they will if the Angels are under a time crunch to make this happen.

    1. Kyle

      That’s worth noting, but it doesn’t seem very likely.

      If Haren’s pitching well enough that offering him a qualifying offer makes sense, then he’s pitching well enough to get moved.

      If he’s not pitching well enough to get moved, then he’s not pitching well enough to turn down the qualifying offer.

  14. Rizzo 44

    Cubs get Dan Haren and Peter Bourjos and the Cubs send the Angels Marmol 6.5M and a 25-30 prospect. That sounds good to me. I’m sure someone will say that wont happen, but I like it. Speed in CF and a true Leadoff man in the NL sounds like a great idea.

    1. MightyBear

      I’ve been begging for a lead off man since the Cubs didn’t re-sign Lofton. I’m Szczur or Andreoli develop into that position but i would take it through trade as well.

      1. DocPeterWimsey

        Actually, the Cubs have had a handful of guys who would have been decent leadoff men since then. The managers just never batted them #1!

        As for Bourjos, he really would not be a good leadoff hitter. His OBP (the truly important tool for a leadoff hitter) is not great, and his one useful asset (speed) would generate more runs that otherwise would not have scored at the bottom of the order than at the top.

        1. Jade

          I seem to recall the Cubs having the highest OBP from leadoff in 11 and they where up there in 12 as well ( or they were close to no.1 in midseason when I heard it)

          1. MightyBear

            No speed though. How many steals did they have? Doc is right about Bourjos, OBP needs to be higher. I’d like to see the Cubs get a leadoff guy with 400 obp, works the count and can steal 40-50 bases. Someone like Ellsbury.

            1. Ryan

              In the past decade, there has been 1 player to fit your specifications. 2004 Bobby Abreu.

              So, yeah, let’s get realistic.

          2. DocPeterWimsey

            The Cubs actually had the best leadoff OBP in both ’11 and ’12. Here’s the scary thing: they had the worst team OBP last year, which means that slots 2-9 were just out-machines. That (and poor team power) were why the highest OBP led to Cubs leadoff hitters scoring the 10th most runs. (It wasn’t stolen bases, btw: the DBacks scored the 2nd most runs from leadoff batters with -4 net steals from their leadoff men!)

            So, the Cubs are doing OK with the leadoff guys. They just need to improve 2-8! :-)

            1. DocPeterWimsey

              Geez, I just checked out the OBPs from the Cubs 2-4 hitters. How did our leadoff guys score so many runs?

              1. ottoCub

                To answer your question, take a look at slugging pct. for Cubs hitters: I did some math, calculating how many total bases Cubs players averaged per game (slugging percentage x 4 ABs per game) I then added these number together based on a typical line-up (DeJesus, Barney, Rizzo, Soriano, Castro, Stewart/Valbuena, Castillo, LaHair/Johnson, Pitcher). The results aren’t pretty. The team averaged only 14 total bases per game. Ugh.

                1. DocPeterWimsey

                  Yeah, only the Astros were more pathetic in stats like that. Never, ever let them leave the NLC…..

      2. Myles

        How quickly we forget Kosuke Fukudome, who was a great leadoff hitter that was CRIMINALLY underrated because he was overpaid. I’ll take a .354 OBP (his OBP at the leadoff position) with a ton of pitches per plate appearance every day of the year.

        1. mudge

          I agree. Fukudome was their best option at leadoff.

    2. Mick

      I like the deal but I’d prefer Kole Calhoun instead of Bourjos. If the Angels are insistent that the trading team must also take on Vernon Wells’ then that may eliminate the Cubs because Wells has a no-trade clause. Although, if the Cubs traded Soriano, that would give Wells a starting spot, at least for a little while.

  15. Andy

    would the framework of a deal built around haren+wells+prospects+cash for marmol+prospects be even a reasonable thing. another bounce back candidate in Wells, fills the outfield need, allows for them to flip him if he does in fact rebound for a prospect or two. Lessens what the cubs are giving up by taking on the albatross of wells contract.

    1. Jim

      Yikes, no! Wells has 3 years, $61 million dollars left on his deal and in total decline. We are finally coming out from under Soriano’s contract and other bad ones to want to take that one!

      1. Andy

        2 years $42, and actually had a better year this year (in limited duty) than last year.

        1. Rizzo 44

          No to Wells unless they want to send another pitcher with Haren and Bourjos.

  16. Stevie B

    Stupid question….Can you “sell” prospects? Theo calls the Rangers and says ” Ill give you 20 million for Olt or 10 mil for Buckel”…?

  17. Deez

    I could actually deal w/ taking Wells if it could get rid of Soriana. I don’t hate the dude, but I think the change of scenery would do both players some goof. Yet, I see Garza going somewhere if he’s healthy. The Cubs won’t let him sit this one out this time. If they don’t get him locked up Long term, he’s definitely trade bait.

    1. Ted

      Soriano has second-best season in Chicago

      “a change of scenery would do him some good”

      1. Frank

        And we would be picking up a contract, that as I understand it, is even worse than Soriano’s, for a guy that hit .230 last year with 11 HRs, an OBP of .279 and has been in decline for years. That change of scenery would have to do him one hell of a lot of good to make it worthwhile.

  18. Kevin

    Harens fb veloc has been on the decline if I remember the graphs correctly. That said I would still like to see him in CHC. Haren>Chicago Cubs pitchers IMO save garza on par w/samardzija maybe. Man I miss baseball already. I needed hot stove talk to rekindle the fire after 101 rough ones this season.

  19. BluBlud

    Haren(3.5 million), Wells and Luis Jeminez, for Marmol, Jackson and Tony Zych.

    Then Cubs Sign Lohse(Cost us a second round pick) and Upton.

    This would make us a possible contender.

    1. Ryan

      Lol we also get fleeced in a deal, sign a 32 year old SP likely for way too much money, and give a guy $60 mil over 5 years after he produces his worst offensive season to date which included large defensive drop, too.

  20. Big Daddy

    Wells and Lohse will get us back where we’ve been the last couple of years. I’d rather pay Sori than Wells. Send a B level prospect or 2 for Haren. That will probable get it done.

  21. someday...2015?

    Getting Haren sounds like a win-win for the Cubs. If he’s having a strong season along with the team you keep him for a stretch run, and you have a strong rotation of Samardzija, Garza, Haren, Wood, and another free agent. If the Cubs are out of contention like they were this year you flip him for a prospect or two. Get it done Theo! Can’t lose on this one!

  22. Briggs

    The Angels could (1) pick up a LARGE portion of Haren’s salary to receive a prospect or (2) pay zero and get a backup position player or reliever. Seems they will make a run at Grienke, so i’m guessing they select the latter.

    I think this is a good move for the cubs. Haren could be dealt at the deadline (or during winter meetings) for prospects, with the cubs picking up a significant chunck of his salary.

    With a hard cap on the Draft and a soft cap on international signings – the cubs will be willing to pay for high priced talent that can be traded to receive significant prospects.

  23. calicubsfan007

    I would be thrilled to get Haren. I just hope that we don’t have to give up a good prospect. I would rather us pick up the tab and give them a so so prospect instead.

  24. mak

    If the Cubs get him, you can bet Lake will be involved. Lake and most of the contract probably gets it done.

  25. Big Daddy

    Here’s a wild one for you while talking trades. Send Soriano and cash to the rays for one of their young pitchers. Trade Marmol (Set up role) and cash to the Nats for Tyler Moore (Can play LF). Then do the Haren deal for one of the 18 thousand middle infield prospects we have.

  26. mak

    Any thoughts on what he’ll fetch in FA if option not picked up??

  27. Dr. Percival Cox

    Breaking on Twitter: Cubs claim Zach Putnam from the Rockies. Wonder is this is related to Haren in any way.

    1. ETS

      I can’t foresee it being related, but I may just have poor foresight.

  28. Rizzo 44

    Cubs need to make some smart moves this winter. They did well with the signings they made last offseason other than DeJesus I think. I want to see some bigger names. They can make a run just have to find the right guys. Don’t have to always be the big names, but you must have a couple superstars. Example SF Matt Cain, Buster Posey, The Panda. But they also have great role players Pagan, TimmyJim, and Romo.

    1. Dr. Percival Cox

      So, for example, last year we should have signed Prince Fielder instead of trading for a rookie first baseman?

      1. Rizzo 44

        No I loved the Rizzo trade. I’m saying make a splash it doesn’t have to be Hamilton or any big name FA could be through a trade. I’m just saying the Cubs have the money. Theo just has to make some moves and work his magic. I think a trade for Andre Ethier would be good for the Cubs. The Dodgers want to move him and he could take over RF we know the terms for the next 5 years so I wouldn’t be mad if they made a deal for him. I would rather have someone like Justin Upton or BJ Upton but thats just some of the types of things the FO could do.

        1. Rizzo 44

          People say Chase Headley won’t be traded well I don’t agree witht that at all. The Pads would trade him for the right offer. They have a younger player waiting to take over in a small market. I would be kicking the door down to try andget him away from the Pads. He is solid at 3B and has some big time pop. David Wright is older and he isn’t as good in my mind as Headley. Longoria is the best 3B in the game, but we all know he isn’t going anywhere. He’s cheap and under team control and they don’t have anyone to replace him with. Headley would be my main trade target if I were Theo.

          1. DocPeterWimsey

            People say Chase Headley won’t be traded well I don’t agree witht that at all. The Pads would trade him for the right offer.

            Again, given the number of teams rumored to be interested in Headley, the Pads almost certainly got a lot of good offers last winter and summer: that much smoke always has some fire attached.

            So, either their asking price was ridiculous, or they are serious about wanting to build around Chase.

            1. Drew7

              Not to mention he improved his value dramatically this past season.

  29. calicubsfan007

    Personally, I would like to see one relatively big name (Haren?) added. Other than that, I could go for the Feldmans and the Chavezes in the market right now. We don’t need to break the bank. We just need to put together the right type of guys who are solid players and mesh well with each other.

  30. DocPeterWimsey

    Cubs need to make some smart moves this winter.

    That is the strategy for every team. However, the question is, what are the tactics? General terms like “right guys” and “big names” are nice, but they do not spring into existence just by opening a check book!

    1. Rizzo 44

      Haha yeah they do. If you open the check book they will come. Thats a crazy thing to say. Yes they need to make smart moves thats why they brought Theo in to make the correct moves. So far he gets a c+ on what he has done. I will give him a B if he has a good winter. DeJesus was a waste of money and a roster spot in my mind.

      1. Dr. Percival Cox

        Do you have faith in Theo to make “the right moves?”

      2. Cubbie Blues

        DeJesus was a solid CF last year. Once moved tonRF his bat lacked but at CF he was above average.

        1. fortyonenorth

          Yeah, but it’s not like he was blocking Roberto Clemente in right. What other options did we have? LaHair?

          1. DocPeterWimsey

            Actually, an OF of Sori-DeJesus-LaHair would have been pretty good offensively. Defensively, they might have been pretty offensive, but they would have had to deliberately run away from balls to leak as many runs as the parade of hitless wonders in CF did.

            Theo & Jed might have been overconfident about signing Cespedes: had the A’s not put in their last minute uber-bid, the Cubs might have gotten another 100 TB+BB from the OF, which would have increased their net TB+BB from 2nd worst in baseball to 5th worst and expected winning pct. to a stellar 0.435!

      3. Drew7

        Out of all the sub-replacement level garbage put on the field last year, DeJesus was the one wasting a roster spot, while producing better than he was paid? You’re gonna have a tough time filling a 25-man if that production doesn’t even warrant a roster spot.