Dan Haren Was Open to Coming to Chicago, Carlos Marmol Had to Be Convinced to Go to Anaheim

One more final(?) set of footnotes to the failed Dan Haren/Carlos Marmol swap from Friday night.

It seems that, despite Marmol’s comments about being excited to head out to the Angels and compete, the Cubs actually had to talk him into waiving his no-trade clause (the clause is believed to allow him to block deals to five teams (no one has reported otherwise in a couple years), and I’d imagine he’s listed five teams on the West Coast). From Paul Sullivan:

“He wasn’t crazy about leaving,” said Marmol’s agent, Paul Kinzer. “He loves it in Chicago, but felt whatever is best for the team.”

The Cubs thought asking Marmol to go from a 101-loss team to the star-studded Angels was a “no-brainer” for the closer.

They were wrong.

Marmol initially said “no,” just as Dempster said “no” to the Braves.

But Marmol eventually changed him mind just in time for the deal to fall apart. Kinzer said Marmol’s reluctance was based on geography, but the idea of playing for the Angels grew on him.

“If it wasn’t one of the better teams, he wouldn’t have agreed,” he said.

If the Cubs were cajoling Marmol into accepting a trade to Anaheim, you have to wonder what things they might have said. What they can’t take back. I was already pretty sure the Cubs were going to deal Marmol this offseason, and after Friday night’s escapade, I was convinced of it. Now I’m … well, whatever the thing is that’s more than convinced.

Alden Gonzalez, the first reporter to note a problem with the deal that night (but also one of the many to initially report the deal as done), has a recounting of the events from Haren’s perspective, which is worth a read if you haven’t burned out your corneas yet. The most interesting section:

Then, at about 5:15 p.m. PT, reports starting buzzing about a deal to the Cubs being imminent, and Haren began warming himself up to the idea of going to the Windy City.

“After my wife and I had talked it through,” Haren said, “we had really sold ourselves on how fun it would be for a year.”

But then, less than an hour later, the deal began to unravel, social media went crazy once more and Haren became eager to learn his fate. So he shot a text to Dipoto, who told him a deal had not yet been finalized.

At about 8 p.m. PT, Dipoto called Haren, telling him the deal to the Cubs was off, that he was still poring through his options and that he would call him back in an hour, when the deadline came.

Haren waited some more, social media went quiet, and then, at 9:05, Dipoto called Haren with the final news: His option had been declined.

It could be fun to be in Chicago for a year – I should say so.

So, who knows? Maybe it’s possible Haren would consider coming to the Cubs on a short-term, “prove it” deal. Maybe it’s possible that whatever scared the Cubs off from making the trade isn’t enough to scare them off from taking a flyer on Haren altogether. I won’t completely rule it out.

But I still think that, in a pitching market as thin as this, Haren is going to have many options – even with health concerns. “Healthy” is not this black and white thing that you either are or aren’t. You have x-rays, MRI’s, doctor’s evaluations, anecdotal reports, etc. One team could look at a set of medicals and say, “well, I see a couple issues here, but not enough to scare me off. Let’s go for it.” Another team could look at the same medicals and say, “whoa, that’s worse than we thought it was. Unless they’re willing to throw in a few more million bucks, we can’t proceed on this deal anymore.” Perhaps that’s what happened on Friday night. Perhaps that’s why Haren could still have an ample market for his services, even if the Cubs weren’t willing to take a $15.5 million risk on whatever they saw. If so, you’ve got to believe (1) a team or two will bid more than the Cubs are willing, and (2) a bidder or two will be expected to be more competitive than the 2013 Cubs.

Regardless, Haren is going to face one hurdle in jump-starting his free agent negotiations: the Angels didn’t think he was worth a one-year, $12 million deal (paying a $3.5 million buyout, rather than keeping him on for $15.5 million). The Angels were looking to clip some salary, sure. But if you’re a team negotiating with Haren, why wouldn’t you make that 1-year, $12 million level your ceiling? I certainly wouldn’t make it my starting point.

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

14 responses to “Dan Haren Was Open to Coming to Chicago, Carlos Marmol Had to Be Convinced to Go to Anaheim”

  1. North Side Irish

    Obviously I haven’t seen the medicals, but I’d still be willing to take a chance on Haren at the right price. $12M seems steep to me, but I’d be willing to do more like $8M. Ideally you could have a second year with a team option that becomes guaranteed if he hits a certain number of starts or IP. That would also make it easier to flip him at the deadline since the team he’s being traded to would have a chance at compensation after next season.

    The only thing I don’t like is his “we had really sold ourselves on how fun it would be for a year” comment. That sounds to me like he would have no interest in staying past one year.

    Realistically, I think the Cubs check in, but we never hear of any real interest on their part and Haren ends up in San Diego. Great place for a pitcher to go and prove their value. That park covers a lot of sins for a SP.

    1. ron

      If everybody knows you are pitching in a “pitchers” park does it really help in a prove it contract? I am not trying to start an argument or be rude, this is a real question. I would think that most real stat guys should know that you are in a pitchers park and would weigh the sample sizes accordingly or would it even hurt a pitcher in a prove it contract? I honestly don’t know but would think stats have moved beyond home field advantages.

      1. ron

        Don’t know via contract $$ to numbers correlation.

      2. North Side Irish

        I’m thinking of something like Aaron Harang did…one good season for the Padres and he got a two year deal from the Dodgers. Haren isn’t going to rebuild his rep completely, but he can prove he’s healthy and put up decent numbers in Petco.

  2. cubsin

    If there’s a GM in baseball who doesn’t realize that San Diego is a pitcher-friendly park, Jed should call him up immediately and acquire all of his decent players and prospects for chump change.

  3. Kyle

    I think the most interesting thing about the Trade That Wasn’t, Part Two is how quickly “medicals” as a noun became part of our common lexicon. Similar to players as “assets” in the last year or so.

  4. BD

    If the Angles were going to trade Haren to the Cubs- did he have a say in it?

    1. notcubbiewubbie

      who do you think runs the angels jim hendry?????

  5. Deez

    To see our guys not want to go play for a winner at this point in their careers says something positive about Chicago or negative about their willingness to compete.
    Marmol playing in L.A. for the Angels, you’re like 4th Fiddle unless you’re competing for the pennant. Lakers, Dodgers, & USC Football are all above the Angels in pecking order even w/ Pujols.

  6. Big Daddy

    Just saw on MLBTR where there is a lot of trade interest in Hellickson. I wish the Cubs would get in on that.

    1. JR

      I saw that too. I would love some of Hellboy in a Cub uni. Soriano and Marmol and their entire contracts paid, plus BJax, and Vitters for Hellickson. Sign me up now.

  7. cavemencubbie

    I believe the Angels were being a ‘Used Car Dealer with Haren, trying to sell Theo on a clunker. Theo took it to a good mechanic and the deal fell through. I’ll be curious to see where Haren plays and how well he does.

  8. Jeff1969

    I don’thave actual quotes, but Theo said in an Saturday morning interview on the Score months ago that he wondered about guys who were established who wanted to to stay on a losing team. Like losing was comfortable for them when winning should be what they should be desperate for. That he wanted players like that. Liking the city, owning a home, great, but being on a winner should be the priority, not where you feel comfortable. That’s been part of the Cubs loser identity for decades.