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.