Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Illustration for article titled Weekend Winner: The Dan Haren Swindle

In sports, everyone is a winner—some people just win better than others. Like the Angels, who shoplifted Dan Haren out of Arizona and so thoroughly snookered the Diamondbacks that someone should check if Chase Field is encased in aluminum siding.


Let's just marvel at this one for a second. In return for Haren and the three very affordable years left on his contract, Jerry Dipoto, the very interim Diamondbacks GM, got a 29-year-old junkballer in Joe Saunders, a dime-a-dozen reliever, and two middle-tier prospects, one of whom is 19 and still a cipher, the other of whom, in the best-case scenario, figures to be another Joe Saunders (sub. required). It's even worse when you consider all that the D-backs gave up to get Haren in the first place. (Has any pitcher been so wildly misvalued over the years as Haren? The A's got him, along with Daric Barton and Kiko Calero, for what little was left of Mark Mulder, then flipped him for half of Arizona's farm system. Two-and-a-half years later, the Diamondbacks have turned him into Joe Saunders and some spare cash.) Haren remains one of the finest pitchers in the game, and his superficially mediocre numbers this year are mostly the product of pitching in front of a bad defense in Arizona's pillbox of a stadium. To get him, the Angels didn't even provide the barrel Jerry Dipoto now has to wear. You don't see this sort of thing very often, at least not outside of Pittsburgh.

Dipoto sounds like a helluva guy. Among other things, he is surely the only current GM to have ever been clinically dead. But this trade and some of his comments about it — granted, he's trying to dress up a salary dump, but in the year of our Lord 2010, we're going to need something better than Joe Saunders "quite frankly has been one of the winners in Major League Baseball" — suggest a fellow who's about to get invited to a lot of poker games.

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