Dan Haren had an okay pre-birthday outing on Sunday against the Royals. He only went 5.2 innings allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits and a walk while striking out five. But he took home the win in an important rubber game against the lowly Royals. Haren turns 32 years-old on Monday the 17th and has some serious mileage on that right arm but I’d still be picking up that option if I were the Angels.
Haren is having a down year as his 4.41 ERA, 4.28 FIP (fielding independent fielding) and 4.04 xFIP (expected fielding independent fielding) are all career highs if you overlook his limited play in 2003 and 2004. Haren’s unique delivery, underwhelming velocity and unkempt facial hair may not give you the impression of an ace but he has been as consistently dominant as the best in the game since 2005. Since he became a full time starter in 2005, only 13 pitchers have recorded 25+ wins above replacement. Our birthday boy comes in at a respectable ninth…
The Angels have a $15.5 million club option for 2013 on Haren with a $3.5 million buyout. He hit the disabled list for the first time in his career in 2012 with a back injury that might be lingering. Which could help explain a drop in velocity. With little rotation depth and help not exactly beating on the door from the minors, basically paying $12 million for another year of Haren is a better gamble than anything that will be on the free agent market.
Wow, the package. The Angels gave up Major League lefty Joe Saunders and a pair of pitching prospects for Haren. While Saunders is no prize, he eats innings. The jewel of of the package was Tyler Skaggs but Patrick Corbin was no throw in. Skaggs entered the season as the Diamondbacks number three prospect and Corbin ninth according to Baseball America. Corbin made it to the bigs first this season but Skaggs is up too.
Skaggs is struggling a bit posting a 5.55 ERA over his first five starts. Corbin has posted a 4.02 ERA in 19 games (14 starts). Corbin actually was the better pitcher on Sunday than Haren. Corbin threw 8 innings allowing two earned on eight hits and struck out five against the Giants.
But today is a day to celebrate Danny. The Angels have the day off so I assume there is just a massive ice cream cake party at the clubhouse. Happy Birthday Dan. Don’t eat so much ice cream you get a tummy ache. I know how hard those pro ballplayers can party.