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Trade Retrospective: Diamondbacks move Dan Haren to Angels at deadline

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The right-handed starter was moved for a package headlined by future rotation piece Patrick Corbin - who received the most value from this deadline deal?

Dan Haren moved to the Angels for a package of prospects, led by Patrick Corbin.
Dan Haren moved to the Angels for a package of prospects, led by Patrick Corbin.
Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

At the 2010 Trade Deadline, now five and a half years ago, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim beat out other top contenders like the Phillies, Cardinals, Yankees, Tigers, and Dodgers to acquire Dan Haren from the Arizona Diamondbacks. He fortified the team's starting rotation for the stretch run, and featured an additional season of team control to add additional value. The Diamondbacks received a hefty package in return, but all this time later, who's winning?

As with all of these trade retrospectives, only the initial decision to make the trade is considered. Future extensions or trades involving the same players that retroactively change perceptions of the trade are not considered in the evaluation. To determine the winner, FanGraphs' fWAR and free agent dollar values are used to create surplus value measures. Information about team control and player salaries are found at Baseball-Reference.

As has been included in the past, some considerations are made to adjust for the heightened value of winning present day games relative to future games. This comes in the form of future win depreciation - the below rates are applied to wins that occurred in those seasons.

Year 2011 Value 2011 WAR
2010 150% 0.67
2011 100% 1.00
2012 75% 1.33
2013 55% 1.82
2014 40% 2.50
2015 30% 3.33

As this is the first July deadline deal in this series, I've added the 2010 entry. To this point, the series has revolved around the 2011 offseason, and as this came just shortly before, the new value is still relative to 2011 wins.

The Deal

That July, the Angels needed another starting pitcher to shore up their rotation behind Jered Weaver, Ervin Santana, and Joel Piniero - and found one in Dan Haren. Haren was the Cardinals' second round pick in 2001, and made it to the Majors in 2003. He saw sparse playing time over the next two seasons, and emerged as a workhorse starter after a trade to the Athletics in 2005.

He would have seven straight seasons of at least 200 innings pitched, and make at least 30 starts in every season until his retirement in 2015. From 2005-2010, his 27.8 fWAR made him one of the top five pitchers in baseball. His 1343.0 innings pitched came only second behind CC Sabathia. He had a year and a half of team control remaining.

To pry him from Arizona, Anaheim had to sacrifice some high upside pieces. One of the more interesting pieces in the package was Patrick Corbin, himself a second round draft pick of the Angels in 2009. He projected to be a back-end left-handed starter, and was in the midst of his first full minor league season at the time of the trade.

Joining him (initially as a player to be named later) was Tyler Skaggs, a pitcher with a slightly higher profile at the time. He was one of the Angels numerous first round picks in 2009 (most of whom have turned out alright), and struck out a ton of batters from the left side without premium velocity. He had yet to become a Top 100 prospect, but following the season would be included on lists for each of the next three years.

Joe Saunders was the main Major League piece of the return, and was a standard issue fourth starter in the seasons leading up to the trade. The Angels had picked him in the first round in 2002, and had produced 6.0 fWAR over 692.0 innings pitched in his career prior to the trade. He had a season and a half of team control remaining, and appeared to be included in the deal as a durable innings eater.

The final piece, Rafael Rodriguez, was a quad-A reliever who didn't generate a lot of strikeouts. He made his Major League debut in 2009, but kept all six seasons of team control at the time of the trade.

The Ripples

Angels Transaction With To/By/With For
Dan Haren Free Agency

The Angels' transactional family tree is pretty sparse on this deal - Dan Haren was allowed to hit free agency following the 2011 season, and there were no reverberating moves.

Diamondbacks Transaction With To/By/With For
Rafael Rodriguez Released
Joe Saunders Traded Cash Orioles Matt Lindstrom
Tyler Skaggs Traded Adam Eaton Angels / White Sox A.J. Schugel
Brandon Jacobs
Mark Trumbo
A.J. Schugel Claimed Mariners
Brandon Jacobs Released
Mark Trumbo Traded Vidal Nuno Mariners Gabriel Guerrero
Jack Reinheimer
Welington Castillo
Dominic Leone

The Diamondbacks' transactional family tree is far more interesting. Joe Saunders was traded again at the next trade deadline with cash considerations for reliever Matt Lindstrom. Rafael Rodriguez saw only 2.2 innings of work with the Diamondbacks, and was released in July.

Patrick Corbin reached the Major Leagues and established himself in the Arizona starting rotation. Tyler Skaggs was traded back to the Angels in another interesting trade - a three way deal sending Adam Eaton to the White Sox, and Mark Trumbo to Diamondbacks.

That trade also featured two further young players - reliever A.J. Schugel was claimed multiple times during the 2015 offseason and outfielder Brandon Jacobs was a former Top 100 prospect who was later released by Arizona.

Trumbo himself was moved during the 2015 season, sent to the Seattle Mariners for four young prospects. Gabriel Guerrero, Jack Reinheimer, Welington Castillo, and Dominic Leone are all still in the Diamondbacks organization.

The Results

Remaining Control fWAR Salary (M) FA Value (M) Surplus Value (M) Surplus Value - Adj (M)
Dan Haren 0 7.9 $16.25 $57.50 $41.25 $44.95
--
Patrick Corbin 3 6.1 $1.53 $44.80 $43.27 $23.63
Tyler Skaggs 4 1.5 $1.02 $11.00 $9.98 $3.79
Joe Saunders 0 1.1 $11.50 $7.80 $(3.70) $(4.65)
Rafael Rodriguez 6 -0.1 $- $(0.50) $(0.50) $(0.75)
--
Angels Total 0 7.9 $16.25 $57.50 $41.25 $44.95
Diamondbacks Total 13 8.6 $14.05 $63.10 $49.05 $22.02

The evaluation of this trade comes down to whether the evaluating party wants to use my future win depreciation values. Dan Haren burst out of the gate in 2011 to have one of the best seasons of his career (6.1 fWAR, 238.1 IP). Banking all of that value so immediately is a difficult task to overcome.

It is a difficult task, but Corbin attempted to do it. He emerged as an All-Star threw over 200 innings in 2013. He far exceeded expectations and appeared to be something close to a mid-rotation starter before requiring Tommy John surgery during 2014 Spring Training. He returned mid-2015, appearing close to his prior form.

Skaggs has not yet emerged as observers hoped, and is only now returning from his own elbow operation. He looked strong through the early part of 2014 (1.5 fWAR) before his injury, and the Angels are hoping he can seize a rotation spot in 2016.

Saunders performed as a serviceable rotation piece in 2011 before his trade to the Orioles, and hit free agency. Rodriguez had minimal impact following the trade.

If you are inclined to use the pure surplus value metric, the Diamondbacks have a slight edge ($7.8 million) over the Angels, although Anaheim produced that value among three fewer roster spots. If you are inclined to do some kind of future win depreciation, the Angels are winning by a fairly wide margin ($22.93 million).

I'm partial to the latter method, and by that measure I'd conclude that at this point in time, the Angels still got the better end of this trade. However, this is still a snapshot in time - there's a lot of potential (and team control) remaining in Skaggs and Corbin to shrink the lead.

. . .

Spencer Bingol is a Contributing Editor at Beyond the Box Score. You can follow him on Twitter at @SpencerBingol.