Angels Acquire Haren, Send Four Players To D-Backs





The Deal
If the Angels do cede the American League West title to the Rangers this season, they won't do so quietly. Mimicking their rivals in Arlington, Texas, Los Angeles traded for the best pitcher available, acquiring righthander Dan Haren from the Diamondbacks for a package of four players. Among the quartet is lefty Joe Saunders, who was in the midst of a typical season in the Angels rotation.

Also headed to Arizona: lefty Pat Cobin, the Angels' second-round pick in 2009 who advanced quickly to high Class A this season, Triple-A reliever Rafael Rodriguez and a player to be named. Initial reports suggest that the PTBN is 19-year-old lefty Tyler Skaggs, a Southern California prep product whom the Angels selected 40th overall in 2009. However, the Angels cannot officially trade Skaggs until Aug. 7, or one year after his signing date.

UPDATE: The Angels officially traded Skaggs to the Diamondbacks, completing the deal on Aug. 7, 2010. As the player to be named, Skaggs had not pitched in the Angels system since the Haren trade was struck two weeks prior. "I can't lift weights, I can't throw bullpens or anything. It's just long toss and run and sit on the bench," Skaggs told the Orange County Register, speaking of his two weeks in professional limbo.

As the Angels seek their fourth straight AL West title, they enter play on July 26, their first day with Haren, as playoff long shots. They trail the Rangers by seven games in the West and the Rays by nine games for the wild card. But with as many as three years left on his deal, Haren offers help to Los Angeles for this season and beyond. Plus, the Pepperdine product has distinct Southern California roots and welcomed a return home.

For years the Angels shied away from in-season player acquisitions made at the expense of young talent, but for the past three seasons they've relied on late-summer deals to put them over the top. In 2008 they snagged Mark Teixeira from the Braves; in '09 they brought aboard Scott Kazmir; and this season they've further depleted the prospect reservoir to acquire Alberto Callaspo and now Haren, all in the span of three days. The total cost in players: Casey Kotchman and Stephen Marek (for Teixeira, whose free agent departure resulted in compensation draft picks used to select Skaggs and Mike Trout); Sean Rodriguez, Alex Torres and Matt Sweeney (for Kazmir); Sean O'Sullivan and Will Smith (for Callaspo); and now Saunders, Corbin, Rodriguez and possibly Skaggs.

Los Angeles' recent trade activity could be interpreted as a response to the Rangers' free-wheeling summer, during which they brought aboard catcher Bengie Molina and '08 Cy Young Award-winning lefty Cliff Lee. Those deals cost Texas six players, including first-round picks Blake Beavan, Michael Main and Justin Smoak.
 
Diamondbacks Acquire
Pat Corbin, lhp
Age: 21.
Born: July 19, 1989 in Clay, N.Y.
Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 178. Bats: L. Throws: L.
School: Chipola (Fla.) JC.
Career Transactions: Selected by Angels in second round of 2009 draft; signed June 18, 2009.

Club (League) Class W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Cedar Rapids (MWL) LoA 8 0 3.86 9 9 0 58 52 28 25 2 10 42 1.06
R.Cucamonga (CAL) HiA 5 3 3.88 11 11 0 60 57 29 26 7 18 64 1.24
Total 13 3 3.87 20 20 0 119 109 57 51 9 28 106 1.15

Corbin earned a promotion to Rancho Cucamonga in late May, leaving Garrett Richards and Tyler Kehrer behind in low Class A. This is significant because Richards and Kehrer, both products of four-year college programs, were selected ahead of Corbin in the 2009 draft. A natural athlete and a pitching coach's dream, Corbin eagerly attacks the strike zone with a solid fastball/slider mix. He pitches down in the zone with sink at 87-90 mph, and his ball alternately features cutting and tailing action. His changeup is less advanced, but he's shown a willingness to work on the pitch, flashing average from time to time. Corbin dedicated himself fully to pitching in 2009, and he's shown remarkable progress in just two years, hinting at a future as a strike-throwing, mid-rotation starter.
 
Rafael Rodriguez, rhp
Age: 25.
Born: Sept. 24, 1984 in Cotui, Dominican Republic.
Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 175. Bats: R. Throws: R.
Career Transactions: Signed as nondrafted free agent by Angels, July 20, 2001.

Club (League) Class W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Salt Lake (PCL) AAA 5 3 3.04 37 0 10 50 41 19 17 5 15 30 1.11
Los Angeles (AL) MLB 0 0 4.50 1 0 0 2 1 1 1 0 2 1 1.50

Success has not followed Rodriguez to the big leagues (5.51 ERA, 1.81 WHIP in 19 appearances), but he's been a steady performer in Triple-A for the last two seasons. While he doesn't profile as a high-leverage reliever, Rodriguez has three average offerings that would suit him in middle relief. He pitches at 89-93 mph with sink, mixing in a pair of mid-80s secondary pitches: a changeup with split action and a slider with occasional tilt. Rodriguez signed for $780,000, a record for an international amateur signed by the Angels.
 
Tyler Skaggs, lhp
Age: 19.
Born: July 13, 1991 in Venice, Calif.
Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 195. Bats: L. Throws: L.
School: Santa Monica (Calif.) HS.
Career Transactions: Selected by Angels in supplemental first round (40th overall) of 2009 draft; signed Aug. 7, 2009.

Club (League) Class W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Cedar Rapids (MWL) LoA 8 4 3.61 19 14 0 82 78 35 33 6 21 82 1.20

Skaggs represents the textbook definition of projectable—he's long-limbed, athletic and blessed with incredible arm speed. He delivers a lively 88-91 mph fastball down in the zone, and he could sit more comfortably at 92-93 when his upper body matures. His hard mid-80s slider is a knockout offering that features two-plane break, though he'll need to continue refining his changeup to profile as a front-end starter.
 
Joe Saunders, lhp
Age: 29. Remaining Commitment: 2 arbitration years remain (2011 and '12) prior to free agency ($3.7 million salary in '10).
Contract details courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts.

Club (League) YEAR W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Los Angeles (AL) 2008 17 7 3.41 31 31 0 198 187 82 75 21 53 103 1.21
Los Angeles (AL) 2009 16 7 4.60 31 31 0 186 202 102 95 29 64 101 1.43
Los Angeles (AL) 2010 6 10 4.62 20 20 0 121 135 70 62 14 45 64 1.49
3-Year Totals 39 24 4.14 82 82 0 505 524 254 232 64 162 268 1.36
 
Angels Acquire
Dan Haren, rhp
Age: 29. Remaining Commitment: Remainder of $8.25 million salary for this season, plus $12.75 million in both '11 and '12 and $15.5 million club option for '13 ($3.5 million buyout).
Contract details courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts.

Club (League) YEAR W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Arizona (NL) 2008 16 8 3.33 33 33 0 216 204 86 80 19 40 206 1.13
Arizona (NL) 2009 14 10 3.14 33 33 0 229 192 83 80 27 38 223 1.00
Arizona (NL) 2010 7 8 4.60 21 21 0 141 161 79 72 23 29 141 1.35
3-Year Totals 37 26 3.56 87 87 0 586 557 248 232 69 107 570 1.13

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