Breaking down the Dan Haren trade

When  most fans look at trades, they generally only consider the talent levels of the players involved. The most important factor in trades that gets overlooked is contract. More specifically, the difference between what you have to pay a player and what he earns. That’s his residual value, that’s what you typically have to make up for in a potential deal. That’s why players earning good money tend to go for far less in terms of talent than one would expect, and why Alex Rodriguez was recently ranked the most untradeable player in Baseball, despite the fact that he’s still a top performer. Of course, sellers will always try to get as much as they can and be happy if someone is willing to overpay, but that doesn’t happen all that much. GMs that overpay in trades usually don’t get to make that mistake twice.

With that in mind, here’s Harens net trade value:

5 year Dollar value





2010-$15.1 (est)

Total-$107 mil (21.4 annual average)

His contract going forward pays him 12.75 mil over the next two seasons  and 15 mil for 2013 (3.5 buyout). That means the net residual value is 23.7 million, assuming he continues to perform and the 2013 option is picked up. According to Victor Wang’s trade calculator players at various levels of the BA Top 100 list have certain values based on their position on the list. Unfortunately, none of the players AZ acquired show up on that list, so you put them down currently as a zero.

Joe Saunders has produced an average dollar value over the past 5 years of $4.82 mil. He’s still arbitration eligible, and has roughly 2 more years before he hits free agency. He earned 3.7 mil this year, so he figures to add about 2 mil in net value to the equation if his salary stayed the same. But Dave Cameron Tweeted that if Saunders nets around 6 mil in arb next year (which is likely) then he’s not even worth his salary.

Finally, the PTBNL was Tyler Skaggs and it appears he’s the best prospect in the package. He was the 40th overall pick from the 2009 draft. He’s currently posting a 3.61 ERA through 19 appearances in the Midwest League. It looks like the D-Backs were targeting lefthanders since 3 of the pitchers they acquired are lefties.

This deal looks like a pure salary dump. Perhaps the team accommodated Haren by moving him to the west coast, where he wanted to go. Arizona has long had a rep for being very player friendly. But any way you calculate this, it looks like a big loss for the Diamondbacks.