If the New York Yankees were to land Arizona's Dan Haren, they would be getting a top pitcher to add to their already impressive group of starters.
The Diamondbacks' hurler is currently having a difficult 2010, posting a 7-8 record with an ERA of 4.60. Haren, though, is only a year removed from a fantastic season where he went 14-10 with an ERA of 3.14, and 223 strikeouts.
He represents greater value than Roy Oswalt, who is due $16 million in 2011 with an option for the same amount in 2012. Haren is set to earn $12.75 million for each of the next two seasons but also carries a 2013 option of $15.5 million.
Judging by the inflated contracts given out to halfway decent free-agent starters, Haren's deal is quite reasonable.
Cliff Lee had been close to joining the Yankees but talks with the Mariners broke down, and the lefty was eventually dealt to Texas. Yankees' GM Brian Cashman maintains an interest in signing Lee in the offseason but he will demand "Halladay-like" figures in free agency or even command an annual salary and contract length similar to C.C. Sabathia if a New York-Boston bidding war emerges.
Cashman has been tracking Haren for quite some time and was rumored to have pursued a trade for the 29-year-old in his younger days with the Oakland Athletics.
The Diamondbacks are said to want top-level prospects in return for the starter, and in this case the Yankees' GM should consider dealing either of their two most heralded minor-league pitchers, Iván Nova or Zach McAllister.
Arizona might have a greater interest in McAllister as his career outlook tends to be that of a legitimate major league starter, and also is the son of its scout, Steve McAllister.
It is unclear how much Diamondbacks' GM Jerry Dipoto would want for Haren, but some writers have speculated the Yankees could be sending away the two prospects as well as the struggling Joba Chamberlain.
In the potential deal for Lee, Cashman smartly chose to hold onto his farmhands, as the trade centered around hot-hitting catching prospect Jesús Montero. Giving up top minor-league talent for a player who could essentially be a "rent-a-player" like Lee would be foolish, but in Haren's case, would be worthwhile.
Outside of this year, Haren has consistently been a 220 inning workhorse who has stayed clear of injury, starting nearly 34 games every season since 2005. Between 2007-2009, his strikeout totals have averaged 207 per year and his ERA comes out to 3.18.
The Yankees would be keen to replace the underwhelming Javier Vázquez's spot in the 2011 rotation with Haren, and the 38-year-old Andy Pettitte may retire despite his terrific 2010 numbers.
Haren "ticks all the boxes" of a great acquisition and would be a perfect fit to join to New York's already incredible pitching arsenal.
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