The Los Angeles Angels are so intent on trading Dan Haren that the pitcher confirmed it himself this week, and rumors Friday night suggest that they were maybe a little too eager—they reportedly traded the former Cardinals prospect to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for wild reliever Carlos Marmol. Bleed Cubbie Blue is, predictably, very excited about the move. They should be: Theo Epstein appears to have traded an expensive reliever who isn't very good for an expensive starter whose worst-season-ever 2012 was just fine.
Haren lost some velocity last year, so it's reasonable to assume that the 32-year-old didn't just suffer a random down year. But even with his new sub-90 fastball he struck out 7.2 batters per nine innings against 1.9 walks, for a K:BB ratio that ranked ninth in the American League.
As for Marmol, he's had some big seasons out of the Cubs' bullpen, but relievers don't age especially well, and he's coming off a season in which he walked 7.3 batters per nine innings. He walked more batters (45) in 55 innings than Haren did (38) in 177. He also pitches 50 to 70 innings a year, instead of 170 to 220.
Dan Haren might be done—but then, Carlos Marmol might be, too. Haren is a big improvement to the Cubs' pitching staff, and good news for any Wrigleyvillian who was still skeptical of the Epstein regime.