Dan Haren was pretty darn happy about being moved to the 52-48 L.A. Angels of Anaheim. Or, the Anaheim Angels. Or, the California Angels. Or, really, who cares what they are called these days? I doubt Haren does as long as they are winning and competing for something and are well-supported by their fans.
"Oh yeah. Just going there and playing in these games that are going to be real meaningful. I know we've got the Red Sox and then the Texas series this weekend that I'm sure I'll be throwing in ... The crowd there is always good," Haren said with a smile. "It's been tough going for starting pitchers; just getting wins here has been tough. When you're not winning, it's not fun."
With this deal, Haren is taking his talents to California where the weather is nice, the crowd is pumped and his wife will be happier.
Now the fun can return to Haren's professional life and his personal one.
"I couldn't wait to call my wife," he said. "She's the most excited of anybody, to be honest with you. She gets to go live right next to her family - her sister, her mom and her brother. So, she's pretty pumped."
And fellas, really... what else can you ask for?
The Diamondbacks, on the other hand, are doing a good job sounding pumped, as well. And who knows... maybe it will all work out.
Looking at early reaction from around Twitter and whatnot, it's pretty clear that a lot of fans see this as a salary dump and don't feel like their team got fair value.
Needless to say, interim general manager Jerry Dipoto has another point of view.
It should be noted that Jerry has a real future as a GM as long as winning the press conference is considered an important part of the job. That guy is slick as they come in front of the cameras.
"We got to what we wanted to get to," Dipoto said. "We were able to add to our club now, we were able to provide for our club's future and at the same time we were able to create a better balance and flexibility in the way our dollars have been allocated on our major league payroll, in order to better tend to the different holes that exist on the club as it stands today."
So if you follow the party line, here's how this helps the Diamondbacks.
Immediate rotation pitcher
In Joe Saunders, they get a guy who they consider a durable, quality starter with a proven record of winning and experience in the postseason. He's having a down year, but, then again, so is Haren.
Saunders will spend Monday in Anaheim packing his shoes and then join the club in Philly on Tuesday and pitch on Thursday. Welcome, Joe.
Immediate bullpen depth
With Rafael Rodriguez, the D-backs get bullpen depth from a guy who's had a couple of looks at the major league level. He's 25 years old with a power right arm and can step in right away with the big club. Rodriguez will move from Triple-A Salt Lake to Triple-A Reno for the time being.
Left-handed pitching prospects
Partick Corbin is a 21-year-old lefty who's tearing it up in his first year as a pro. He's 13-3 so far and "shows good promise." Corbin will likely finish out the season in the Diamondbacks farm system, pitching for the Visalia Rawhide in California. He was a second round pick by the Angels last year.
"He's got a fastball that will touch, plus he's got a change-up and breaking ball, both of which are advanced for his point in development. We don't want to pin a date on when he'll join the major league club; he's a development prospect right now and we feel excited about his upside," Dipoto said.
The final player to be named later is rumored to be Tyler Skaggs, whom the Diamondbacks liked in last year's draft. Officially, Dipoto has given the Angels a couple of names for that slot and, "We're excited about those names, as well."
Skaggs is another young lefty. Here's the scouting report on him.
Cash money, yo
This deal will save the Diamondbacks a lot of money.
Like maybe $20 million.
"There's no getting around the fact that Dan Haren made more money than Joe Saunders this year," Dipoto said. "But the fact is that Joe Saunders comes in as a very well paid, very accomplished major league pitcher and we feel like he joins our rotation and now affords us some flexibility to be creative in other areas as well."
Patience is called for
We will just have to wait and see if that flexibility turns into paying cheap young talent next year to have another bad season or if this money is used to make the team better. We won't know that answer for some time to come, so it's not fair to call this a straight salary dump.
It is fair to be skeptical and keep a watchful eye on what happens next.
The Padres and Blue Jays made similar deals that traded their ace pitcher away for the kind of package we see here and it worked out well for both clubs and didn't take years to pay dividends, either. That could happen. Or the Diamondbacks could go nowhere.
One thing is clear: in Phoenix, there is not nearly the history and tradition to support a losing team. If they want butts in the seats, they will have to put a quality team on the field. That holds true for every pro team in town, but even moreso for this one.
Press conference audio: