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Haren Trade Not Just For This Season

The Angels acquisition of Dan Haren today was a shocking coup, a surprising move that gives the Angels one of the best starting pitchers in the game. Superficially, we may see the 7-8 record and 4.60 ERA and think Haren is having a bad year. But he is still effective, and his peripherals suggest a better year.

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Using Fangraphs, we can see where Haren has ranked in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) over the last few seasons:

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2010: 2.6 WAR (24th in MLB)
↵2009: 6.1 (9th)
↵2008: 6.5 (5th)
↵2007: 4.9 (15th)
↵2006: 4.0 (27th)

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Even in a down year like this year, Haren is still good for between three and four wins above a replacement player at the very least. He is under contract through 2012 with an option for 2013, with a minimum total guaranteed of $29 million over two years, or $41 million over three years. That is a below market rate for a pitcher of Haren’s caliber.

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The optimism of the Haren trade was tempered today by the Angels dropping their third of four games in Texas this weekend, falling seven games behind the Rangers in the American League West. The chances for the Angels making the playoffs this season are not very good, but with Haren and Jered Weaver at the top of the rotation for the next few years, they will be strong contenders in future campaigns.