Big League Stew

Rumored Dan Haren for Carlos Marmol deal falls apart, Angels decline veteran’s option

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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(AP Photos)

After dealing Ervin Santana to the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday, it was believed Los Angeles Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto still had one more big trade to make in regards to reshaping his starting rotation. On Friday night, it appeared that shoe was ready to drop as several sources, beginning with Yancen Pujols, reported that right-hander Dan Haren had been traded to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Carlos Marmol.

All indications were that Marmol was on board with the trade, which was a key due to his ability to veto the deal. Once CBS Sports' Jon Heyman confirmed it via Twitter just before 8 p.m. ET, it all but seemed like a done deal. But, as was the case with the nearly completed Cubs trade sending Ryan Dempster to the Atlanta Braves back in July, bumps in the road began popping up at every turn, and just before 10:30 ET it was reported to be "not happening" by MLB.com's Carrie Muskat.

Muskat later posted a Carlos Marmol trade timeline, which proved to be just as wild a roller coaster ride as many of Marmol's save opportunities. Here's a quick excerpt:

8:29 p.m. CT: Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports the two sides have not agreed to a trade, although he says the Cubs did ask Marmol if he'd be willing to waive his no-trade clause to go to Anaheim.

8:42 p.m. CT: Rosenthal reports the deal will happen if Marmol agrees to the Angels.

9:20 p.m. CT: A Cubs source tells MLB.com the trade is not happening.

What looked like a marvelous trade for Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein was now off the table, and apparently it was their own doing. Had it gone through, I was prepared to praise the Cubs duo for turning an erratic closer with a lousy contract into a worthwhile starter that, if healthy, plugs right in at the top of their rotation.

Of course you can't overlook the back problems Haren fought through and struggled with in 2012, leading to a largely disappointing season. That could be one of the reason Chicago ultimately pulled out, but it seemed like there was little to no risk in spending that money during a rebuilding year with the hope that Haren can rehab his health and his value to the point that he'll be in high demand come July when everyone starts looking for starting pitching depth.

It's the exact type of deal a rebuilding general manager should aim to make, but at the end of the day Hoyer and company felt uncomfortable doing so. Perhaps there was a money issue also in play, or maybe they simply came to the realization they could pursue Haren at more reasonable price a few hours later, because just like the Santana trade, this potential deal began taking shape just hours before Dipoto was to decide on picking up Haren's $15.5 million club option for 2013.

After fielding other calls throughout the night, Dipoto decided to decline that option and instead bought Haren out for $3.5 million. He immediately became a free agent available to be bid on by the Cubs or whoever else might be interested.

As for the Angels side of the potential trade, they had hoped to strengthen the back end of their bullpen this winter. The addition of Marmol would have fallen right in line with that desire, but considering his history and salary, I'm sure there's a better option out there waiting for them if they remain patient. But looking beyond that their main goal behind all of this maneuvering — including not extending a qualifying offer to Torii Hunter — is to make room for a Zack Greinke return, so how their offseason is graded could ultimately hinge on his re-signing.

But regardless of how the Greinke and bullpen situations play out, one thing we know for sure is that Jerry Dipoto continues to be among the busiest general managers in the game. One would think he couldn't possibly keep pace with all the major moves he made last winter, but if this first week is any indication, maybe he can.

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