Steroids! Actually, No. Hot Stove Talk Instead.

Dan Haren will be bringing his sexy locks to Arizona for the next three seasons. 

Dan Haren was traded to the Diamondbacks along with Connor Robertson for tremendous quantity and solid quality.  The big name coming back to Oakland is Carlos Gonzalez, a potential All-Star caliber outfielder.  Along with Gonzalez, the A’s got themselves three decent left-handed starting pitching candidates in Dana Eveland, Greg Smith, and Brett Anderson, as well as recently traded 1B prospect Chris Carter and OF Aaron Cunningham

Overall I must say I thought the A’s could have gotten more top grade prospects for Haren, who is under contract at a reasonable rate for 3 more years and has been extremely durable over his entire time in Oakland.  While Haren is certainly not in the same class as Johan Santana, he is a bonafied #2 starter on a World Series contender in either league and should be worthy of two grade A prospects with high likelihoods of making a large contribution in the Majors.  This trade could end up as a find for the A’s, who certainly picked up a whopping 6 potential Major League contributors, but it appears a lot of luck in development and young pitchers avoiding injury will play just as much of a role in the outcome of this trade as will Oakland’s ability to evaluate talent. 

In another move, the D-Backs sent Jose Valverde to the Astros for Chad Qualls, Chris Burke, and minor leaguer Juan Gutierrez.  A quick breakdown: Valverde was excellent last year for the Diamondbacks, but his performance could be semi-flukeish and he has serious injury potential.  Chad Qualls is a solid reliever in a set-up role, Chris Burke is a fallen prospect who adds some possible depth to the D-Back bench, and Gutierrez is a mediocre pitching prospect who could jump into the end of the Arizona rotation within a couple years.  Overall it’s an interesting move for both teams, one that I’m not sure I would have made if I were Arizona, but I can see why they did it.

Arizona clearly has established itself as a top contender in the National League with such a formidable top of the rotation, assuming its offense learns it doesn’t need to swing at every pitch thrown its way, which is quite probable considering the tremendous youth the team sports in its line-up. 

Houston still sucks.

Jim Edmonds and cash to the Padres for prospect David Freese.  This trade nets the Pads their starting CF for the coming season, in theory.  However, given that Edmonds will cost them a good deal of money (about $8 million after the Cards chip in a million of their own), has regressed offensively 4 years running, and clearly is not the same type of defensive player after years of crashing into walls and diving on every catch rather than running full speed to catch a ball in the air, we can most likely expect the new Padre to miss significant time and perform poorly when in the line-up.  San Diego’s monstrous outfield will only hurt Edmonds, as his shrinking range and power will be spotlighted.  As far as David Freese is concerned, he is a mediocre prospect with a chance to find himself of a Major League roster in some capacity in the future, but this deal was more about a salary dump than anything for St. Louis, making it a nice move for the Cardinals.

Japanese reliever Kazuo Fukumori signed with Texas.  Interestingly enough, another Japanese reliever, Akinori Otsuka, owner of impressive career numbers in the Majors, was let go by the team in order to clear a spot on their 40 man roster.  Otsuka will be a smart pick-up for cheap by someone.  Not sure about Fukumori, whose numbers don’t translate to great success by any means, but at such a low cost, and considering he’ll have the advantage of being unscouted for much of his first year, it’s worth a shot for the Rangers.

Mike Lamb signed with Minnesota for 2 years and $6.6 million, with a an option year at the end of the deal.  Not a bad signing, at least it means Minny can stop wasting at-bats on Nick Punto.

The Yanks are still candidates for Johan Santana.  What a shock!…pause…not.

UPDATE: Hiroki Kuroda has decided to sign with the Dodgers.  Based on some simple scouting reports and his numbers over in Japan, I would expect him to be a solid #3/4 starter, perhaps with a year or two above that projection in the NL.  He doesn’t have dominant stuff, however, which is backed up by his only solid strikeout numbers in Japan, so there’s a chance we could see him struggle in the Majors.

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