The Angels made the biggest trade of the season on July 25 when they acquired Dan Haren from the Arizona Diamondbacks for fan favorite Joe Saunders and minor leaguers Rafael Rodriguez, Pat Corbin and Tyler Skaggs.
The trade itself was a sell-high on Saunders, whose value would never have been higher. With few pitchers of Haren's caliber available, Saunders brought in the big fish and went on to lead the league in games lost with 17 combined between Arizona and the Angels in 2010. Looking down the road a bit, the Angels may have gotten rid of some future studs in Corbin and Skaggs, but if Haren's 2010 performance here was any indication, three more seasons of near-ace contention-ready right handed pitching is worth two in the bush leagues.
Haren pitched great for the Angels in the two months he was here. He averaged over seven strikeouts per nine innings pitched and had a 1.1 WHIP as an Angel. HE threw 94 innings with an ERA+ of 142. That is Ace with a capital A material, albeit in a sample size of about 40 percent of a full season's worth of innings. Haren turned thirty years old on September 17. He struck out 216 batters over the 35 Games he started in the entire 2010 season.
Dan Haren is under contract for the 2011 and 2012 season and the Angels have an option for 2013. There is that ugly bug in the room when it comes to praising late-season pitching trades... you know the slight caveat that Scott Kazmir had a kick-@$$ 40 days pitching for the Angels in 2009 after being acquired in an August trade. But you can go back and compose a best-of '09 list with the blessings of hindsight, me I have one more addition to make to this top ten highlight list and then it s all about looking forward to 2011...