Grading the Chicago Cubs pre-trade deadline moves

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Cubs Trade Minor League Prospects for Pitcher Dan Haren

Jul 19, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Dan Haren (15) reacts after allowing a home run during the second inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday afternoon, ESPN writer Jesse Rogers reported that the Chicago Cubs traded for Miami Marlins starting pitcher Dan Haren and cash considerations in exchange for minor league prospects Ivan Pineyro and Elliot Soto.

Haren is a 13 year MLB veteran that has a 3.42 ERA and a 7-7 record across 21 starts this season.


The Chicago Cubs entered this week knowing that they needed to trade for a starting pitcher that could solidify the back-end of their rotation. They accomplished this goal with the signing of Dan Haren. He is a veteran pitcher that has been in the playoffs twice in his career and isn’t afraid of the big moment when it comes to pitching in the postseason or down the stretch in tight playoff races. Additionally, according to ESPN stats and info, Haren is the only pitcher besides Mark Buehrle to start at least 30 games in each of  the last ten seasons.Haren has averaged 6 1/3 innings of work per start. This reliability and workhorse production is important for a Cubs team that needs a quality arm to eat up innings at the back-end of the rotation. Additionally, the acquisition of Haren ends the carousel of pitchers that has rotated at the back-end of the rotation this season. Collectively, the five pitchers (Wood,Wada, Richard,Beeler, Roach) that have filled the five-spot in the rotation this season, have an average ERA of 6.81. Haren is better than this.

The best part about Haren is that he is free. The Los Angeles Dodgers are paying the rest of his $10 million salary this season. Although he becomes an unrestricted free agent after this season, he is worth the rental because he is free.

As with any pitcher, Haren has his weaknesses. He is susceptible to giving up the long ball, surrendering 21 home runs in 129 innings of work this season. In addition, he pitches to contact only averaging 6.1 strikeouts per nine innings. This is potentially problematic for a Chicago Cubs defense that ranks number sixth in the Majors in total errors with 69.

Another important element to consider when evaluating this trade is the prospects that the Chicago Cubs gave up to get Haren.

Ivan Pineyro

The 23-year-old prospect played for the Chicago Cubs Double-A affiliate this season before the recent trade. In 19 games, he has a 7-5 record to go along with a 3.69 ERA and 1.248 WHIP. Despite these decent numbers, Pineyro’s chances of getting called up to the Cubs in the foreseeable future were unlikely. In their 2015 rankings, didn’t include Pineyro in its list of the Cubs top 30 prospects. Overall, the Cubs had three pitchers among their top ten rated prospects making Pineyro expendable.

Elliot Soto

Soto was expendable because of his position. The middle infielder faced an uphill battle in his quest to climb the rungs of the Cubs organizational ladder because of the logjam that this team has at these positions within their system. Starlin Castro, Addison Russell and Javier Baez are all 25 years old or younger and play the middle infield positions. In addition, in the aforementioned Cubs prospect rankings, Gleyber Torres is the second ranked prospect and also happens to play shortstop.

Grade: B

It wasn’t a blockbuster trade, but the Cubs filled a need without giving up any of their top prospects.

Next: Rating Lake for Hunter