GAME TIME 9:05 CDTi understood the rationale behind the haren trade. it hasn't worked out well (to say the last), and those who panned it at the time as a disaster were 100 percent correct. but i can't condemn jocketty for making it. for one thing, i'd be a hypocrite --- i thought it was a reasonable gamble to take at that time. the cardinals were in win-now mode heading into 2005, with walker, morris, sanders, and carpenter all heading into the final year of their contract and matheny and williams already having left. at the time of the trade, the only pitchers under contract beyond '05 were suppan and marquis; it looked like '05 might be their last, best chance for a while. so the cards went for it --- consciously wagered the future hoping to cash in on the present.
moreover, at that time the rotation was thought to need a true #1. chris carpenter wasn't regarded as one yet --- he hadn't won any cy young awards as of december 2004, hadn't pitched in the playoffs, hadn't won 20 games in a season or put up a sub-3.00 era. nobody knew for sure if his 2004 numbers (15-5, 3.46 era) represented an aberration or a new level of ability. his stature was nowhere near that of mark mulder, who was brought here to give the cardinals a fighting chance in the playoffs against someone like clemens, schilling, or big unit.
the cards had a chance to win a championship, and they went for it; they had a weakness at the top of the rotation and they addressed it aggressively. it was costly, but with wainwright and reyes in the pipeline, the cardinals thought they could afford to lose haren . . . . . i'm not going to sit here and tell you it was a good trade, because it obviously set the organization back. but i also don't think jocketty was blind to that cost; he weighed the tradeoff and made the gamble, and as it turned out the cards already had an ace on the roster --- and if they hadn't, mulder wouldn't have filled the bill anyway.
whatever; you pays your money and you takes your chances.
so here's a pointless, painful exercise: suppose dan haren had stayed with the cardinals and had put up the exact same stats for st louis that he did for the athletics. where would he rank on the all-time franchise leaderboard? he would have qualified just this year for inclusion on those lists, which require a minimum of 75 career decisions; haren now has 78 (split between the a's and cards), and he passed the 500-inning minimum last season. a quick look:
- K/BB ratio: haren (3.10) would rank third, behind carpenter and bob tewksbury; cy young ranks 4th, darryl kile 5th.
- WHIP: haren (1.197) would rank 15th, just ahead of woody williams and two spots behind gibson
- adjusted era+: haren (117) would be tied for 22d with woody williams and jumbo mcginnis, and just ahead of matt morris. bob gibson's era+ was 127; darryl kile's, 124; jeff suppan's, 109.
- h/9: haren (8.61) would be tied for 33d with lynn mcglothen
- winning pct: haren (.526) would be tied for 40th with john denny.
i've completed my jury service; the case ended in a conviction on all counts. i'll put the details in a diary, for any who are curious.
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