There’s a minor unspoken rule that interim GMs shouldn’t make trades because they’re only in power for such a little time and it’s easier for an incoming GM to take over the team as is. Also, sometimes the interim GM makes a terrible trade.
For reference, this is what the Diamondbacks traded for to get Dan Haren and then got back when they traded him away. C/O a D-Backs fan:
We originally obtained Dan Haren [before the 2008 season] by trading Carlos Gonzalez, Brett Anderson, Aaron Cunningham, Greg Smith, Dana Eveland, and Chris Carter. Which means now, in essence, we traded all those names for.. Joe Saunders, Patrick Corbin, Rafael Rodriguez, and what might be Tyler Skaggs if we’re lucky.
Not necessarily, because the D-Backs did get two and a half years of Haren out of that deal.
D-Backs Interim GM Jerry DiPoto, however, cited wins and winning percentage as one of the main reasons he chose to acquire Joe Saunders. No stupid deed goes unpunished.
So a legit centerfielder, a legit starter (and maybe No. 1), two decent back-end starters, and a high-end OF prospect for two and a half years of Haren. Oakland got quite a bit out of that trade and with good reason: Haren was legit.
Let’s give some historical context, though. The D-Backs just wrapped up a 90-win season and a trip to the NLCS. Their rotation was their biggest issue and Haren plugged that hole pretty well. A rotation of Brandon Webb and Haren back-to-back was awesomely reminiscent of the Schilling-Johnson years, when the D-Backs won the World Series.
However, that 2007 team was a 79-win team by pythag win-loss, so maybe that was just an error in judgment.
Anyway, yesterday Haren was flipped for Joe Saunders, a AAAA reliever, a skinny 20-year-old starter in A ball who may have the goods to be a starter and a 19-year-old decent 1st rounder who could be a starter.
This was a salary dump, no doubt about it. There were better offers on the table (Yankees had a decent offer with Ivan Nova and Joba Chamberlain, supposedly) and while Saunders is a MLB starter, he’s not a good one.
You wonder, though, what would’ve happened if the D-Backs stayed the course and didn’t trade for Haren–just focused on what they had coming up and played for a continuously ripening farm system.