There’s a line of thinking that if one event had occurred, the rest of the events that followed would be completely altered, sort of like a butterfly effect or that time in Back to the Future Part II when Biff went back in time with the sports almanac and seriously messed with history. In tonight’s random thought exercise, we explore one such event. It all started with this tweet from Adam Kilgore, the intrepid beat reporter for the Washington Nationals:
“I feel like I’m letting the team down, the fans, the front office, everybody.” — Dan Haren
— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) June 6, 2013
You may recall that at one point this offseason, the Cubs nearly sent Carlos Marmol to the AngLOLs for Dan Haren before the deal fell through. Part of the reason was because of Haren’s health (particularly his hip) and his declining velocity. We can actually look at this missed opportunity now that the season is over the 1/3 mark and Haren has made 12 starts including tonight’s fail against the New York Mets. In that game, Haren gave up three homers and five runs in just four innings of work, including two longballs to former Cub Marlon Byrd, which is pretty bad considering that Byrd is 1. not that good and 2. shouldn’t be as good now that he’s off the ‘roids, amiright? On the season before the start against the Mets, Haren had a 5.09 ERA and that’s gone up to 5.45 after the Mets had batting practice.
Of course, Marmol isn’t too much better off…in fact you could argue that he’s much worse since he’s forgotten how to throw strikes and be a good pitcher. Then again, before his last couple uber-fails against Arizona, Marmol had actually got his stuff together and lowered his ERA to a respectable 3.86. Of course, ERA doesn’t tell the whole story, but it’s late and you’d be bored with all the xFIPs and the TWTW anyway. It’s hard to say whether we would rather have crappy Marmol or swap him for crappy Haren over more innings. Either way it probably would’ve been bad.
Then you have the butterfly effect of whether trading for Haren would’ve meant the Cubs sign Edwin Jackson anyway. Edwin got a $52MM contract over four seasons and his production so far has been suspect to say the least. But Edwin gave up less home runs over the same span and while I don’t have the time to sift through it, has just been the unluckiest bastard alive to this point (although you can make your own luck). Edwin is also younger than Haren and while he’s lost a bit of velocity himself, seems to have some of the residual stuff to get strikeouts. There’s still hope that Edwin Jackson can right the ship. Not so sure about Dan Haren.
This is the kind of stuff I think about when it’s late and I’m hopped up on Vicodin.