Cubs find fifth starter, land Haren from Miami
Acquired before Trade Deadline, veteran righty expected to make debut Wednesday
MILWAUKEE -- The Cubs, keen on filling the one vacancy in the rotation, acquired right-hander Dan Haren from the Marlins for Minor Leaguers Ivan Pineyro and Elliot Soto before Friday's 3 p.m. CT Trade Deadline.
Haren is expected to make his Cubs debut Wednesday, when they play the Pirates at PNC Park.
The Cubs began the day in third place in the National League Wild Card race, and they have had a revolving door in the fifth-starter spot. Haren, 34, would provide some depth. He's 7-7 with a 3.42 ERA in 21 starts with the Marlins, striking out 88 and walking 25 over 129 innings.
"I know he doesn't throw with the same velocity, but he knows how to pitch," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.
Haren acknowledges the dip in velocity. His Twitter handle is @Ithrow88.
"He'll tell you -- he throws 86 [mph] and can still get people out," said Cubs catcher Miguel Montero, who caught Haren in Arizona. "He can pitch, that's the main thing. He knows he doesn't have the stuff that the used to, so to survive, he has to pitch, and he does pitch."
Haren joins a rotation of Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks. So far, the Cubs have used five pitchers, including Tsuyoshi Wada, Travis Wood, Clayton Richard, Dallas Beeler and Donn Roach, in the fifth spot in the rotation.
Haren has pitched for the Cardinals, Athletics, D-backs, Angels, Nationals, Dodgers and Marlins, and he has a career 149-129 record with a 3.75 ERA in 380 games (369 starts).
Besides Haren, the Cubs also acquired right-handed reliever Tommy Hunter from the Orioles. Maddon hadn't been following all the rumors and names linked to the Cubs, but he liked the end result.
"I'm really happy," Maddon said. "You've got a guy who really knows how to pitch, throws innings, great teammate, has been a winner -- I love that. Tommy with Baltimore the last couple years, they've been really good. I like what we did -- not a little bit, but a lot. Think about how much thicker it makes your starting rotation and how much thicker it makes your bullpen."
The plus side to the deal is that the Cubs did not have to part with any of their highly coveted prospects. Neither Pineyro nor Soto were ranked among the Top 30 Cubs prospects by MLB.com.
Pineyro, 23, was 7-5 with a 3.69 ERA in 19 starts for Double-A Tennessee, with one complete game. He's struck out 92 over 107 1/3 innings while walking 30. Soto, 25, an Elgin, Ill., native, was batting .275 in 88 games at Tennessee with 10 doubles and one triple.
Among active pitchers, Haren ranks among the leaders in innings pitched, games started, wins, strikeouts (1,969) and WHIP (1.18). He has seven top 10 finishes in his league in both strikeouts and innings pitched.
Did the Cubs players feel a need to add someone?
"You can't really count on that -- as a player you have to count on what you have, not what you're going to get," Montero said.
"I'd like us to keep trending, keep pitching like we're pitching and for the bullpen to become reliable and predictable," Maddon said. "Our rotation has become longer with Dan there, and you feel confident about that. I don't think Lester or Arrieta or Jason or Kyle have been pushed in either innings or number of pitches thrown that they would lose any effectiveness going forward.
"[Offensively we have to] continue to get our strike zones in order, and more than anything, runner on third, less than two outs, let's get them home. [We need to] become more consistsent situationally, and I've always believed having an organized strike zone is part of that."
The Cubs' Wild Card competitors didn't stand pat at the Trade Deadline. The Mets acquired Yoenis Cespedes, and the Giants traded for Mike Leake. But Maddon pointed out that Montero, Tommy La Stella and Javier Baez could be contributors.
"Acquisitionally speaking for position players, I kind of like what we've got," Maddon said. "We just have to pull more out of them right now."