Good Afternoon
Good Afternoon

Sunday reading: Dan Haren, Frank Cashen, the Mets' misery and Dan Duquette

Alex Rodriguez connects for his 600th career home

Alex Rodriguez connects for his 600th career home run against Blue Jays starter Shaun Marcum. (Aug. 4, 2010) Credit: Christopher Pasatieri

 Off yesterday's Yankees' game, I wrote that the Yankees shouldn't trade for Dan Haren. I understand the Yankees' interest in Haren. The guy is good. He has been among the most reliably excellent pitchers in the game, and as we've discussed the last couple of days, his 2010 season isn't as bad as it looks on the surface.

He'll make $12.75 million each of the next two seasons, is finishing up an $8.25 million contract this season and has a $15.5 million team option for 2013 with a $3.5 million buyout. That is a team friendly contract. Great job by former Arizona GM Josh Byrnes to lock this up.

But when you do a cost-benefit analysis for the Yankees, given who they are and where they are at this point, I don't think trading for him would be a good move.

His contract is good in a vacuum, but to the Yankees, he'd represent yet another annual, eight-figure risk, at a juncture when they're going to try to add three more such deals to their books this winter in Derek Jeter, Clfif Lee and Mariano Rivera. If it's not eight figures, with Arizona throwing in money, that means the Yankees would be giving up better prospects for a piece that, to me, seems superfluous.

It's not imperative that the Yankees win the World Series this season, because they won it last season and are well-situated going forward. 

--For my Sunday Insider (also known as the "7th-Inning Stretch"), I spoke with Frank Cashen, the great former Mets general manager. Man, he sounds good for someone who was born in 1922, assuming Wikipedia is correct on that one. I enjoyed talking about his trade for Keith Hernandez with him. The Insider also contains thoughts on Roy Oswalt, Dan Haren and Joe Torre.

--Mark Teixeira is hitting well again.

--Hunter Atkins interviewed fans in the outfield seats, asking them what they'd do if they caught Alex Rodriguez's 600th home run ball. What would you do? Me, I'd probably give it to the person sitting next to me, so my bosses wouldn't know I was sitting in the stands instead of the press box.

--Andy Pettitte thinks he'll be back in sooner than five weeks.

--The Mets lost again, and I love the lead to David Lennon's story. Captures the team's mood very well. It sure isn't looking good for them, and this point, it would be foolhardy to trade resources for a mid-level starting pitcher.

But we have six days left until Saturday's non-waivers trade deadline, and that's an eternity for baseball. The Mets need to survive today's road-trip finale _ and when I write "survive," I don't mean "Beat the Dodgers," I mean literally "not die" - take tomorrow off and then attack their homestand like they've been playing at home. A sweep of the Cardinals this week - no easy task, I grant you - changes the conversation altogether.

--Well, I guess that's the end of the John Maine era in Flushing. Too bad. Just another reminder, though, of why the game's very best starting pitchers make the big bucks. It's awfully hard to climb to the top of that position and stay there.

--Whitey Herzog would like expanded replay during the postseason, Jim Baumbach writes. That would be a start. If you watched the end of yesterday's Yankees game, you could see why expanded replay at all times would help.

Baumbach also interviewed Hall of Famers about George Steinbrenner's Cooperstown candidacy. I can't imagine a Hall of Fame without Steinbrenner. But I wonder if the same people on the actual Veterans Committee who don't support Marvin Miller would exhibit the same line of thinking toward Steinbrenner. After all, both are often blamed for making players rich, which is a bad thing in the minds of some voters.

--Bob Tufts alerted me to this Daily News story on Dan Duquette, the former Red Sox GM who is apparently conducting his own investigation on illegal performance-enhancing drug usage in baseball's past. Seriously, Duquette has nothing better going on? 

Duquette is now known as the man who wished Roger Clemens luck in "the twilight of his career," when Clemens left Boston for Toronto after the 1996 season. But if Duquette was both so smart and so morally upright, it seemed to me that he had two better options at the time: 1) He could've signed Clemens, knowing what Clemens was willing to do to stay elite; after all, Clemens pitched superbly in the second half of 1996; or, 2) He could've spoken out against steroids, without naming names.

Now? He just comes off as creepy.

--Ben Sheets is on the disabled list, and the farther away we move from last winter, the better the Mets look for passing on most of those free-agent starting pitchers. The one guy having a good year is Joel Pineiro, and it is too bad in that the Mets could have signed Pineiro and the ultra-cheap R.A. Dickey, and they'd probably be in pretty good shape right now.

In any case, I think we'll see Sheets take a big pay cut in 2011 from this year's $10 million.

--Horrible day for the Tigers, who lost both Carlos Guillen and Magglio Ordonez to the disabled list yesterday. They won't give up on the season now, but if they continue to plummet, they could wind up as August sellers, with Johnny Damon possibly joining a different pennant race somwhere.

--I'm here at Yankee Stadium. A-Rod is starting at DH, and Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher are back in the lineup. Joe Girardi said that, right now, Sergio Mitre is in line to start Thursday, though that could change by tomorrow.

--Self-promotion alert: I'll be on "Sports Extra," on Fox 5 in New York, at 10:30 tonight with Adam Zucker.

--And don't forget, live chat 11:00 tomorrow. Cancel all of your other plans and be there.

--UPDATE, 6:23 p.m.: Wow! The Angels, a team not at all reported as a candidate, just acquired Haren in return for Joe Saunders and minor leaguers Patrick Corbin and Rafael Rodriguez and a player to be named later. I've known about this for days. I just didn't want to show up my competitors.

Seriously, in this age of Internet reporting, the Angels manage to be impressively stealth. Good get by them for what on the surface doesn't seem to be that overwhelming a package. Neither Corbin nor Rodriguez was on Baseball America's Top 10 Angels prospect list this past spring.

It speaks to how badly the Diamondbacks apparently wanted to unload the money they owed Haren. Saunders, after all, is OK, but only that; he had an outstanding 2008 and has been serviceable the rest of the time. Maybe the Diamondbacks will flip him to another team now for more prospects.

In any case, the Yankees operated here is in line with Brian Cashman's thinking of recent years regarding roster and payroll management: Stay engaged, but don't overpay.

And now, as I'm writing, Alex Rodriguez has left the game after getting hit in what looked like the left wrist by Kansas City pitcher Blake Wood. Busy day.

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