The Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (or whatever they're called now) have reportedly agreed to a trade that will send closer Carlos Marmol to the Angels, in exchange for starting pitcher Dan Haren. Chicago-Sun Times beat writer Gordon Wittenmyer is one of the reporters to confirm this deal:
The Angels will reportedly pick up the final year of Haren's $15.5 million option before making the trade official. Marmol is in the final year of his contract and is set to earn $9.8 million this season.

On the surface, this is a brilliant get by Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. Haren turned 32 in September, but the three-time All-Star has put together sub-four ERAs in five of his last six seasons. However, the one season he didn't post an ERA under four was the 2012 campaign, in which his ERA was 4.33. He's been dealing with some back issues, and that's certainly something to monitor closely, especially with him being on the wrong side of 30.

Still, the track record is there, and if he can stay relatively healthy, should have a few more very good seasons ahead. At worst, he figures to be a solid middle-of-the-rotation innings eater, and those guys are very valuable.

And with value in mind, that's likely a large part of why the Cubs' front office made this move. The Cubs are likely still a couple of years (at least) away from contending, and a pitcher that will be 32 years old for the upcoming season may not be a guy you can count on still producing at a high level when those years come around. Additionally, Haren will be a free agent in 2014, so he figures to be a bit pricey to retain when/if he hits the market.

Therefore, the Cubs may be looking to swing Haren to a contender before the July 31, 2013 deadline in exchange for quality prospects. So, the Cubs are either going to have a solid starting pitcher to put with Jeff Samardizja and possibly Matt Garza for a few years, or they're likely going to get some promising prospects in return for Haren. It's a win-win scenario, provided Haren can stay healthy enough to give the Cubs these options.

As for Marmol, the 30-year-old closer had some absolutely remarkable seasons with the Cubs.

In 2007, Marmol put together a 1.43 ERA; in 2010 he struck out an insane 138 batters in 77 2/3 innings, good for a whopping 16 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. And in the 2012 campaign, he was successful in 20 of his 23 save opportunities, with a very respectable 3.42 ERA.

When on, Marmol's devastating, with a violent delivery to distract hitters, and arguably the best slider in the game. Control issues and lack of command with his fastball have caused him to struggle at times, but overall, the numbers have been very impressive.

But, the Cubs surely weren't going to offer Marmol what he wanted in 2014 free agency, and Haren would likely get a better return at the trade deadline than Marmol would (if the Cubs choose to not extend Haren, of course).

We'll have more on this reported trade as the information becomes available.

UPDATE: Well, whaddya know. Cubs reportedly make a big trade, and then within an hour, reports surface that there is no "done deal", at least yet. Seen this before, right?

Here's some of the latest tweets from reporters:







Sigh.

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