Over the past week, the prospect of the Arizona Diamondbacks trading staff ace Dan Haren went from being highly unlikely to becoming imminent. A good indication of the likelihood of a trade occurred from a rather unconventional source.

As I entered the Team Shops in Chase Field, several employees welcomed me with news of a new sale they were having. For the remainder of this home stand, the Team Shop was offering anyone who purchased either a Dan Haren or Brandon Webb jersey and a T-Shirt with either of these two players’ names imprinted on them would receive a game-used baseball bat from Justin Upton, Mark Reynolds, or all-star Chris Young.

Clearly the team shop was sitting on a lot of inventory of merchandise for these two players that would have to be substantially marked down if either of these players were traded. Given that Webb is still on the disabled list, it seemed likely that Haren would be traded relatively soon.

At the conclusion of the game against the San Francisco Giants, the Diamondbacks announced they had reached a deal with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim that sends Dan Haren to Anaheim in exchange for three pitchers and the proverbial “player to be named later”.

The known names in this trade are left-handed starter Joe Saunders along with minor league reliever Rafael Rodriguez and starter Patrick Corbin. The rumor mill has identified the player to be named later will be Tyler Skaggs.

Skaggs who is currently playing for the Cedar Rapids Kernals of the Midwestern League is not eligible to be traded until August 7, since he has not yet been under contract for the necessary one year.

Saunders gives the Diamondbacks a left-handed starter who will take Haren’s place in the Diamondbacks starting rotation for the remainder of the season.

Rodriguez, a right-handed reliever in the Angels organization is currently with the Salt Lake Buzz and will likely be sent to Triple-A Reno for the remainder of the minor league season. Chances are, he will be among the September call-ups for Arizona.

The two most important pieces of this trade are probably Corbin and Skaggs, both of whom were identified among the top prospects for the Angels farm system. Corbin projects into a number two or three starter at the Major League Level, as does Skaggs.

This sets the Diamondbacks up with the bridge between the major leagues and minor leagues that interim General Manager Jerry Dipoto described during the Season Ticket Holder town hall meeting.

It gives the Diamondbacks some payroll relief and sets them up to begin building the next wave of pitchers to come through the farm system. Initial assessments by media outlets suggest Los Angeles got the better end of this deal.

From a short-term perspective, it would tend to favor the Angels. Should Corbin and Skaggs develop into the players they are capable of becoming, this trade may favor Arizona in the long run.

Of course a lot could change in that time, so it’s anyone’s guess. Does this trade signal the end to any deals the Diamondbacks might make? That is doubtful. There are other pieces of the current roster that should interest teams making a play-off run, so this is most likely just the first of many changes the Diamondbacks will make before the end of this season and next.

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