Zack Greinke‘Tis the season for trade speculation.  Half-assed ideas are now the order of the day and I think I might have the king of them all.

The rumor mills currently seem to think that the Angels are going to be relatively quiet at the trade deadline.  They have a lot of wants and desires, but the consensus is that they don’t have the financial wiggle room to make that happen.  One of the things they wish they could do but probably can’t is to bring some stability and depth to their starting rotation.  Alas, pitching always comes at a premium at the deadline… unless, of course, you can deal some pitching of your own.  And thus is born my crazy idea for the Angels to trade Dan Haren to the Brewers for their ace Zack Greinke.

Most expect the Brewers, mired in a wildly disappointing season, to trade Greinke at the deadline unless they are able to sign him to an extension, which they are unlikely to do.  If they do deal him, they stand to get a substantial batch of prospects in return.  But I can’t help but wonder if that is what they really want.

Their efforts to re-sign Greinke strongly suggest that they still fancy themselves as contenders come 2013.  However, moving their ace for a bunch of kids isn’t going to help much towards that end.  What would help is dealing Greinke for established big league talent and they are willing to pay big bucks for it.  So what if the Angels gave them a chance to have their cake and eat it to by offering to swap Greinke for Dan Haren and a prospect?

For the Brewers, they get to add young talent (I’d suggest basically any prospect other than Segura) and they also get to bring in Dan Haren to bolster their rotation for 2013 thanks to his team option for that season.  They’d be rolling the dice that Haren would be able to resolve his current struggles and be a frontline pitcher again, but if he doesn’t, they can cut bait on him after 2013 and they’ll still have one nice prospect as a consolation prize.  It wouldn’t be multiple prospects like they could get if Milwaukee went the more traditional route, but there is no certainty that any of those kids would work out.  There is certainty that Dan Haren is an MLB-caliber pitcher that could help them quickly rebound to challenge for the NL Central title next season.

As for the Angels, the benefit is obvious.  They get to stop wondering when Haren will turn it around and instead get one of the best pitchers in the game, a pitcher that is better than Haren even at his best.  They also get the inside track on negotiating a long-term deal with Greinke, though they do run the risk of losing him for nothing at the end of the season.  That would suck, but it isn’t the worst thing that could happen since it isn’t guaranteed that they would pick up Haren’s option anyway.  As for the prospect, that is just the cost of doing business.

Alas, I don’t think there is any way this happens.  It is too much of a non-traditional route for both sides, especially Milwaukee since a year from now they could get stuck doing the same extension-or-trade dance with Haren that their doing now with Greinke, only Haren wouldn’t bring back nearly the same treasure trove of prospects that the Brewers would need if they were to get serious about rebuilding.  For them, it is a hedge bet and in professional sports fortune favors the bold, not the risk averse.