The week before he was traded, Danny Haren was quoted as saying the following:
"I pay attention to it," Haren said Monday. "I read the newspaper, and I'm all over the Internet all the time for fantasy football and to see the trade rumors. I wouldn't be surprised if it happened, once the whole Santana thing becomes more clear.
"The first thing is, I don't want to be traded. My wife (Jessica) and I have a baby coming in a couple of weeks, and we have a home in the East Bay. But, obviously, we'll deal with it if it happens. And everyone that's been mentioned is a good team, which is nice."
Despite the obvious coolness of Danny Haren being addicted to fantasy football, there were a couple of things that stood out to me in this article. We are used to hearing lip service from our former (and current) players about how much they are going to miss the team, or how much they wish they could stay in Oakland, but what struck me about Haren was his seemingly genuine love for where he lives.
I understand the love of living in the Bay Area, especially if you are making a major league baseball player’s salary. California is a desirable place to live, especially if you are channel surfing the Cleveland Brown’s football game this morning.
But would any of us really trade a place to live for the chance of playing on a contending team? Clubhouse chemistry, good management, great friends, and a good neighborhood can only go so far before the bottom line of winning baseball rears its head. For as much as Haren will miss Oakland and his experiences here, it will make it easier when he’s playing for a contending Arizona team, as the A’s rebuild.
But that’s just from my point of view. As a player, I would rather play for a contending team, and live in my city of choice during the off-season instead. I’m not sure anything that a team could offer me would be worth more than that. For the record, that includes money. Being the highest played player on a non-contending team holds no appeal to me. But maybe that’s because I don’t see the difference between 125 and 126 million.