What’s a “Player To Be Named Later”?

Today the Diamondbacks traded Dan Haren to the Angels for Joe Saunders, Raphael Rodriguez, Patrick Corbin, and a player to be named later. While the term “player to be named later” may remind many of the 2008 trade that sent a minor leaguer packing in exchange for 10 baseball bats, the PTBNL is more than just a throw-in.

Famous PTBNLs include David Ortiz, Scott Podsednik, and Moises Alou. These players were part of a deadline deal but not immediately traded because the receiving team was still in the process of evaluating their talents and positional needs. For sake of convenience negotiating teams usually agree on a list of 5 to 10 players that can ultimately be chosen. The player must change leagues and a cash sum is negotiated if the two teams cannot agree on a player. By rule, teams have six months to complete this part of the deal.

As for the Diamondbacks, there’s speculation that the player will be named Tyler Skaggs, a 19-year-old lefty who’s considered one of the best arms in the Angels farm system. In 14 starts this year he’s 8-4 with a 3.61 ERA for Class-A Cedar Rapids. At 7-8, Haren’s fortunes will likely change going to a contender with strong run support. He has a National League leading 141 strikeouts in 141 innings pitched this season. The Angels will owe Haren $33 Million on a contract that runs through 2012 and includes club option for 2013. Kudos to Angels GM Tony Reagins for completing this trade without surrendering top prospect Mike Trout. Their potential post season rotation would start with Haren followed by Jered Weaver, Ervin Santana, and Joel PiƱeiro. Lackey who?