The Washington Nationals have agreed to terms with free agent pitcher Dan Haren on a one-year contract reportedly worth $13 million. Haren struggled through injury and inconsistency with the Los Angeles Angels in 2012, posting a 4.33 ERA in 30 starts. The deal makes a great deal of sense for both Haren and the Nationals.
Washington had an open slot in the starting rotation with Edwin Jackson leaving as a free agent. Jackson pitched solidly in his lone season in the nation’s capitol, going 10-11 with a 4.03 ERA in 31 starts. After pitching on a one-year contract last season, Jackson is hoping to land a long-term deal.
If Haren is healthy, he could provide an upgrade over Jackson’s 2012 performance. Haren is coming off his worst season since 2004 and is looking to re-establish himself as a front-line starter. Washington’s deep rotation is a cushy landing spot for Haren.
The Nationals feature Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez at the front of the rotation. Jordan Zimmerman is underrated but he was superb in 2012. Ross Detwiler, a 26 year-old southpaw, pitched well last season in his first full big league season. Detwiler went 10-8 with a 3.40 ERA in 33 games (27 starts).
Haren likely slides into the No. 4 spot in Davey Johnson‘s rotation with the young Detwiler filling the role as the fifth starter. A healthy Dan Haren could get fat and happy going up against National League lineups and No. 3 and No. 4 starter for much of the season.
The Nats pitching depth gives them a built-in cushion should Haren be dogged by the back problems that troubled him in 2012.
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