After failing to send the right-hander to the Chicago Cubs in a deal involving Carlos Marmol, the Angels have elected not to pick up Dan Haren‘s option for the 2013 season. Instead, they will pay him $3.5 million to pitch elsewhere, thus ending a relationship that included parts of three seasons, 78 starts, and just over 500 innings.
Haren got a lot of attention for having a down year in 2012, but he’s still just 32 and very good at limiting free passes. While he was a bit unlucky in 2012, it was indeed his worst effort since becoming a full-time starter in 2005; he was worth just 1.8 WAR this season after never finishing with less than 4.0 WAR previously.
It’s not a new development for the control artist to give up a good amount of hits, and that was his main problem in 2012. In his 176.2 innings of work, he surrendered 190 hits (9.7 H/9), 28 of which left the park. His control remained excellent, but his K/9 rate failed to rebound after dipping quite a bit in 2011; he no longer misses quite as many bats as he did in his peak seasons from 2007-2010.
Despite a few indications of decline, the market for Haren should still be respectable, and many teams could benefit from adding his arm to their starting five. It’s unreasonable to expect ace like status at this point in his career, but Haren still has a lot of positive qualities to offer, and even if he doesn’t bounce back at all, a 2.0 WAR pitcher does have value.