Per MLB on FOX reporter and FOXSports.com senior baseball writer Ken Rosenthal, the Washington Nationals and right-handed pitcher Dan Haren have agreed to a one-year, $13 million contract. Earlier in the off-season, it seemed likely that Haren’s $15.5 million option would be picked up by his former team, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, but after concerns escalated regarding Haren’s health, specifically, that of his back and hip, the Angels instead tried (unsuccessfully) to trade Haren to the Chicago Cubs. After the deal fell through, the Angels opted to release Haren, paying him a $3.5 million buy-out rather than commit to the pitcher for another full year.
Haren certainly carries some risk. After an exceptional 2011 season, Haren saw both his ERA (4.33) and FIP (4.24) rise a full run in 2012, all while battling the aforementioned injuries, as well as a loss in velocity. He failed to exceed 200 innings pitched for the first time since 2005. At $13 million for one year, Haren will have to perform at least up to the standards of his disappointing 2012 in order to be worth the investment, no guarantee given his recent struggles. However, he does represent an intriguing pick-up for the Nationals, a team so loaded with pitching talent they will only have to rely on Haren to be their 4th starter, and perhaps even their 5th, in the event of another trade or free-agent signing. A move to the National League will certainly help Haren’s prospects, and the Nationals are a baseball club familiar with the treatment and regulation of injured pitchers.
Unnamed (eg: fake) sources are not reporting that the Nationals have shut down Dan Haren, and he will likely miss most, if not all of the 2013 season. Haren is said to be “not too happy” with the decision. No one reports that this was a joint decision between manager Davey Johnson, pitching coach Steve McCatty, and general manager Mike Rizzo. Johnson has been quoted as saying, “My job is to do what’s best for the player. And this is what’s best,” while Rizzo added, “This is a plan we put in place, this is just the culmination of that plan. I believe in my heart that it’s the right thing to do for the player and the right thing to do for the player is the right thing to do for the franchise.” The Nationals believe they are doing what is best for the long-term viability of their organization, as well as Haren’s health, but given Haren’s recent comments, the pitcher does not seem to be totally on board with the decision: “I don’t know if I’m ever gonna accept it to be honest,” Haren said of the plan to end his season prematurely. “It’s something that I’m not happy about at all. That’s not why I play the game. I play the game to be a good teammate and win.”
Author’s Note: Lest their be any confusion, the entire final paragraph of this post is definitely not real. This is because the author is incapable of reporting on real baseball news without interjecting some sampling of nonsense and/or jackassery. He just can’t help himself. It’s a problem.