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Nationals sign Dan Haren to one-year, $13 million contract

Dec 4, 2012, 11:13 AM EDT

Dan Haren

Dan Haren has agreed to a one-year, $13 million contract with the Nationals, according to Ken Rosenthal of

Last month the Angels nearly traded Haren to the Cubs for Carlos Marmol and then, when that fell through, declined his $15.5 million option and paid him a $3.5 million buyout. In other words, Haren will actually end up being paid more than that $15.5 million option for 2013 because he’ll get the $3.5 million buyout and the $13 million from Washington.

Haren has long been one of MLB’s most underrated pitchers, posting a 3.48 ERA with fantastic strikeout-to-walk ratios from 2005-2011 and topping 200 innings every season. Back and hip problems in 2012 limited him to 177 innings and a 4.33 ERA that’s the worst of his career, but if healthy Haren could be a major bargain and the one-year deal lessens the Nationals’ risk.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo has made his intention to sign a veteran starting pitcher clear, which is why some people were surprised that Rizzo declined to make a qualifying offer to departing free agent Edwin Jackson. They would have been in line for a draft pick as compensation if Jackson signed elsewhere and if Jackson chose to accept the qualifying offer the Nationals would have been on the hook for a one-year, $13.5 million deal. Or basically the same contract they ended up giving Haren.

Washington’s rotation is now Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Dan Haren, and Ross Detwiler. On the heels of acquiring Denard Span as the new center fielder/leadoff man Rizzo has had quite a productive past week or so.

  1. darthicarus - Dec 4, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Well done Nationals. If his back is better next season that’s one helluva rotation in Washington. They seem to be doing things right, had to go through some rough seasons but damn does the present & future look good for the Nats & their fans.

    • dcfan4life - Dec 4, 2012 at 11:30 AM

      Health concerns are the only potential hiccup, only 176 innings last year, his fewest as a starter. But if healthy, he can eat innings, and he can be pretty darn good. Like the signing especially since its low risk.

      • 78mu - Dec 4, 2012 at 1:17 PM

        Health concerns are an issue but I predict he will pitch more innings than Madson did for the Reds.

        This is a great signing for the Nats. It’s hard to find many #4s with his talent if he is healthy.

      • natstowngreg - Dec 4, 2012 at 2:30 PM

        Not really going out on a limb, since Haren is a starter and Madson is a reliever. To have the same number of innings, Haren would have to miss most of the season.

      • 78mu - Dec 4, 2012 at 4:09 PM


        As of today, Haren has as many innings as Madson did in 2012. As a matter of fact, every pitcher, starter or reliever, has as many innings as Madson did. Even Madson has matched his 2012 numbers.

        So yeah, I guess I really wasn’t going out on a limb there. Good catch.

  2. uyf1950 - Dec 4, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    This seems like a good deal for both parties the Nationals and Haren. Haren makes more then he would have had the Angels kept him and he’s going to be pitching in a great pitchers ballpark. The Nationals obviously have the money and if Haren can turn around and litch anywhere like he did prior to 2012 the Nationals may have actually gotten themselves a bargain.

    • tcostant - Dec 4, 2012 at 11:28 AM

      Nationals Park is considered middle of the pack, nether a pitchers or hitters park.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 4, 2012 at 12:04 PM

        Thank you I stand corrected. But Haren will have the advantage of now pitching in a league without a DH.

  3. echech88 - Dec 4, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    Great move by WSH but a big if here is the “pending physical” part of the agreement.

    If it is true the Cubs backed out on the trade over his back/hip it will be interesting to see where this goes if he checks out with the Nats doctors.

  4. tcostant - Dec 4, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    Play ball. I can’t wait for opening day. It’s fun to be a Nationals fam now…

  5. threeputtguy - Dec 4, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    Hello, Terry Ryan—–other teams are making moves!

  6. proudlycanadian - Dec 4, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    Great move for both sides.

  7. mplsjoe - Dec 4, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    Twins didn’t need him, I guess.

    • jwbiii - Dec 4, 2012 at 11:58 AM

      Haren gets too many strikeouts. Strikeouts are fascist.

      • mplsjoe - Dec 28, 2012 at 10:37 PM

        Not the Twins way.

    • dlambrecht - Dec 4, 2012 at 4:12 PM

      I don’t entirely disagree with your complaint, but I don’t think the Twins have much of a chance to compete for the next 2 years either way. If that’s the case, then spending $13MM on a pitcher who likely won’t be worth that much in 3 years isn’t necessarily a great move.

      Additionally, who’s to know if TR didn’t bid on him. Perhaps he offered $14MM to him. If you’re Dan Haren and you get a $13MM offer from the Nats and a $14MM offer from the Twins, all on top of the $3.5MM from the Angels, what would you do? No question I’d go with the Nats and a realistic post-season oppty, rather than the Twins.

      • mplsjoe - Dec 28, 2012 at 10:39 PM

        The Twins were never connected to Haren, so I seriously doubt they made a play. Haren for $13MM is much better than Kevin Corriea for 2 years. Of course there’s no guarantee that Haren would have accepted an offer from the Twins, but it would have been nice to find out.

  8. kkolchak - Dec 4, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    I kew Rizzo would not leave the 5th starter position open, but this particular move was a surprise. That’s a great rotation the Nats have set up for next year.

  9. akismet-e6748cca3a16ea6e8283008d25583adc - Dec 4, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    Nats 2013 rotation: Strasburg, Gonzalez, Zimmermann, Haren, Detwiler.

    Best rotation in the majors? Who would you put up against it?

    • pauleee - Dec 4, 2012 at 12:17 PM

      Good Gravy! That’s one hell of a username.
      Was akismet-e6748cca3a16ea6e8283008d25583adb already taken?

      • akismet-e6748cca3a16ea6e8283008d25583adc - Dec 4, 2012 at 12:25 PM

        That was the default wordpress username … I guess I could figure out how to change it :-)

      • Todd Boss - Dec 4, 2012 at 12:33 PM

        There you go. fixed it. Now I appear as myself.

    • proudlycanadian - Dec 4, 2012 at 12:20 PM

      The Rays!

    • paperlions - Dec 4, 2012 at 1:17 PM

      Last year’s “off-season best rotation in the Majors” was the Angels, who added Greinke mid-season and still finished 14 in the Majors in starter ERA with a pitching friendly home park. Their rankings were much worse in terms of FIP, xFIP, or WAR (in which park factors are included).

  10. APBA Guy - Dec 4, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    The A’s have an evolving view of starting pitchers that goes something like: we need 162 starts and would like at least 972 innings at an ERA under 4.00. To find 5 pitchers who can do this would cost X. To find 9 pitchers who can do this is less than X, by a substantial amount.

    The Nats clearly have taken an approach that says we want a top of the line ERA from our starters, and we have the money to pay for it. More power to them. If Haren’s healthy, he can be the best #5 starter in the league-by far.

    • Todd Boss - Dec 4, 2012 at 12:32 PM

      I’m not sure that’s entirely fair to the Nats approach. 3 of their 5 rotation members are drafted and developed (Strasburg, Detwiler, Zimmermann) and the 4th was acquired by trading other drafted/developed prospects to acquire him. Yes, they’ve taken to one-year contracts in both 2012 and 2013 to fill out the rotation, but that’s mostly because the natural candidates to take that spot internally have all been traded away in the last two years (Milone, Peacock, Meyers).

      Well, that and the fact that our GM clearly didn’t rate John Lannan as a worthy #5 starter.

      • dcfan4life - Dec 4, 2012 at 1:53 PM

        Because Lannan isnt a number 5. Hes what they used him for last season, an instant call up in unique situations who may pitch decent enough to win a few games.

  11. dodger88 - Dec 4, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    Good signing. Sure there’s some risk but that is a given with any pitcher. With this, Greinke just lost a suitor.

  12. fenianblastard - Dec 4, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    Haren is not the 5th Starter, he is more of a 2-3 especially when healthy.. Understanding most Nats fans became Baseball Fans in 2012, prior to pitching in Anaheim, Haren Pitched in Arizona for 4-5 seasons and was the #1 there after Webb went down.. If Healthy, the Nats have a top rotation, that said, while Strausburg has potential to be a STUD, until he throws over 200 innings, please hold back saying how great he is, Gio Gonzalez has more of a resume then SS does.. Zimmerman too has great potential… That said Ill still take Halladay, Lee, Hamels until I see Doc is cooked, I wont give up on him yet..

    Lastly, I fully expect the Nats to win the NL East again in 2013, they are younger and more stacked w players coming into prime w Zim and Harper, Morse, Desmond they are set for a run !

    • dodger88 - Dec 4, 2012 at 12:43 PM

      This is why I like the signing. If healthy, there is a strong argument that Haren is a #2 or 3 type in the rotation. If he lines up at the backend, all the better for the Nats.

    • runyetirun - Dec 4, 2012 at 12:52 PM

      It’s spelled Strasburg and Zimmermann you sanctimonious dweeb.

      • nolanwiffle - Dec 4, 2012 at 2:17 PM

        Thank you for that! Why is it that people believe that Washingtonians just somehow discovered the game of baseball when the Nats became contenders? Most of us have had televisions for years and even had access to newspapers since the Senators left town for the final time in 1971.

        We know who Dan Haren is, thanks.

    • dcfan4life - Dec 4, 2012 at 1:57 PM

      Haren will be put into the 4th spot, ahead of detweiler. The order is expected to go Strasburg, Gio, Zimmermann, Haren, Detweiler. That being said your argument he is a 2-3 starter has plenty of merrit but that all depends on how each individual pitches. This is the way the pitching rotation will most likely begin, putting him as the number 4 guy. All 5 guys tho are easily #3 and above on most rosters.

  13. willclarkgameface - Dec 4, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    Good luck with that 88mph no-sense-of-control fastball Nats fans, especially when he is subbing for Strasburg when he is being held back for one reason or another by resident genius Mike Rizzo.

    • kkolchak - Dec 4, 2012 at 1:08 PM

      Another tiresome comment from someone who apparently hasn’t had an original thought since the Clinton administration.

      • natslady - Dec 4, 2012 at 1:19 PM

        Jayson Werth is our resident genius. Davey said so. 😉

    • memorexbanana - Dec 4, 2012 at 9:53 PM

      The only reason they shut him down was because of the Tommy Johnson surgery the year before. No reason to do the same this next season. Plz don’t make dumb statement.

  14. randyjackson197 - Dec 4, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    He should add power to the Nationals lineup. He was batting .400 with the DBacks a couple of years ago.

  15. paperlions - Dec 4, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    Odds that Lannan has a better/healthier 2012 at less than 1/2 the price?

    • natslady - Dec 4, 2012 at 1:43 PM

      Healthier, maybe. Better, no. Rizzo is a high-risk, high-ceiling kinda guy. Look at his drafts, Rendon, Giolito, etc.

    • kkolchak - Dec 4, 2012 at 2:54 PM

      Better? Zero.

  16. fasteddy415 - Dec 4, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    Best rotation in the Majors belongs to the Giants hands down!

    2 championships in 3 years is what u put up against it…

    • kkolchak - Dec 4, 2012 at 2:55 PM

      The Nats feasted on that rotation during head to head matchups last year. It’s just too bad they didn’t get another crack at them in the NLCS.

  17. natsattack - Dec 4, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    13 + 3.5 = 16.5, not 15.5.

  18. fasteddy415 - Dec 4, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    Reg season stats and match ups don’t matter. The end result matters. Nat’s pitching failed in the first round while the Giants posted back to back shut outs in the World Series. A feat only 2 teams ever accomplished.

  19. fanofevilempire - Dec 4, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    Nats spending money like crazy, are the owners for real or will they pull a fast one like the Marlins in the next couple years, I hope not they do draft well. I like Davey from his Met days, remember when Marge Schott fired him for shacking up with his lady friend.

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