In a move that should help solidify the back end of the team's starting rotation, the Los Angeles Dodgers today announced the signing of right-handed pitcher Dan Haren to a one-year contract. Other outlets are reporting that the contract is worth $10 million.
With talented arms Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Hyun-Jin Ryu locked in as the team's first three starters, the Dodgers entered this offseason needing a couple of reliable and cost-effective arms at the rotation's fourth and fifth spots.
Potential starters Chad Billingsley (Tommy John) and Josh Beckett (rib removal) are both coming off major surgery, and thus, could not be guaranteed to contribute by the start of the season.
Last year's fourth starter, Ricky Nolasco, was productive down the stretch for LA, but likely is seeking a multi-year deal. Given Haren's willingness to take a one-year contract and not tie up years of payroll, the addition made financial sense, even to the Dodgers' deep pockets. Plus, the man can still pitch effectively.
“Dan brings experience as a winner to our club and rotation,” said Dodger General Manager NedColletti. “He has made 30 or more starts for nine straight seasons and has won 10 or more games for nine straight as well. Last year, his second half was among the best in the National League.”
As a member of the Nationals’ staff last year, Haren, 33, experienced shoulder problems early in the year, but then returned to the mound and was one of the game’s top pitchers from July 27 through the conclusion of the season, sporting a 6-3 record with a 3.14 ERA (25 ER/71.2 IP) and holding opponents to a .224 batting average. On the season, Haren went 10-14 with a 4.67 ERA in 31 games (30 GS) for Washington.
In his prime, the 6-5, 215-pound Haren was selected to three consecutive All-Star teams with Oakland in 2007 and Arizona in 2008 and 2009, and has a career record of 129-111 with a 3.74 ERA in 327 career games (316 starts).
While he may no longer be an elite pitcher, as a fifth starter, he certainly would be above average.
For Haren, the signing is a homecoming, as he is a local kid who graduated from Bishop Amat High School in La Puente and played collegiately at Pepperdine University.
Talented Japanese prospect Masahiro Tanaka has been eyed by the franchise as the last potential member of its potent rotation, but because the Japanese League has not resolved the issue of MLB posting fees with its players' union, there is no certainty that he will be signed by a major league team in the next few weeks. As such, LA had to act fast and make sure that they added some quality depth to their rotation before all the top free agents were signed.
By Staff of The Daily Sports Herald and news services