Nationals Sign Pitcher Dan Haren to 1-Year Deal

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IDecember 7, 2012

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 31:  Starting pitcher Dan Haren #24 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on August 31, 2012 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The Washington Nationals have signed right-hander Dan Haren to a one-year contract, according to Steve Berthiaume.

Berthiaume tweeted on Friday:

#Nationals announce they have agreed to terms with Dan Haren on a 1-year deal.

— Steve Berthiaume (@BertDbacks) December 7, 2012


Haren, a three-time All-Star, had an off year with the Los Angeles Angels last season. He finished 12-13 with a 4.33 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. Batters hit .275 off of him, his highest mark since 2003.

On the other hand, Haren pitched much better in the second half of 2012 (6-5, 3.58 ERA, 1.12 WHIP). He went 16-10 with a 3.17 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 2011.

Clearly, the Nationals are hoping "good Haren" shows up in D.C. They already have a sterling starting rotation consisting of Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and the surprising Ross Detwiler. Washington's starters combined for a 3.40 ERA last season, the second-best mark in the majors and best in the National League.

The Nationals won the most games in the majors last season relying on pitching (98-64) but they lost in five games to the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS. Strasburg, who was coming off Tommy John surgery, was shut down late in the regular season. The move led many to question the Nationals' strategy and management of the 24-year-old fireballer.

But that was then and this is now. Even if Haren isn't excellent in 2013, he could conceivably be Washington's No. 5 starter, which is astounding. Even with a decent season, Haren will strengthen the Nationals' rotation.

With Haren on board, and a full season of Strasburg upcoming, the Nationals are looking good.


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