Today in “the least surprising news ever,” Dan Haren will be back.:
RHP Dan Haren has exercised his option to return to the Dodgers for 2015. pic.twitter.com/h7L3VAyIML
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 30, 2014
As the 180 inning vesting option approached, Haren made it clear that he wasn’t sure if he’d even wanted to pitch in 2015. Still, it seemed more than likely that he’d return, because the Dodgers are close to home and he wasn’t going to get that kind of money anywhere else. Haren’s 2014 can easily be split into thirds, because he was pretty good in the first two months (3.13 ERA), just brutal in June & July (6.04), to the point that an upgrade at the deadline seemed like a given, and then a rebound August & September (3.11). Obviously, there’s some BABIP that goes along with that and a ton of issues missing bats and avoiding homers; ERA doesn’t always tell the full story, but obviously those are some huge fluctuations.
So, Haren is on the books for $10m in 2015, which is probably more than his 2014 season was worth. (Since an outstanding 6.2 WAR 2011 with the Angels, he’s been worth a total of 4.2 WAR since.) If you believe he’s more the guy who started and ended the season rather than the one who was lit up in the middle, maybe it’s not so bad. If you believe Steamer, who has him projected for basically a repeat of his 2014, it’s probably a bit much. As fifth starters go, he’s probably fine.
As it currently stands, here’s the 2015 Dodger rotation:
There’s a lot of talent there, but also a lot of questions. Ryu made multiple trips to the disabled list in 2014, and we always seem to be hearing some small thing about Greinke’s elbow. It seems more than clear that at least one new starter is coming in, and I’m not talking about Zach Lee. Haren’s contract, so far as we know, does not prevent the team from trading him, and while we don’t know who the Dodgers GM is going to be, it’s not going to be the one who gave Haren this deal. Haren’s earned his money, so absolutely no one should be complaining that he’s taking advantage of it. We’ll just have to see if it’s enough to actually keep him in the rotation next season.