For the second straight offseason, Dan Haren has reportedly signed a one-year deal. This time, it's with the Dodgers for $10 million. The contract also contains a vesting option for 2015 that vests if Haren throws 180 innings in 2014.
Last year, Haren signed a one-year deal for $13 million with the Nationals after a disappointing season with the Angels. And in the first half of 2013, Haren wasn't worth his contract. In 82 innings before a DL stint, Haren pitched to a 6.14 ERA with Washington. But once he returned from the DL right before the All-Star Break, Haren shined over the rest of the year, pitching to a 3.29 ERA and striking out nearly five times as many hitters as he walked.
One part of Haren's game that has always been an issue is the excessive number of balls he allows to leave the park, and the 28 homers he allowed last season weren't an outlier. But moving to the spacious Dodger Stadium will be a huge boon for Haren, and could conjure up memories of early in his career at the O.co Coliseum (or whatever it was called when Haren was with Oakland).
$10 million seems like a lot of money, and in a vacuum, it is. But remember: this is the world where Josh Johnson got $8 million guaranteed from the Padres despite making just 16 starts in 2013. This is a world where Tim Lincecum got $35 million over two years coming off two seasons where he looked mortal. This is a world where a 38-year old Tim Hudson got $23 million over two years despite throwing a total of 310 1/3 innings over the last two seasons. Hell, considering those prices, $10 million over one year seems like a bargain for Haren.
I think signing Haren will take care of Los Angeles' appetite for starting pitching. Haren will join a starting rotation that already includes Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Hyun-Jin Ryu, and could include Josh Beckett if he's healthy following surgery to repair thoracic outlet syndrome this summer. Throw in Chad Billingsley, who is rehabbing from April Tommy John surgery, and potentially 22-year old prospect Zach Lee, and the Dodgers starting rotation is looking quite formidable in the NL West, even despite probably losing Ricky Nolasco to another team via free agency.