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Haren One Day, Gone The Next: Where Will Dan Haren Land?

Dan Haren

A week ago no one expected to see Dan Haren among the league’s free agent class. After a trade to the Cubs fizzled out at the last minute and a $3.5 million buyout from the Angels, he finds himself as possibly both the best and riskiest pitching investment on the market.

If looking at pure numbers alone, Haren would be looking at the same massive multi-year deal that Zack Greinke expects to get, expected to be worth over $100 million. Over the past six years, their numbers are virtually identical. Since 2007, Haren is 85-62 with a 3.46 ERA and averaging 220 innings, 195 Ks, and just 44 BB per season. Greinke is 77-50 with a 3.42 ERA and averaging 193 innings, 186 Ks, and 50 BB per season.

Of course, if we were looking at numbers alone, Dan Haren would have been traded to the Cubs for Carlos Marmol. Actually, if we were looking at the numbers alone, Dan Haren would never have even been involved in a deal for Carlos Marmol. That deal was nixed after the Cubs got a look at his medical records, revealing a 32-year-old workhorse with back and hip problems. Or perhaps the game tape. Although he has consistently played every game over his career, he landed on the 15-Day DL for the first time in his career in 2012 and although he only missed three starts his velocity never returned.

Back and hip issues are tricky, especially for a 32-year-old pitcher. Randy Johnson pitched with serious back issues from 1995 to 2009 and managed to throw hard into his 40s. Tim Hudson, five years older than Haren, has struggled with back issues and ultimately had to get surgery in 2011 but came back strong in 2012 and managed well with a lower velocity. On the flip side, teammate Peter Moylan has been held to just 13 IP over the last two seasons and has had to undergo multiple back surgeries.

Haren insists he is okay, but he just missed out on a $15.5 million pay day in 2013 and needs a new job, so what else is he going to say? Ultimately, he won’t get nearly the money or years that Greinke is looking at but he will definitely get a chance to prove his value with a one- to two-year contract, likely worth $10-24 million. The real question is which team that is going to miss out on Zack Greinke is going to call Haren’s agent up first.

Haren’s Options:

San Diego Padres: According to the San Diego Union Tribune, the Padres have already reached out to Haren and are reportedly “very interested” and have been in the past as well.

Boston Red Sox: Before the Cubs had a deal in place, the Red Sox were looking to trade for Haren. Now they can have him for a lot less.

Chicago Cubs: The Cubs canceled their trade but with no players to give up and no $15.5 million paycheck to write, Haren is a lot less risky for the Cubs to acquire now.

New York Yankees: The Yankees are potentially losing Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, and Freddy Garcia. If they miss out on Zack Greinke, or even if they don’t, they might look Haren’s way.

Milwaukee Brewers: The Brew Crew traded away Greinke mid-season and are losing Shaun Marcum and could definitely use a veteran arm behind Yovani Gallardo.

Detroit Tigers: Tigers may look to fill Anibal Sanchez‘s spot with a veteran arm and have been willing to spend in recent off-seasons.

Toronto Blue Jays: The Jays could really use another arm to go along with Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow and there are not too many good options on the market.

Washington Nationals: The Nats have been spending of late and Haren seems like a perfect fit to get the same one-year, $11 million contract the Nats gave Edwin Jackson last season.

Los Angeles Angels: With the price tag now lower, the Angels may entertain re-signing Haren but it’s unlikely considering they shelled out $3.5 million just to get rid of his contract.

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