Why Dan Haren Makes the Washington Nationals Better Than Atlanta Braves in 2013

Michael NargiSenior Analyst IDecember 5, 2012

ANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 03:  Dan Haren #24 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim throws a pitch against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 3, 2012 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Washington Nationals might have found the final piece to their puzzle on Tuesday after signing Dan Haren to a one-year, $13-million deal, as first reported by Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.

Assuming that Haren could remain healthy in D.C., it would be safe to say that the Washington Nationals could feel a bit more confident in being able to fend off the Atlanta Braves for one more season.

Haren will be a solid addition to the Nats despite battling injuries over his career. Haren has still been able to start at least 30 games each season since 2005. This consistency is vital to the Nationals keeping the Braves at bay once again in 2013. 

Haren has excelled in the National League in the past and should be an even bigger threat now that he is entering his prime. Haren has eclipsed 200 strikeouts three times in his career and has averaged 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings while pitching in the NL, opposed to 7.2 while in the AL. 

Haren looks to be the third starter in a pitching rotation that already can claim to be one of the best in the game. Haren joins Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Ross Detwiler in the rotation while Edwin Jackson searches for another team to play for in 2013.

The Nats can now enter a three-game series against their division rivals knowing that a legitimate ace will be taking the mound in at least two of them. 

The addition of Haren to an already potent rotation is incredibly beneficial to Haren. Haren is no longer going to be looked at to be a team's savior or a 230-inning ace. Instead, he'll be another piece to an already superb pitching puzzle.

Despite the Braves' young talent in the pitching department, it appears that the Nationals have made that one extra move that might just decide the outcome of the NL East in 2013.