5 Reasons Dan Haren Is the Perfect Free Agent Fit for the San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres are in desperate need of a shake up. After coming off a 76-86 2012 season, and watching their rivals the Los Angeles Dodgers make blockbuster trades and the San Francisco Giants win another World Series, the Padres need to stay relevant in the NL West.
The Padres, and General Manager Josh Byrnes, learned their lesson in 2012 after losing a good chunk of their starting pitching due to injuries. Depth. Depth. Depth.
Dan Haren is often brought up during the Padres’ offseason talks. As Bill Center of the Union Tribune reports, “[GM] Byrnes Friday afternoon admitted Haren was among the “eight to 10” starting pitchers the Padres were very interested in.”
With the addition of Haren, the Padres could be a darkhorse contender in the NL West. We’ve seen the potential of their young hitters, and with highly-touted prospects nearing the MLB, the Padres could be an all-around solid team this upcoming year.
Seemingly, the only issue with signing Haren will be landing him in the Padres’ budget. As Yahoo Sports Jeff Passan states via Twitter, “everyone with whom I've spoken today says the same thing: The entire pitching market -- FA and trade -- is waiting for Zack Greinke to sign.”
Thus, Bill Center speculates, “The Padres are still interested in Haren. It’s going to be a wait and see game.”
UPDATE: Several sources are claiming Nationals and Dan Haren have agreed on a contract
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History repeats itself, right?
Josh Byrnes was the GM for the Arizona Diamondbacks when the 7-player trade brought Haren to the desert. His time with the D-backs made Byrnes look like a genius as well, as he was elected to two All Star appearances.
But history also has another meaning when it comes to the Padres. San Diego has a long history of picking up both aging pitchers, and pitchers after off-years. Remember David Wells and Greg Maddux pitching for the Padres?
2. Discount Price
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In 2012, Haren was 12-13 with a 4.33 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. After the subpar season, the Angels declined to pick up the $15.5M option for 2013. His next contract won’t come close to $15.5M, but could be worth the risk.
If Haren can return to pre-2012 form, the Padres could have one of the best pitchers at a bargain price for 2013.
3. Mentor and Leader
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As I’ve mentioned in several previous articles, the Padres have a slew of young prospects ready to enter the MLB. These include many pitching prospects such as Casey Kelly, Robbie Erlin, Andrew Cashner and Eric Stults, who, according to MLB.com’s Corey Brock, will all be battling for a rotation spot this season.
Without the 32 year old Haren, 28 year old Clayton Richard is the “veteran leader” of the staff. Keep in mind Haren has played, and played well, for various teams, and has the postseason experience that is nearly nonexistent within the Padres organization.
The intangibles and leadership Haren can bring to the Padres could be invaluable. Which, along with his discounted price, could turn a monumental profit for the Padres.
4. Need Pitching Depth
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As I mentioned on the first slide, the Padres were absolutely devastated by injuries in 2012.
The UT’s Bill Center states, “And given the Padres already lengthy list of injured and rehabbing starting pitchers, he’d prefer to add a pitcher with a history of durability over one that has a checkered medical past.”
Though Center argues against taking on the risky Haren, it’s no secret the Padres need pitching. One thing is for sure: they definitely won’t be able to contend with a makeshift rotation like it was in 2012.
5. Great Fit for Haren
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This whole article has been about why Haren is a great fit for the Padres, but what about the Padres being a great fit for Haren?
As mentioned before, Haren is coming off one of his worst seasons. What better way to get back on track than at the spacious Petco Park? Even with moving the fences in, San Diego will always remain a great pitchers’ park.
Looking at the second half of 2012, the Padres were actually a pretty good team. Hopefully that momentum carries into 2013 and the offense can provide some good run support for their pitchers.
Given Haren’s relationship with Byrnes, the low-pressure environment in San Diego and the excellent pitching conditions, the Padres are a great fit for Haren.