One year and $13 million.
That's all it took to land one of the better pitchers on the free-agent market this offseason.
Sure, it's a lot of money after the kind of season Dan Haren had, but this is a guy who, before 2012, had been one of the better pitchers in baseball.
He's not an ace or one of the best of the best, but he's certainly a more than capable No. 2 starter for any team in the major leagues.
Based on the contract he signed this morning with the Washington Nationals this morning (per espn.com), it's hard to imagine why the Blue Jays didn't make more of an effort to ink the veteran starter.
I know GM Alex Anthopoulos indicated that he would be more focused on adding depth to the rotation and the bullpen through more minor signings after the blockbuster trade he orchestrated with the Miami Marlins, but hear me out on this one.
First off, the $13 million shouldn't have posed a huge problem.
While the Blue Jays are hovering around the $120 million payroll mark as it stands already, pushing $130 million for two seasons (yes, I meant to say two) surely wouldn't be crippling to the financial state of the organization.
Second, offering a second year to Haren wouldn't pose a huge risk, nor would it block any of Toronto's top pitching prospects who are all at least two years away from being major league ready. Noah Syndergaard and Aaron Sanchez spent 2012 playing Class-A ball in Lansing (not to be confused with Class-A Advanced), while Roberto Osuna was playing short-season ball with Vancouver.
The second year would have probably convinced Haren to sign in Toronto instead of Washington as well.
If Haren were to have trouble getting back to form, the Jays would only be stuck with him for two seasons and could use him as a fifth starter.
If he were, however, to shake off a poor 2012 season and return to posting an ERA of about 3.40 or so, it would be a huge boost to the Jays' starting rotation and make it that much more likely that the team could make a serious playoff run.
The Blue Jays would have been wise making one last big move this offseason.
The potential reward far outweighs the potential risk.
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