Right-hander Dan Haren fits into the ideal mold of what Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo looks for in a starting pitcher. At 6-foot-5 and 215 lbs., Haren will be an imposing veteran presence on the mound in Nationals Park, and be a perfect complement to the Nats’ already lethal rotation.
Haren would match left-hander Ross Detwiler as the tallest of the five starters: Stephen Strasburg is 6-foot-4, Gio Gonzalez is 6-foot, Jordan Zimmermann is 6-foot-2 and Detwiler is 6-foot-5.
Detwiler was excited to hear that Haren could be in the fold for 2013.
“From his early days in St. Louis, I have been watching him,” Detwiler said. “I know he is a great pitcher and he has had some great years up there.”
Detwiler also believes Haren could be slotted even higher than the fifth starter.
“I am not sure where he is going to fit in,” Detwiler said. “I don’t know if he is going to be (No. 5). It looks like I will be (No. 5) again and that is fine. I think it worked out well last year and then you add the veteran leadership and what he can bring to the table pitching-wise.”
Reaction to the proposed deal outside of the Nationals has also been positive. One West Coast major league scout said Haren has a “solid arm that will really help the back side of the Nats rotation. He is a veteran that should eat up innings.”
Haren boasts 119 major league wins and a career 3.66 ERA, and was 12-13 with a 4.33 ERA last season. He has pitched in the National League before with the Cardinals in 2003-04, and then spent three seasons with the Oakland A’s, and most recently with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Angels.
Detwiler said with the addition of Haren, it makes a very good staff even better with all of his experience over 10 seasons.
“We are looking at stacking right up with our staff last year. We were the best in baseball in ERA,” Detwiler said.
Haren, a three-time All-Star, was 15-9 (3.07 ERA) in 2007, 16-8 (3.33 ERA) in 2008 and 14-10 (3.14 ERA) in 2009. The West Covina, Calif., native attended Pepperdine, and was the No. 2 overall selection for the Cardinals in 2001 draft.
The 32-year old Haren has East Coast ties, too. His sister attended Columbia University and he has family in New Jersey. His dad grew up in Washington Heights near old Yankee Stadium and his grandfather ran a train that went alongside the stadium. But Haren grew up 10 miles east of Los Angeles.
One interesting irony is Haren pitched at Single-A Potomac, then a Cardinals affiliate, for 14 games in 2002, going 3-6 with a 3.62 ERA.