NASHVILLE, Tenn. - As we wait on the results of Dan Haren’s physical, we’re hearing more word come in that other teams had some concerns when they were going over the veteran right-hander’s medicals.
The Boston Globe is reporting that the Red Sox did not like what they saw when looking at Haren’s hip. I’ve heard increased buzz that the hip was an area of concern with other teams, as well.
And based on what I’m hearing around the lobby of the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, that clearance is not sounding like a sure thing.
If healthy, Haren is viewed by those I talked to as a definite upgrade over Edwin Jackson, who the Nationals let walk after declining to give him a qualifying offer.
Haren’s 2012 season was his worst since becoming a full-time major league starter, posting a 4.33 ERA (previously, his highest ERA was 4.12 in 2006) and throwing just 176 innings (previously, his low was 216 in 2008). A back injury landed him on the disabled list for the first time in his career and his velocity has dropped in the last few years. Some feel that all the 220-plus inning seasons he has under his belt have worn him down.
But Haren is still viewed by most as a bull, a guy who will fight through aches and pains and take the ball every fifth day if at all possible. He’s well-liked, and while he might not be a No. 2 starter anymore, those within the industry that I talked to in the last hour feel he provides very good value at the back of the rotation under a one-year deal.
One national reporter I’ve spoken with also complimented the Nats for coming to terms with Haren before Zack Greinke signed somewhere. The market for other free agent starters could rise significantly after Greinke lands what’s expected to be a monster deal, so the Nats could benefit from the fact that they got Haren somewhat early in the process.
Meanwhile, if Haren’s deal does end up going through, the Nationals’ to-do list has significantly shrunk over the last week.
They got their speedy center fielder in Denard Span. They appear to have their fifth starter, if that’s how you want to refer to three-time All-Star Haren. They got their left-handed long-reliever in Zach Duke.
Now, the attention shifts squarely to Adam LaRoche and Michael Morse.
The Nats need to figure out who will man first base for them in 2013, and they will still look to bolster their bullpen, specifically with another left-hander.
Morse could be dealt, and Danny Espinosa is still a trade candidate as well. But if/when Haren’s deal is completed, the Nats could have the bulk of their roster in place for 2013.