Nationals Baseball: Quick thoughts on the Haren deal

Friday, December 07, 2012

Quick thoughts on the Haren deal

Sorry kids - I was out of town on business like a big person so I didn't have any time to put a longer post together.  I'll try to have something up soon, but as anyone who's ever gone out of town on business knows today will be filled with furiously answering the emails that have piled up. So Monday probably.

Some quick thoughts that I'm sure you've heard by now and maybe even put in the last set of comments.

Outside of dramatic overpays, any 1 yr deal (and really 2 year deals, I think) for a veteran player is good one. It doesn't lock you in to multiple years if things go wrong - injury, decline phase, personality clash. It doesn't hurt your future flexibility, if you're running up against whatever budget you may have set. If things go right, the Nats have other options when Dan likely explores a longer-term deal after the season.

AL->NL is always good.  Dan's pitched in both so it's not like he'll be a surprise to the players in the senior circuit, but for any pitcher going back to a league where you can dial things down every 9th batter is a boon.

Last year wasn't one big thing for Dan, it was a bunch of little things.  Walks picked up. Homers picked up. BABIP was up. Gave up more line drives. He did get a little unlucky but he also pitched as badly as he did in a long time. You can blame the injury if you like, right now. He did pitch to better results after his DL stint

It's a bigger gamble than Edwin, but the reward is potentially higher.  Injuries for pitchers rightfully scare people. A tweak here or there can screw up the delivery honed over years and turn a great pitcher into a bad one pretty quickly.  IF Haren is healthy and IF he's not entering a decline phase of his career, than he should be a better pitcher than Jackson would be, which sets the Nationals up to have a rotation with four pitchers who would be no worse than a #2 on pretty much every other MLB staff.  It's a risk sure, but the Nats can risk those "IF"s this year, when they couldn't last year, when they had ZNN trying to pitch his first full year after TJ, Strasburg on an innings limit and they had no idea how the #5 slot was going to work out.

Is it Greinke? No. And I wonder about the wisdom of not making a long-term pitching deal when the Nats' minor leagues pitching situation can be best described as "pray for health". But Rizzo is not inclined to give long term deals to pitchers (Strasburg will be the best test case because he hits FA after his 27 yr old season), the current rotation is young and under contract long enough to find some other pitcher over the course of 3 seasons, and if not Greinke than something like this is the next best option.(and you could argue the best option period - I'm a Greink-ophile)


Donald said...

I think it's a good deal too, and I'm not as worried about the weak staff in AAA. If someone gets hurt, Rizzo can always try to swing a rental at the trading deadline. Next year, we should have a better idea of how far away Giolitto and Solis are from recovering, too.

Zimmerman11 said...

We have plenty of acceptable number five starters to mix and match and give a shot if someone gets hurt or underperforms... fifth starter spot is our biggest weakness (IF something bad happens)? I will take that every day and twice on Sunday.

My question is, Is Span better than Revere in your opinion? If Revere was available, should Rizzo have gone after him? We'll get our answer, having the two of them in the NL East...

And if Greinke goes for 160M+ dollars, do you still think the Nats should have ponied up?

Anonymous said...

Now go get LaRoche!

bdrube said...

Rizzo DID give a long term deal to Gio, and the Nats have already talked about the possibility of an extension for Z-nn. Greinke is simply too expensive for what he is--a very good pitcher, but other than his Cy Young season not one of the true elites.

Sec314 said...

Greinke sounds like he's wound tighter than Strasburg, even on days off. His ejection for glove slamming and other comments has made make me wonder if he'd fit on a Rizzo-built team that emphasizes personality.

Harper said...

quikc because I'm out the door. Overall you'd rather have Revere. He has youth (could still break out), more speed, better fielding and a better contract (long term team control). But Span is fine for the Nats who are waiting on Goodwin. He's got a better bat and will likely be slightly more valuable than Revere over the next two years. (assuming they hit about expected)

DCNatty said...

thats the key....The Nats have Goodwin on the way. So I think they wanted the better player right now, which I think is Span. Rever is younger, better contract control with more upised (potentially) but the Phillies over gave up more to get him, then the Nats did to get Span. Both teams gave up their #1 pitching prosepct, but the Phillies threw in a proven starter.

I like Span over Revere. Also nothing saying Rever can handle the pressure of the Philly faithful. Span is a bit more proven.

MM said...


Your thoughts on whether signing Haren for $13 mil is better than keeping Lannan as your #5 or AAAA ($4 - $5 mil), Gorzelany ($3 mil) and having that extra $5 mil or so for other priorities?

Donald said...

IMO, if Haren bounces back, he gives the Nats the best rotation in baseball. He's a legitimate #2 that we could be starting in the #4 or #5 slot. Every pitcher in the rotation has a chance to dominate an opposing team. They won't all do it every start, but there's no weak link at all. Even our #5 (Haren or Detwiler) could match up fine against the other team's ace.

BlueLoneWolf said...

The weak link of the rotation if Haren's healthy is somewhere between FailGio (no control, too many balls by far) and a flat Det (can't get his sinker to fall and everything's fat and over the plate). I'm more worried about our bullpen now.

Donald said...

We could use a loogy in the pen, but having Storen, Clippard, Duke, Stammen and possibly Garcia is a pretty strong base to work from. And if HRod's issues last year were injury related that he bounces back from, it could once again be a strong point of the team. This is probably wishful thinking, but I don't think the pen is that far off.

Harper said...

Donald - I think they'll still be far away but you know he has next year and next and next....

Z11 - 6 yrs / 145 milll.... I'd say they should have done it. but again. I'm baised.

Anon - still making sure no one will offer him 3!

bdrube - The Gio contract is about saving money really. He was due to go into arbitration. If Lannan could get 5 million, how much would Gio get this year (due 6.25). Yes he gambled a bit but if Gio was even just "good" he'd probably have made more.

Sec 314 - Greinke is an odd duck to be sure but that only matters if you don't win and the Nats WILL win.

DCNatty - yeah, and even without Goodwin Span is probably better in 2013... maybe 14 too. If the Nats are really "win-now" that matters. Revere is the better deal but not necessarily for the Nats.

MM - Money wise... it's pretty close. I think Lannan would be perfectly ok with this team and Gorzo did a fine job in relief, but for a "win-now" team you can afford to overpay a little (and really it'll only be a little) for an extra win or two. I;d say it's what you should do.

Donald - see today

BLW - The rotation is solid top to bottom barring injury. That's all you can ask. Pen... it should be well enough, at least the back end.

Donald - It's slightly less strong than last year when it was really good. Now I'd say... A little above average? Honestly though these things can swing all over the place. I like Storen at the back end, someone will surely pan out so for the most part we're worrying over nothing.

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