Nationals sign Haren for $13 million

Nationals sign Haren for $13 million
December 4, 2012, 11:00 am
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Updated at 11:55 a.m.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Nationals have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with right-hander Dan Haren, adding the final piece to what was already one of the majors' deepest and most-talented rotations.

The deal won't be official until Haren, 32, passes a physical, but the two sides have agreed to terms that include a $13 million salary for 2013, according to a club source.

Haren is a three-time All-Star with a career 119-97 record and 3.66 ERA in parts of 10 seasons with the Cardinals, Athletics, Diamondbacks and Angels. He had an off-year this season in Los Angeles, going 12-13 with a 4.33 ERA while dealing with a lingering back injury that scared off some clubs.

After a brief July stint on the disabled list, Haren returned stronger and posted a 3.58 ERA over his final 13 starts. The Nationals were confident enough in the right-hander's health to agree to terms on a contract now, though they still need him to pass the physical before the deal is finalized.

The Nationals won't be asking Haren to anchor their staff, merely to supplement what was baseball's best rotation last season and returns four under-30 starters in 2013: Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Ross Detwiler.

Haren fits the mold of those other starters, a tall (6-foot-5), high-strikeout pitcher (7.6 per nine innings in his career) and innings-eater (seven straight years of 216 or more until last season), though his recent decline could be a bit troubling.

Even so, the Nationals aren't committing to Haren long-term, only for one year at a price far cheaper than would have been required to sign the preeminent starter on the market (Zack Greinke) or trade for another available big name (James Shields).

With their rotation now set, the Nationals will turn their attention to re-signing first baseman Adam LaRoche and potentially trading slugger Michael Morse. They also seek bullpen help after losing left-hander Sean Burnett (and possibly Michael Gonzalez) to free agency.