Sunday, October 21, 2012

In the Cross Hairs: Dan Haren

"Ignore the numbers, dude. You don't want Kyle, forget the fact that he won 16 games and had era under 3 this season.  It won't happen again."  Just some of the comments that have been said to me from anonymous Cardinals fans regarding the potential rotation candidate, Kyle Lohse.  I'd just like to point out that those aren't cogent reasons why any team should not look into signing any player.  Were they just making fun of us Royals fans for considering Kyle? I'll leave that to you.  Let's move on to another possible suitor the Royals can look to bolster the rotation for next season.

I stumbled across two different articles a couple nights ago, one suggesting the Royals go after a current Los Angeles Angels' pitcher.  No, it's not Zack Greinke.  I think that ship has taken its voyage to the 'Undying Lands of Valinor', but who knows, it could always come back.  According to inside MLB sources, Dan Haren is a possible candidate to land a job in Kansas City.  While throwing in three other uniforms (St. Louis, Oakland, Arizona), Haren has assembled a 119-97 record, 3.66 era, logging 1876.2 innings and a 7.6 SO/9 in his 10 year tenure in the bigs.  The article isn't saying much in terms of adding credibility, but it does go far enough to suggest some Major League sources are predicting Haren to sign with Kansas City.

Haren, 32, went 12-13 this season, posting a 4.33 era, throwing 176.2 innings, his lowest IP total since 2004, and striking out 142, while walking 38.  Although it wasn't by much, Haren faired better on the road, 3.95 era, than he did throwing at home in Los Angeles, posting a 4.68 era.  Mainly a groundball pitcher, Haren has averaged 43.2% GB to 36.9% FB via FanGraphs.  

For the 1st half of the season, Haren was dealing with back issues, which definitely has to be the culprit to his considerably down year.  He also has a $15.5 million option out on the table for the Angels to pick up.  It would not suprise me in the slightest if LA went ahead and picked up that option, considering the Angels were just inches away from making the playoffs, if it weren't for the magical season the Oakland Athletics put on display. However, at this point the buyout is more likely.

Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times interviewed Haren earlier this month after he threw his final game of the season (LA Times).  Being asked on the prospects of exploring free agency,

"I'm not looking to break the bank, I'm not looking to sign a Zack Greinke deal. I'm looking for whatever is fair. I'll have to see what happens. Players work hard to get to free agency. I've played nine years, and if I become a free agent, it would be stupid not to take advantage of that."  
The fact that Haren said he's looking for what's fair and not anything too lucrative is a definite plus.  The Royals front office should clearly take a stab at going after Haren this off-season. With money that needs to be spent on something that is needed desperately, Haren can come into camp with a fresh mind, putting last year behind him, and get his career back onto the right path.  I would predict him throwing at least 210 innings, era well below 4, and winning at least 14 games at 'The K' with much improved defense to back him up. If he's going to take advantage of free agency, he should be willing to hear any offer the Royals throw his way.

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