NASHVILLE – The Washington Nationals upgraded their starting rotation Tuesday by agreeing in principle to a one-year, $13 million deal with free-agent right-hander Dan Haren, pending a physical.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo indicated Haren is scheduled to take his physical on Thursday.
The 32-year old Haren will be added to the rotation that already includes Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Ross Detwiler.
“I think it’s great,” said Nationals manager Davey Johnson. “I’ve got some young guys who act like veterans and they pitched like veterans for me last year. But adding a veteran like Dan Haren is going to make things even better. I’ve seen him pitch a lot over the years and he’s an intense competitor.”
Haren has had back problems during the last year. While he made 30 starts last season with the Angels, his velocity was down and so were his normal “Haren-like” numbers.
He posted a 12-13 record in 2012 with an ERA of 4.33 and pitched a career low 176 innings breaking a string of seven consecutive seasons of pitching at least 215 innings. In 2011, he went 16-10 in 34 starts with an ERA of 3.17.
Haren will slide into the spot in the rotation held by Edwin Jackson last season before he departed.
Haren’s $15.5 million option was not picked up by the Angels. The team instead paid him a $3.5 million buy out.
Haren is no stranger to the National League having pitched with the Diamondbacks from 2008 until 2010 when he was traded to the Angels just before the trade deadline.
“The American League is a little bit tougher with the extra DH,” Johnson said. “I like his stuff, I like his competitiveness. I think, like a good starting staff, they all feed off each other. And I think he will be one of the leaders on this staff.”