I know it’s only day two of the 2012 Winter Meetings, but I believe the Washington Nationals have made the best signing we will see this week, inking Dan Haren to a one-year, $13 million deal.
In the sports business world, there isn’t anything better than a one-year contract. Not only does it allow a team to get a player at minimal cost, but it keeps that player motivated to earn a big payday after the season. That is why this deal makes sense for both parties.
For all intents and purposes, prior to to last season, Dan Haren was as close to an ace as a pitcher could be. There weren’t many pitchers that had the statistics Haren put up on a consistent basis. Not only did Haren consistently give his teams 200+ innings, but those 200+ innings were magnificent. Since 2006, his K:BB ratio is among the best in baseball.
But something happened last season: Haren’s velocity dropped due to back issues.
For that reason alone, the Angels were worried Haren was finished. This prompted a trade to the Chicago Cubs, until Theo Epstein pulled out due to his health issues, causing the Angels to decline Haren’s $15 million option instead.
After the failed trade, I felt Haren would be the best bargain on the free agent market. This deal proves me right.
If healthy, a motivated Haren will give the Nationals one of the best no. 4 starters in the game. And if Haren’s back issues are a huge problem – - so what? It’s only a one-year deal. Also, this deal allows Haren to reestablish his worth for a long-term deal next season, which makes the one-year deal even better.
Final verdict: One-year deals are never a bad thing, no matter how much money it’s worth. And for a pitcher as good as Haren, it’s an absolute steal.