Washington Nationals starting pitcher Dan Haren has struggled mightily in his first three starts this season. Should the Nationals be overly concerned about Haren’s performance, or should they just chalk it up as early season jitters?
The 32-year-old signed a one-year, $13 million deal with Washington this past offseason after spending the last couple of years with the Los Angeles Angels. Haren is 1-2 with a dismal 8.10 earned run average and 12 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings.
The contract alone is a big reason why the Nationals will not give up on Haren as easily as they would on someone who is not making over $10 million in 2013. Not to mention, it has only been three starts. That is certainly not enough to judge a new pitcher, even if he has accomplished very little over that span. Washington owes Haren a few more starts before they even begin to think about making a roster move.
With that being said, the Nationals did sign veteran starting pitcher Chris Young to a minor-league contract for a reason. The purpose for Young to be in the organization is in case one of the five starters on the active roster falters to the point where they need to be replaced.
The 33-year-old went 1-0 with a 2.25 earned run average, nine strikeouts, seven walks and 16 innings in four starts this spring. He certainly has seen better days as injuries have caused him some problems in recent years. However, if Haren cannot prove his worth to the team then Washington will have no choice but to go with Young.
Haren will get his next opportunity to show his teammates that he can handle the rotation spot on Monday against the St. Louis Cardinals.