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MLB Washington Nationals

Washington Nationals: How Long is Dan Haren’s Leash?

Joy R. Absalon- USA Today Sports

When Dan Haren signed a one-year $13 million deal with the Washington Nationals, I was absolutely thrilled.

I would like to go back and slap myself.

Haren has been, well, less than stellar, to be blunt. Last night, versus the New York Mets, was no better as we saw Haren allow three home runs, two to Marlon Byrd — yes, that Marlon Byrd — in what became a 10-1 beat down for Washington. Haren’s season has been marred by games like last night, where he leaves the ball up and over the plate, allowing home runs and putting the Nationals in an early hole. Looking at Haren’s game log, he’s gone less than or been pulled after five innings in six of his 12 starts and has allowed more than five hits in nine of them. Haren also leads the Majors in Home Runs allowed at 15,

For the money Haren is getting paid, one has to wonder how much more leash Haren has. Combine that with a 29-30 team-record and currently sitting in third place in their division, the question must be asked.

If Mike Rizzo had known what he was getting from Haren at the time he was available, there is no chance he would have signed him, or paid him the money he did. With all of Washington’s pitching related injuries, the Nationals cannot afford to have Haren’s inconsistency. Is there a really high chance Haren is actually released? No, I believe that with Haren’s track record, he will get every opportunity to straighten himself out, but I also believe at some point Washington will have no choice but to make a move. I think there is actually a really good chance that they decide to give Nathan Karns a chance in the rotation if he is able to pitch well against the Minnesota Twins, and make it through the 5th inning.

It’s very frustrating watching a team with so many expectations underachieve as mightily as the Nationals have. If Haren can turn himself around and guys like Stephen Strasburg and Ross Detwiler come back healthy, Washington could turn things around.

And fast.