All season long, I have ranted about how Washington Nationals pitcher Dan Haren needs to go. However, maybe Haren doesn’t need to go in a sense that he is no longer a member of Nationals. Maybe he is exactly where he needs to be on the disabled list.
Statistically, Dan Haren is the worst pitcher in MLB. Haren is 4-9 with a 6.15 ERA, a 1.44 WHIP and a BAA of .306. It’s obvious that of the five starting pitchers in the rotation, Haren is the weakest link.
Last week, Haren was sent to the 15-day DL after being diagnosed with a “sore shoulder”. He was given an MRI, which came back negative for structural damage, and then a cortisone shot and was told to rest. Yesterday, Haren threw a bullpen session and told reporters afterward that he felt better and was throwing the ball with ease.
When the news first broke that Haren was headed to the DL for a sore shoulder, my first thought was that the Nationals simply wanted to either try out a new pitcher from the minor leagues, Taylor Jordan, or give him some time to get his head right since every start on the mound ended in a total meltdown. However, there was one more option that could have been weighed.
The first, and last, time that Haren was on the disabled list was last season. Following that stint on the DL, Haren then posted a 3.58 ERA in 13 starts. Those kind of numbers were exactly what drove the Nationals to sign the right-hander to a one-year, $13 million contract in the offseason. Up until now, the move has been a bust and many have given general manager Mike Rizzo and manager Davey Johnson some heat because of it.
But, maybe Haren’s trip to the DL is exactly what the struggling pitcher needs. The Nationals are giving him a chance to collect himself and return to form to earn that $13 million that they are paying him.
As one reporter put it, the Nationals are giving themselves plenty of time to make a trade if he doesn’t return to form — say, for today’s opposing starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo — before the July 31 trade deadline.