The New York Yankees will spend money this winter. There are a lot of holes for GM Brian Cashman to fill and the starting rotation will figure to be one of those areas with Andy Pettitte retiring, Phil Hughes’ Yankees career over and Hiroki Kuroda’s future up in the air. The Yankees have already been linked to Japanese ace Masuhiro Tanaka but with the posting process they are far from sure things to land him. Because of that, the Yankees could look to sign an established starter to round out the rotation behind C.C. Sabathia and Ivan Nova.
Dan Haren is one pitcher who could be worth taking a look at. The 33-year-old right-hander might be done competing for Cy Young Awards and making All-Star teams but Haren can still offer quite a bit to a team willing to take a chance on him. For starters, Haren should be pretty affordable as he comes off a rocky season that saw him pitch to a 4.67 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in 169 innings. Most of his poor performances came early on in the year for the Washington Nationals and he pitched much better after a DL stint.
The Yankees have shown interest in Haren in the past, apparently discussing him prior to the August 31st deadline. It would only make sense for the Yankees to show interest again now that it won’t cost the Yankees a prospect. The one issue with Haren is his tendency to give up home runs over the past two seasons. He served them at a rate of 1.4 per nine innings in 2012 and 1.5 per nine last season. Putting him in Yankee Stadium could result in him giving up a few more home runs than in the past. The good news is Haren barely walks anyone, owning a career BB/9 rate of 1.9 and sat at 1.6 BB/9 last season so he won’t get killed by putting men on base.
Haren is not the pitcher he was with the Arizona Diamondbacks or even early on with the Los Angeles Angels. However, he is still a solid mid-rotation starter who, if healthy, should give the Yankees about 200 innings of quality work. Expect the Yankees to at least make an inquiry on Haren and don’t be surprised if they land him to replace Hughes.