Dan Haren agrees with Dodgers
Haren likely will serve as their No. 4 or 5 starter in what could be a star-studded -- and crowded -- rotation. Coming off the worst full season of his career, Haren said he won't be "looking over his shoulder," as Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett work their way back from injuries and rumors persist that the Dodgers might make a run at star right-hander Masahiro Tanaka out of Japan.
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"Of course, it crossed my mind that the Dodgers have a little bit of depth," Haren said. "I'm not exactly sure on the injury front how guys are coming back, but I can't really come into a situation as a Dodger looking over my shoulder. They brought me in, they think highly of me and I'm very confident in my ability. I'm not planning to look back. They've given me a job and I'm going to run with it."
Haren will make $10 million and has a chance to make $3 million more if he reaches his incentives based on games started and innings pitched. If Haren pitches 180 innings, a player option for 2015 vests and he will make another $10 million with the same incentive package as the 2014 deal.
Haren, 33, was 10-14 with a 4.67 ERA, many of his woes attributable to home runs, but after a short stay on the disabled list, he had a 3.29 ERA and 84 strikeouts in his last 15 starts. Haren, who has dealt with back issues in the past, said he underwent a thorough physical Monday before the deal was announced. He is 129-111 with a 3.74 ERA in his career. He was selected for three All-Star games and started the 2008 game for the Oakland A's.
Haren said he had discussions with other teams about a two-year deal but was swayed by the opportunity to return to the West Coast, where he enjoyed success with the A's and Los Angeles Angels. He lives 50 miles south of Dodger Stadium in the same Irvine development as Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire and said he is thinking about purchasing an electric car to gain entry to the carpool lanes.
The Dodgers' rotation had the best ERA in the major leagues last season, led by Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw and aided by stalwart seasons from Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu, but they didn't want to take any chances with Billingsley coming off Tommy John surgery and not expected back until May or June and with Beckett coming off surgery to alleviate pressure on a nerve near his right shoulder.
"Dan brings experience as a winner to our club and rotation," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said in a statement. "He has made 30 or more starts for nine straight seasons and has won 10 or more games for nine straight as well. Last year, his second half was among the best in the National League."
Haren, then a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, won his first major-league game at Dodger Stadium in 2003, beating the Dodgers' Kevin Brown. Growing up in West Covina, about 25 miles east of Dodger Stadium, he said he attended an equal number of Dodgers and Angels games. Haren pitched for the Angels from 2010-12.
"It means so much for me and my family to have the opportunity to come back to Southern California," Haren said.
With the Haren signing, the Dodgers have $185.5 million committed to 13 players, just $3.5 million shy of baseball's luxury tax.
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