Dan Haren gave up four runs in the first inning on Sunday in Kansas City, but settled in after that and held the Royals there so Washington could eventually rally to tie a game that was decided when the Nationals' defense faltered in the eighth inning. After the loss, Nats' skipper Davey Johnson praised the work his 32-year-old starter did to keep the team in the game.
"Haren made a couple of mistakes early," Davey Johnson told reporters, "and then pitched brilliantly for six solid innings, gave us a chance to win." In his last 10 games, nine of them starts, Haren has a 2.53 ERA over 57 IP in which he's held opponents to a .208/.255/.329 line. So, will a team headed for the postseason take a chance on the veteran right-hander? We talked about it after Sunday's loss in KC:
Federal Baseball: "I'm really interested now, Mike Rizzo talked the other day about how [Dan] Haren had cleared waivers, so now they're free to trade him. He said they had gotten a few calls but the way he described wanting some sort of 'package' in return for Haren makes me think that he's not going anywhere. But I was interested to hear your thoughts too on if some team out there is going to take a chance on Dan Haren. I don't know if a team that's contending wants a pitcher like him who tends to have those bad innings like he did today and put him in a tough spot, but I'd interested to hear what you think if there's a possibility he's going to finish this season with another team?"
District Sports Page: "It certainly doesn't sound like it from Rizzo's comments and it leads me to believe that Rizzo might try to re-sign him. I've said all along here in the second-half each good start that he has that he's adding zeroes to the price of his next contract. It wouldn't shock me to see Rizzo re-sign him, I think that's the upshot here. If he's expecting a package in return for Dan Haren at this point in the season, that really leads me to believe that Rizzo doesn't intend to trade him. It doesn't make any sense with a player who's just on the one-year contract unless, as I said, Rizzo has designs of re-signing him."
Federal Baseball: "I thought it was interesting that Haren kind of said he was having a tough year not only professionally in the first half but also personally being on the East Coast when his family is on the West Coast and kind of talked about how he didn't think he would be back in D.C. when he talked to MLB.com's Bill Ladson a couple weeks back. So, I think it will be interesting to see what they do going forward with [Haren] or if the Nationals are willing to trust some of the young [starters next season]..."
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Notes: The comments on Dan Haren by Nats' GM Mike Rizzo referred to above were reported by the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore, among other reporters. "'He’s pitching extremely well for us,'" Rizzo said when asked about the pitcher's availability. "'We would certainly listen. I wouldn’t be doing my job if we didn’t. But we would have to get ourselves a good package of players to consider moving him.'" St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Derrick Goold wrote this morning that he's heard the same about the Nationals' asking price for the 11-year veteran.
"Washington's surging starter Dan Haren cleared waivers and can be traded to any team," Mr. Goold writes, "but the Nationals want a group of prospects. They can position as if they'll get draft-pick compensation for Haren even if they have no plan to offer him a qualifying contract. It remains a seller's market."
So Haren finishes the season in D.C.?