When a then-32-year-old Dan Haren signed a 1-year/$13M deal with the Washington Nationals last winter, he was coming off a (12-13) season in Los Angeles in which he had a 4.33 ERA, 4.24 FIP, 38 walks (1.94 BB/9) and 142 Ks (7.23 K/9) in 30 starts and 176.2 IP for the Angels over which gave up 28 HRs (1.43 HR/9) and was worth +1.8 fWAR.
A DL stint in 2012, the first of his career, and what some interested teams saw in his medical records raised questions about his health and in his mind cost the then-10-year veteran the multi-year deal he thought he might find.
"I understand that teams had concerns," Haren told reporters, "otherwise I probably would have gotten a 3 or 4-year deal, but that said, I think I have a lot to prove this year. Very confident I'm going to stay healthy. I feel great right now."
Steven Souza, Jr. (@StevenSouzaJR) has been added to the #Nationals 40-man roster, while Dan Haren and Chad Tracy have become free agents.— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) November 1, 2013
Haren wasn't able to stay off the DL, however, though he told the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore today, "My DL stint was mental, not physical, and everyone knows that." For the second time in his career and the second time in two years, the right-hander landed on the DL with what was diagnosed as shoulder inflammation after a rough first-half of the season in D.C.
The veteran starter returned to put together a strong-er second-half, finishing the season with a (10-14) record, a 4.67 ERA, a 4.09 FIP, 31 walks (1.64 BB/9) and 151 Ks (8.01 K/9) in 31 games, 30 starts and 169 2/3 IP over which he surrendered 28 HRs (1.49 HR/9) and was worth +1.5 fWAR, but Haren told reporters including MLB.com's Bill Ladson late this season that he didn't anticipate returning to the nation's capital in 2014.
"'My heart says I probably won’t be back,'" Haren said. "'I haven’t lived up to what I was paid to do and what I came here to accomplish, despite the last two or three weeks. The majority of the season has been a struggle for me.'"
The Nationals had until today to make a qualifying offer (1-year/$14.1M) to Haren. The veteran right-hander did not receive a qualifying offer from the Nationals.
Haren and veteran bench bat Chad Tracy are the Nationals' only two free agents. Neither is expected to return to Washington in 2014.
Tracy signed a minor league deal with the Nats in April of 2012 and signed an extension for 2013 that August, ending the year with a .269/.343/.441 line, seven doubles and three home runs in 73 games and 105 PAs as a bench bat and backup infielder for the NL East Champion Nationals. In 2013, Tracy put up a .202/.243/.326 line with four doubles and four home runs in 92 games and 136 PAs.
The Nats are giving out no qualifying offers. Dan Haren hasn't heard from the Nats. No surprise. Chad Tracy is their only other free agent.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) November 4, 2013
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