Dan Haren and a Group of Prospects

Dan Haren has made quite a recovery since he left the DL, pitching in 10 games, starting 9 of them, and amassing a 2.56 ERA. Not only is that the best ERA among the team’s starters in that time, he’s also tied for the second-most number of saves (with… 1 since early July). The Nats are 5-5 in his starts, and his record is 4-2, but he’s pitch well enough to have given the Nats at least 6 wins.

The point is, without Haren, the team probably wouldn’t be doing as well as they have. The problem, though, is that they still aren’t doing that great.Which is why, when the possibility of trading a waiver-cleared Haren comes up, and it is noted that

acquiring him will be costly as the Nationals want a “group of prospects” for Haren.

I am a bit confused. Despite his success over the last few months, Haren’s ERA sits at 4.66. This is a full run or more worse than anyone of the 7 other guys who have started more than 1 game for the Nats other than Nathan Karns.

Haren

He is not a particularly successful pitcher this year, he’s had a good couple of months. He just doesn’t seem like a guy who could get a group of prospects in return.

In addition, he’s on an expiring contract. The Nats will receive nothing for his departure, and it’s hard to imagine them wanting to re-sign him, especially considering Rizzo has hinted they aren’t going to sign another pitcher for next season. While it’s possible to interpret his response to the question of whether all 5 starters are currently with the organization now as a yes to include Haren, I am assuming he meant they are guys who have come up with the team, plus Gio, already signed for long term.

So if he’s not coming back, and they are currently sitting with a 1.7% chance of making the postseason, according to Baseball Prospectus, why wouldn’t they trade him? There’s been interest from the Cardinals, and his recent performance does mean there are teams that could see value from him.

I hope what Rizzo is doing here is posturing for a trade. If the group of prospects turns into “ok fine, ONE prospect”, I’d consider it a good return for Haren. If they can get a guy that would be considered a Top 10 Nats prospect, for Haren, considering all he’s done this year, that has to be a win. Someone that would slot into the Nats top 20 list would probably be plenty in return, too, if that’s the best they could get.

If there is interest in Haren, no, there’s no reason to just hand him over for nothing. But if they can get anything of value for him, it makes perfect sense to do that.

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