It’s never too soon to look towards next season and with the Dodgers having several free agents in the rotation, pitching will be a high priority for Stan Kasten and Ned Colletti.
While Josh Beckett and Chad Billingsley should be healthy by either mid or late April, but it’s hard to rely on them since they’re so injury prone. According to Joe Kaiser of ESPN.com, Dan Haren could be looking to sign with the Dodgers in the offseason:
A chance to return to his hometown and settle in at the back end of the rotation (No. 4 or 5 starter) on a top contender seems like it could be a big draw, provided that the Dodgers are interested. Ricky Nolasco is an impending free agent, and the Dodgers have a $1 million buyout option on Chris Capuano if they choose to pass on paying him $8 million in 2014.
As Kaiser mentioned, Nolasco will be a free agent at season’s end while Capuano most likely won’t be back next season, which would leave the Dodgers with just three healthy starters heading into next year.
Zach Lee is an option in the rotation as he went 10-10 with a 3.22 ERA at Double A Chattanooga and he’s been the Dodgers best pitching prospect for the past couple of seasons. The Dodgers could also bid on Japanese sensation Masahiro Tanaka as they’ve already scouted him in Japan.
Kaiser also lists the Padres and Giants as two other teams Haren could look to sign with since he wants to get back to playing on the West Coast. In his one year with the Nationals, Haren is 9-13 with a 4.88 ERA and would likely command only a one-year deal if the Dodgers don’t want to overpay for Nolasco or another free agent starter.
In a weak year for free agent starting pitching, the Dodgers might not find a better option outside the organization as Haren will be sought after by several teams.
In case you missed it, here’s the Dodgers pool celebration, PLUS Yasiel Puig’s celebration dance off!