DAN HAREN, 34, starting pitcher.
Final 2014 stats: 13-11, 4.02 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 7.0 strikeouts per nine innings, 27 home runs in 32 starts (186 innings).
Contract status: He picked up his $10-million option for next season.
The good: Very close to his strong, career WHIP of 1.19. Started well, going 5-3 with a 3.16 ERA in his first 10 starts. Went 7-3 with a 3.32 ERA at home. After long struggle, finished well (5-2, 2.43 ERA in last 10 starts).
The bad: Still giving up the long ball too much. Had a rough 12-game stretch in the middle of the summer where he went 3-6 with a 6.33 ERA (16 home runs), and probably would have lost his spot if the team had any decent options. Had postseason arthroscopic surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder to clean out some bursitis.
What’s next: One more season at the back end of the rotation.
The take: The Dodgers did not need Haren to do a Cy Young imitation – they’ve got others to do that. They just needed a consistent, reliable performance from him. Meaning something slightly over average.
When it was all over, it sort of looked like they’d received it, but between a nice start and finish, he was not someone they could have relished sending out there. He doesn’t throw hard, and they knew that, so he gives up homers, and they knew that too.
At the moment, he’s their No. 4 starter, though that’s likely to change if they add another starter as expected, pushing him back to the fifth spot. The Dodgers certainly should be able to withstand his overall numbers with the starters they have at the front of the rotation, but you have to wonder whether the new management will be as patient with him as the old should he go through another horrendous slump in 2015.
Haren understands well his abilities and limitations, and he’s been almost brutally honest in his self-appraisal. He’s great in the clubhouse, but the Dodgers need at least pretty good from him on the mound next season.