And per CBS Baseball Insider Jon Heyman, Haren was unsure if the Marlins truly wanted him on the team or if they instead coveted his $10 million salary the Dodgers agreed to cover whether Haren retired or played.
"Interestingly, Haren’s doubt about how much the Marlins wanted him likely was triggered by the way the trade was creatively engineered to account for the consideration he may retire. In a unique agreement, the Dodgers agreed to pay the Marlins $10 million to cover Haren whether he showed up in Marlins camp or not."
“Oh, we wanted the pitcher,” Marlins GM Dan Jennings said, according to Heyman.
The Marlins boast one of the lowest payrolls in baseball despite bumping team salary up to over $60 million this year. To them, $10 million is more than a chunk of change. The Marlins also have one of MLB’s most talented and exciting young rotations, but will be without ace Jose Fernandez until mid season. Where Haren fits in is as a veteran with experience to keep the young guys grounded and eat innings from the back of the rotation. Haren is by far the most seasoned pitcher in Miami’s starting staff. At age 34 he doesn’t have the stuff he once had, but last year he still pitched to a 4.02 ERA and 4.09 FIP while striking out seven per nine innings. Haren should still be effective, and will be a nice complement to Henderson Alvarez, Mat Latos, Jarred Cosart and Tom Koehler.
“Oh, we wanted the pitcher,” Marlins GM Dan Jennings said.
When camp broke last week, Haren made clear that he was happy to be with the Marlins and was ready to contribute this season. As you probably know by now, Haren is from the Los Angeles area and makes his home there, so his retirement possibility stemmed from a desire to pitch for a team closer to his Southern California home. He’s had the whole offseason to weigh his options, and ultimately settled on pitching for Miami this year in lieu of calling it quits at age 34.
But is he really “happy” to be a Marlin?
"“I’m here,” Haren answered to a question about whether he is OK with the trade away from Southern California."
That sounds to me like a man who knew he had no choice but to report to Jupiter and accept his fate. After the soap opera we sat through all offseason, Haren couldn’t exactly express bitterness about being in Miami and throw a temper tantrum about the Marlins not granting his trade wish. The Marlins absolutely need Haren’s innings to stay afloat in Fernandez’s absense, and Haren is still relatively young. He probably has at least a few more years left in the tank, and as I wrote a couple weeks ago, he will need to pitch his way out of Miami if he really, earnestly wants to continue his career in a different city.
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At some point this season, especially after Jose Fernandez returns healthy, the Marlins could trade Haren depending on their position in the standings and Haren’s performance. Haren doesn’t figure to factor in to Miami’s long-term plans, but at least his presence makes the look of the rotation a little less murky as the season draws near.
Haren is slated to make his first appearance in a Marlins uniform in today’s Grapefruit League opener against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium.
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