Miami Marlins’ Dan Haren makes final spring start against New York Mets


Spring Training is winding down and that means players are getting their last shots at impressing enough to warrant a spot on their team’s 25-man roster. That’s not the case, however, for Dan Haren, who is a lock for the Miami Marlins starting rotation.

Haren, who the Marlins for most of the offseason weren’t sure would even report to camp, has quietly enjoyed a very solid Grapefruit League campaign. Coming into his final spring start today against the New York Mets, Haren had a 1.93 ERA — by far the best of any Marlins starter — across his 14 innings of work in four starts.

Yes, it’s only Spring Training, and those numbers probably don’t matter. For Haren, though, those numbers certainly have to matter. Haren had entertained the idea of retiring after being traded to Miami from the Los Angeles Dodgers and his California home. He was coming off a third consecutive down season in 2014, where he posted a 4.02 ERA and 4.09 FIP and seemingly cemented himself as a bottom of the rotation starter.

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Haren’s 2014 was actually his best season since 2011 when he was thriving with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. In 2012 he registered a 4.33 ERA, and in 2013 his ERA ballooned to 4.67. (He still pitched to FIPs in those years very similar to his mark from last year, in the low-4 range, suggesting that he had plenty of bad luck. But it’s never an encouraging sign for a pitcher’s numbers to trend in that direction for multiple seasons straight.)

The 34-year-old Haren projects to be Miami’s number four starter this year. With the uncertainty surrounding Jarred Cosart right now, he could even begin the year as the number three, barring an unfortunate turn in the Cosart sports gambling case.

Wherever he lands in the rotation, the Marlins know they will get plenty of innings out of Haren, and that’s invaluable for a team that will be without its ace Jose Fernandez for the first half of the season. Haren has made at least 30 starts each of the last 10 seasons, but last threw 200-plus frames in 2011. Fortunately, the Marlins bullpen is also considered a strength, and will be there to pick up the slack on days that Haren, or any starter, is not at their best.

Haren’s solid spring serves as a kind of cosmic representation of what Haren brings to the table every year. While the other Marlins starters scuffled and took their lumps, putting up ugly numbers while perfecting their craft for the upcoming season, Haren showed up every day, took the mound every fifth day and did his thing. It’s been business as usual for Haren, who is by far the most-seasoned veteran in the Miami staff.

That perfectly resembles what we should see from Haren in his tenure with the Marlins; he’ll show up to the office, punch in, put in his 9-to-5 and be on his way. He won’t be winning any Cy Young awards, and the Marlins are OK with that.

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