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Padres could be a fit for Dan Haren this winter

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Free agent right-hander Dan Haren had a frustrating 2012, posting a pedestrian 4.33 ERA across 176 2/3 innings while fighting a lingering lower back issue.

Haren should still find plenty of interest on the open market this offseason, but if he would rather do a one-year “prove-it” style of deal to reestablish his value, there’s no better place than San Diego.

And it turns out the Padres might have interest.

Here’s Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune:

A smile crossed the face of the Padres general manager Friday night when the trade between the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Chicago Cubs fell apart. The Angels were trying to send right-handed starting pitcher Dan Haren to the Cubs for reliever Carlos Marmol.

Instead, after the deal with the Cubs collapsed, the Angels bought out Haren’s option for $3.5 million – turning Haren into a free agent.

When it appeared Haren was headed to the Cubs, Byrnes Friday afternoon admitted Haren was among the “eight to 10” starting pitchers the Padres were very interested in.

Even with the Petco Park fences getting a makeover, San Diego is going to remain very pitcher-friendly.

And it shouldn’t take much for Haren to get back on track if he can get a handle on his back discomfort.

The 32-year-old registered a spectacular 3.17 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 192/33 K/BB ratio across 238 1/3 innings with the Angels in 2011. He boasts a solid 3.66 career ERA and a cool 1.18 career WHIP.

Report: Mariners have interest in Reds’ Jay Bruce

ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 14:  Jay Bruce #32 of the Cincinnati Reds waits to bat prior to hitting a three-run homer in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on June 14, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Mariners are among the teams that have contacted the Reds about outfielder Jay Bruce. The Mariners enter play Wednesday 51-48, six games out of first place in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot. Adding an impact bat like Bruce could help in their effort to reach the postseason.

Norichika Aoki and Seth Smith have handled the bulk of the playing time in left field. While Smith has hit well, Aoki has not. Bruce came into Wednesday’s game against the Giants batting .271/.324/.567 with 24 home runs and a league-best 78 RBI.

Bruce can become a free agent after the season if his controlling team declines his $13 million club option for the 2017 season by paying him a $1 million buyout. If he’s traded mid-season, his new team won’t be able to make him a qualifying offer, so the club option may be more enticing than it looks at first glance.

The Padres have homered in 25 consecutive games, tying an NL record

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 16:  Adam Rosales #9 of the San Diego Padres hits an RBI single during the tenth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants at PETCO Park on July 16, 2016 in San Diego, California.   (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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A third-inning two-run home run by Adam Rosales off of R.A. Dickey put the Padres up 2-0, but it also helped the Padres tie a National League record. The Padres have homered in 25 consecutive games, matching the 1998 Braves, the 1994 Tigers, and the 1941 Yankees. The major league record is 27, set by the 2002 Rangers.

The Padres hit three in total on Wednesday in an 8-4 victory against the Blue Jays. One of those dingers was an eighth-inning solo shot by rookie Alex Dickerson, who has now homered in four consecutive games himself. The one he hit on Monday is worth watching, as it got into the upper deck at the Rogers Centre.

As the Padres recently traded Melvin Upton, Jr. to the Jays, Dickerson is likely going to see regular playing time. That’s especially true if he keeps hitting like this.