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.

Video: Dexter Fowler robs Asdrúbal Cabrera of three-run homer

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
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Cardinals outfielder Dexter Fowler made a critical catch in the eighth inning of Wednesday afternoon’s series finale against the Nationals. With the Cardinals leading 5-1, the Nationals were threatening with runners on first and second with one out against lefty Andrew Miller. Asdrúbal Cabrera worked a full count before serving a 3-2 outside slider to right field. The ball had home run distance, but Fowler tracked it, leaped at the wall, and robbed Cabrera of a three-run home run.

Carlos Martínez relieved Miller, getting Victor Robles to ground out to end the inning. The Cardinals would go on to win 5-1.

The game had playoff implications on both sides. The win bumped the Cardinals’ hold on first place in the NL Central to 2.5 games while the Nationals’ lead over the Cubs and Brewers for the first NL Wild Card shrinks to just one game.

The Nationals will close out their final road trip of the regular season with three games against the Marlins before hosting the Phillies for five games and the Indians for three. The Cardinals, meanwhile, begin their final road trip of the regular season with four against the Cubs followed by three against the Diamondbacks before closing out the season at home with three games versus the Cubs.