Nationals sign Dan Haren to one-year, $13 million contract

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Dan Haren has agreed to a one-year, $13 million contract with the Nationals, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.

Last month the Angels nearly traded Haren to the Cubs for Carlos Marmol and then, when that fell through, declined his $15.5 million option and paid him a $3.5 million buyout. In other words, Haren will actually end up being paid more than that $15.5 million option for 2013 because he’ll get the $3.5 million buyout and the $13 million from Washington.

Haren has long been one of MLB’s most underrated pitchers, posting a 3.48 ERA with fantastic strikeout-to-walk ratios from 2005-2011 and topping 200 innings every season. Back and hip problems in 2012 limited him to 177 innings and a 4.33 ERA that’s the worst of his career, but if healthy Haren could be a major bargain and the one-year deal lessens the Nationals’ risk.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo has made his intention to sign a veteran starting pitcher clear, which is why some people were surprised that Rizzo declined to make a qualifying offer to departing free agent Edwin Jackson. They would have been in line for a draft pick as compensation if Jackson signed elsewhere and if Jackson chose to accept the qualifying offer the Nationals would have been on the hook for a one-year, $13.5 million deal. Or basically the same contract they ended up giving Haren.

Washington’s rotation is now Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Dan Haren, and Ross Detwiler. On the heels of acquiring Denard Span as the new center fielder/leadoff man Rizzo has had quite a productive past week or so.

Cardinals sign Matt Wieters to one-year, $2 million deal

Matt Wieters
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Jon Heyman reports that the Cardinals and free agent catcher Matt Wieters have agreed on a one-year, $2 million deal. Wieters can earn an additional $1 million through incentives.

Wieters, 33, spent last season with the Cardinals as Yadier Molina‘s backup. In 67 games, the veteran hit .214/.268/.435 with 11 home runs and 27 RBI. While Wieters has left something to be desired offensively in recent years, he still plays solid defense behind the plate.

Wieters will once again serve as the backup to Molina. Catching prospect Andrew Knizner is expected to start the season at Triple-A Memphis.