Monday, December 5, 2011
Aaron Harang - Ned Colletti's Next Acquisition?
Twitter is currently blowing up with the news from numerous sources (Jim Bowden and Dylan Haernandez to name a few) that Colletti is honing in on signing Aaron Harang to a 2 year deal. No details on the amount. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone considering that Ned has a history of lining up many starting pitchers each year in anticipation of one or two going down with injuries.
Last year the Dodgers entered Spring training with six, possibly seven starting pitcher candidates: Kershaw, Billingsley, Kuroda, Lilly, Garland, and then Padilla, Eveland, Ely, De La Rosa all waiting in the wings.
This year seems to be no different with Kershaw, Billingsley, Lilly, Capuano, Harang, followed by Eovaldi, Eveland, Withrow, Ely and other up and comers.
Maybe it isn’t such a bad idea to stock up on arms. The question of concern is, how much is Colletti going to shell out for Harang and is a two year deal too long? Additionally, I’m fairly certain it’ll be another backloaded contract. That may not be too bad of an idea if the new ownership comes in with the ability to pay hefty salaries.
Harang, a San Diego native and graduate of Eric Karros’ alma mater, Patrick Henry High School, was 14-7 with a 3.64 ERA for the Padres last year. His home/road splits showed him to be much more effective at Petco than while pitching on the road. Take a look at these spilts:
Home 3.05 ERA .240 BA .304 OBP .684OPS
Away 4.70 ERA .317 BA ..374 OBP .878 OPS
Additionally, as the season wore on, Harang’s numbers got worse. His 2nd half OPS+ stood at 123, vs an OPS+ of 96 for the first 14 games he pitched. It was a surprise to me to find that Harang has pitched unremarkably at Dodger Stadium over his career, though it is a relatively small sample size to look at, (24.2 IP, 1-2, 3.65 ERA). Aside from excellent numbers at Petco Park and Arizona’s Chase Field, Harang has been hit very hard in pitching friendly San Francisco, and hitter’s heaven Colorado.
With 170 innings pitched last season, plugging an injury prone hard thrower like Harang, into the 5th spot may not be a bad idea. Unfortunately, Capuano's injury history is of a concern too. I get the feeling that the Dodger GM is simply signing as many arms as possible in order to fill in innings and lessen the load of young pitchers, (such as Eovaldi, who was shut down at the end of the season, not because of injury, but as a precautionary measure to keep him from injury).