The Los Angeles Dodgers have signed right-handed starting pitcher Aaron Harang to a 2 year deal worth $12 million, according to Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated. The deal is assumed to be back loaded, but there’s no confirmation on that yet.
Once upon a time, Harang was a consistent workhorse type of pitcher for the Reds, posting three consecutive seasons with an ERA- below 90 from 2005 to 2007 (3.83/3.76/3.73). From 2008 to 2010 though, things weren’t as pretty, and his Reds career ended with him posting an ERA- of 130 (5.32).
Like a lot of pitchers try to do, he headed to the Padres to ramp up his value, and Petco Park certainly seemed to do the trick, as he posted a career best 3.63 ERA. However, his ERA- was just 105 and his peripheral skills weren’t all that different from 2010 (16.3/17.3 K% & 7.5/8.1 BB%).
As such, the 2012 Dodgers are basically getting a 2010 Aaron Harang salvage title car with minor body work done in 2011 to make it look like a 2005-2007 generation but an engine that’s still as questionable as the 2008-2010 version.
Assuming he’s even able to stay healthy, which hasn’t exactly been a given since 2007, his skills indicate that he’s about a 4.20 ERA type of pitcher in Dodger Stadium, which is basically like a right-handed version of Ted Lilly.
I gave him 175 innings pitched, which came out to around 12 runs above replacement. Given that he’s going into his age 34 season in 2012, I regressed him a bit as well.
I’m not going over this again and again, but I’m just gonna say that with all this money they’ve spent over the off-season, the Dodgers probably could have signed Hiroki Kuroda, Chris Capuano, and Mark Ellis if they just resisted the temptation to give away money to Harang, Juan Rivera, Matt Treanor, Adam Kennedy, and Jerry Hairston Jr..
The Dodgers officially announced the Harang signing on Thursday, and with it came the contract specifics.
Harang will receive $3 million in 2012 and $7 million in 2013. In ’14, there is an option with a $2 million buyout. The option for 2014 will vest between $7 million and $8 million if he eats up at least 360 innings over the two years and at least 175 innings in ’13.
Since the terms are now known, I figured I should update my chart.
For the most part, it’s still the same deal, but it’s deferred even more than I predicted.
While many aren’t happy about the vesting option, I would argue that it’s actually not worse than the buyout. In order for Harang to vest, he has to be healthy, therefore I staved off a WAR decline in 2014, making the option year almost Surplus Value neutral.