The Dodgers might be starting a new trend. Or maybe the Padres are starting the trend. Either way, veteran pitchers seem to come to San Diego and have above average years, then they attract attention from other clubs, and finally sign with the Dodgers. It happened with Jon Garland, and it has now happened with Aaron Harang.
NBC’s Hardball Talk is reporting the Dodgers have signed Harang to a two-year deal after the Padres declined his 2012 option this off-season. They did offer him arbitration, so now that he signed with the Dodgers, the Padres will be looking at a second round compensatory draft pick.
As many pitchers who come to San Diego do, Harang performed well pitching half his games at Petco Park. His ERA at home was 3.05, but his ERA on the road was a whopping 4.70. And the road is where things get troubling. He gave up 78 hits in 61.1 innings to go along with 33 runs. Opponents hit .317 against him on the road. Harang’s 6-2 road record is deceiving, as wins and losses often are. He received more run support on the road to help counteract the additional runs he was coughing up.
It would seem the Dodgers have not taken Harang’s road struggles into account. Dodger Stadium is clearly nothing like Petco Park, and Harang figures to see his ERA balloon in 2012. Maybe the Padres have stumbled upon a genius new method to keep their already impressive farm system well-stocked. Bring aging veterans in to have a nice year at Petco, then hope they sign somewhere else in free agency netting the team a draft pick.
Jon Garland should have been the cautionary tale. He should have given the Dodgers pause. He had a 3.47 ERA with the Padres in 2010, signed with the Dodgers for the 2011 season, then posted a 4.33 ERA. Instead of heeding the warning signs, the Dodger push forward, signing Harang. Not only did they sign him, they gambled on two years rather than one. Fortunately for the Padres, Harang provided a nice 2011 season and his signing will now provide a nice extra draft pick.
I see the Padres pulling Jamie Moyer out of retirement, helping him to an above average year, then letting him leave in free agency. I see Nolan Ryan stepping out of the owner’s box and onto the Petco mound. I see Tim Wakefield spending his retirement years in San Diego rather than a porch swing somewhere drinking lemonade. Obviously I’m joking, but the Padres do not have a bad system going here. Josh Byrnes may spend times Winter Meetings searching out veteran pitchers to replace Harang.