With the World Series reaching Game 7, the official start to free agency came on the last day possible. For the Los Angeles Dodgers, they entered the offseason with seven free agents, though Josh Beckett has opted for retirement
One player not on the list of free agents but conceivably in position to be was Dan Haren. The veteran right-hander held a $10 million option for 2015, which the Dodgers announced Thursday he exercised to return for a second season with the team.
Haren’s option was a major talking point last season as he closed in on 180 innings pitched, which caused the option to vest. He admitted to it being on his mind and did say at the time of surpassing the total that he wasn’t completely sure he would return next season.
Although Haren drew plenty of criticism, he managed to right the ship down the stretch of the season and he finished with double-digit wins for a 10th consecutive season. The Dodgers announced Haren underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder last week and he is expected to make a full recovery in time for Spring Training.
With Haren in the fold, the Dodgers only have the fifth spot in the rotation to fill, assuming the other starters maintain good health. Options that saw spot starts for the Dodgers last season — Kevin Correia, Roberto Hernandez and Paul Maholm — are all free agents. Carlos Frias could be an internal option the Dodgers consider.
While it may not be likely, it’s plausible Haren could become the Dodgers’ fifth starter in 2015 if the team adds an arm in free agency.