NASHVILLE — Dan Haren, one of baseball’s best right-handed starting pitchers for a half-decade, needed to choose this winter where to continue his career. He used a rationale that, while sound, for generations would have constituted pure fantasy. Haren came to pitch in the nation’s capital, home to so many woebegone seasons, to join a first-place powerhouse, to spray champagne and to hoist a trophy. He picked the Washington Nationals, the franchise two seasons removed from 298 losses in three years, because he saw in them the makings of a champion.
“The deciding factor in coming to Washington was winning,” Haren said in an e-mail. “I don’t think there’s a team better positioned to win now. It really was an easy decision for me, actually. It didn’t take me long to decide that playing for the Nationals made sense.”
The Nationals and Haren agreed Tuesday on a one-year, $13 million deal, according to a person with knowledge of the agreement. Once the contract is finalized, Haren will join four 20-somethings with lightning in their arms, completing the rotation that helps make the Nationals a World Series favorite.