Just hours after being released by the Cleveland Indians, right-hander Aaron Harang found a new team in the Atlanta Braves, the team announced on Monday. The deal is a one-year, Major League contract, so it seems like Harang will be joining the starting rotation in Atlanta.
Immediately following his release, the Braves' interest in Harang shot up, almost certainly due to the fact of their poor pitching depth. The Braves lost both Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy to Tommy John surgery, and have been in the hunt for reliable starters, even after the acquisition of Ervin Santana, who signed with the team following the Medlen news.
Harang has been exactly what the Braves were looking for in a reliable starter. Over his twelve year career, Harang has reached the 200 inning plateau thrice, and has been able to throw over 150 innings eight times. So far in four games with the Indians in Spring Training, Harang has allowed two runs on eight hits in nine innings pitched.
Last season with the Seattle Mariners and New York Mets, Harang went 5-12 with a 5.40 ERA in 143 1/3 innings pitched. This does not seem like the reliable pitcher the Braves wanted, but Harang's numbers in the National League are much better than his in the league's counterpart. He has posted a 4.13 ERA in 1716 1/3 innings pitched there compared to a 5.38 ERA in 229 innings in the American League.
The Braves definitely needed to make this move, however, it will be interesting to see how the 36-year-old pans out with them in 2014. He still looks like he can pitch at a Major League level, which should be all the Braves needed out of him. He should make his first start in a Braves uniform before Opening Day.