Harang pitches with O's, Brewers scouts watching
With Dodgers' surplus of pitching, veteran righty emerges as likely trade piece
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With scouts from the Brewers and Orioles watching, Dodgers starter Aaron Harang threw three scoreless innings in a Minor League game Monday at Camelback Ranch.
As one of eight Dodgers starting pitchers with guaranteed contracts for 2013, Harang nonetheless is in a position of fighting for a job this year, despite a solid '12 season in which he went 10-10 with a 3.61 ERA and 179 2/3 innings.
Harang has emerged as a likely trade piece if and when the Dodgers deal from their pitching surplus. He's proven durable with a relatively modest contract ($5 million this year, a mutual option for 2014 at $8 million or a $2 million buyout) that should be appealing to a club in need of veteran starting pitching.
Harang threw 44 pitches in Monday's game and another 16 in the bullpen with pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and manager Don Mattingly watching.
The rest of the club had a day off Monday, but Harang threw to keep all starters on a five-day cycle.
"I felt good," said Harang. "I pitched the third inning out of the stretch, because in the second inning with a runner on second, I kind of rushed a little."
Harang said he also worked on a curveball that had been the focus of a bullpen session last week with Sandy Koufax.
"I talked to Sandy before he left about it, and I threw some good pitches against the Cubs last week and I focused on that today -- getting out in front, find the right feel and trust the grip," he said.
Harang said he didn't mind getting in his work on the Minor League side.
"Over here, it's almost harder," he said. "They're looking to ambush you a little [by swinging early in the count]. So you've got to do your work and not focus on the outcome."
Nine Dodgers could be free agents after '13 season
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- There hasn't been a game played that's counted for the 2013 season, but let's look ahead to 2014 anyway.
The Dodgers have nine players on their roster that could become free agents after this season, including three of their eight starting pitchers.
The nine: Chris Capuano, Mark Ellis, Matt Guerrier, Jerry Hairston, Aaron Harang, J.P. Howell, Ted Lilly, Nick Punto and Juan Uribe. Combined, they will earn $45.9 million this year. (And that doesn't include the final deferred installment of $8.3 million on the regrettable contract with Manny Ramirez.) Three of the nine have 2014 options: Capuano has a mutual option for $8 million or a $1 million buyout; Ellis has a club option for $5.75 million or a $1 million buyout; and Harang has a mutual option for $8 million or a $2 million buyout.
With Zack Greinke, Josh Beckett, Chad Billingsley and Hyun-Jin Ryu under contract for 2014 and Clayton Kershaw under arbitration control (if not an extension), the club figures to trim the roughly $24.5 million being paid this year to Capuano, Harang and Lilly.
It is hoped that by next spring, Minor League starters like Zach Lee, Stephen Fife and Matt Magill will provide less expensive depth.
There is $158.5 million already guaranteed to 11 players for 2014, which doesn't count the $3.6 million final installment of Andruw Jones' contract or option buyouts of $4 million for Capuano, Ellis and Harang.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.