MILWAUKEE – Dan Haren had already been leaning toward retirement when the Cubs made a deal with the Miami Marlins in the final hours before the July 31 trade deadline, trying to stabilize the back end of their rotation with a veteran presence.
Haren is a thoughtful pitcher with a good sense of humor and a Twitter handle that makes fun of his diminished velocity: @ithrow88.
Haren – a three-time All-Star – joked that he didn’t want to make it official in case he decided to pull a Brett Favre.
But Haren confirmed what seemed obvious after Sunday’s 3-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers, standing in front of his locker inside Miller Park’s visiting clubhouse and saying he intends to retire as soon as the Cubs finish their playoff run.
“I have no desire to pitch next year,” Haren said after limiting the Brewers to one run across six innings. “That was it for me. If I have to pitch in the postseason, I will be ready, for sure. I feel actually really good with where I’m at. My stuff’s been pretty crisp. But if I don’t pitch in the postseason, that’s it.”
The Cubs have Jake Arrieta ready for Wednesday night’s National League wild-card game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Jon Lester, their $155 million lefty, would be in position to start Game 1 against the St. Louis Cardinals in the next round. It’s unclear how Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks would line up in a five-game series.
Whatever happens, Haren will go out with a bulldog reputation, reaching 30 starts, double-digit victories and at least 175 innings in each of the last 11 seasons. The right-hander put up 153 wins, a career 3.75 ERA and 2,013 strikeouts in 2,419-plus innings.
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“I want to go out by playing in November,” Haren said. “But I don’t know what’s in store for the pitching staff. I’m not going to speculate or anything like that. If my name’s called, I’ll definitely be ready.
“I really like the way I’ve been throwing the ball the last couple times, so my confidence is high. And if we need me, we need me. But first thing’s first.”
Haren, who has pitched in five postseason series, turned 35 last month and went 4-2 with a 4.01 ERA in 11 starts for the Cubs down the stretch.
“Ninety-seven wins,” Haren said. “I’m just thankful for being a part of it. I know I did very little when it comes down to 162 games, spring training, all the work these guys put in. But it’s been really fun and hopefully there’s a lot more games to go.”