In a free-market starved for quality starting pitching, Los Angeles Angels' right-hander Dan Haren is an attractive and readily-available trade target.
On Wednesday, the Angels shipped Haren's rotation-mate Ervin Santana to the Royals (per the Associated Press), and it was no surprise.
Both Santana and Haren have big club options looming on their contracts and they are coming off of sub-par seasons.
Prior to Santana being shipped out, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported the Angels were "aggressively" shopping both Santana and Haren, and they had no interest in exercising the option for either.
The deadline for Haren's option is Friday.
So, teams in need of starting pitching can make a bid for Haren and avoid a crowded free-agent market.
Haren's option is for $15.5 million, which is a lot for a 32-year-old coming off a season where he went 12-13 with a 4.33 ERA and a 1.291 WHIP.
However, teams are going to have to overpay to land starters in this market, and Haren is just a season removed from an outstanding year.
It is also going to take next to nothing to get him. The Royals sent a 27-year-old career minor league pitcher for Santana.
Here are three teams that should go after this trade.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox need starting pitching. Lots of it. They need to try and get it any way they can.
Sure, they have to be growing tired of high-priced veteran pitchers not earning their salary, but Haren is a clear upgrade over anything they were getting last year from the likes of Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, Josh Beckett or Jon Lester.
Haren is a professional. He would bring a nice presence to the clubhouse, and he would be a strong candidate to be the team's No. 1 starter.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays' need for starting pitching is no secret. As MLB.com's Greg Chisholm reports, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos is on record saying he is looking to add at least two starting pitchers.
This is a team that was ravaged by injuries to the starting rotation last season. Since 2005, Haren has started at least 14 games every season and in only two seasons in that stretch did he start less than 30.
Haren would be pricey for the Jays, but his deal is just for one year, and he would give the Blue Jays someone they could count on for an entire season.
San Diego Padres
The Padres are in the same boat as the Jays. Clayton Richard and Edinson Volquez were the only two pitchers that managed to start more than 15 games for them a season ago.
They need to add some innings to this rotation, and even if Haren underperforms as he did last year, he still went 176 innings.
The Padres are not going to be able to adequately fill all the holes in their rotation through free agency. They could jump-start that process by making this trade.