Mike DiGovanna of the Los Angeles Times notes that Haren’s option is worth $15.5 million, and the team may also buy him out for $3.5 million. Another move the Angels can make is trading Haren, and CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman notes that “the Angels were at least exploring possible trades for the two starting pitchers.”
Los Angeles has Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson under contract for next season and is desperately trying to hold on to free agent Zack Greinke, for whom the team traded at the deadline.
General manager Jerry Dipoto’s head must be spinning, as he has several important decisions to make in an extremely short amount of time. As Heyman notes, he has until Wednesday to decide whether to accept or decline options for both Haren and Ervin Santana.
Paying $15.5 million to a 32-year-old who will be the fourth man in the rotation is not an advisable decision. Dipoto has further incentive to decline the option after Haren struggled with back issues last season and went 12-13 with a 4.33 ERA.
The ultimate goal is to bring back Greinke, and this is why DiGovanna speculates that the Angels may try to let Haren and Santana walk and then explore options to bring them back for less money. But the report notes that this is a risky course of action, as both pitchers may find deals with other teams by the time Greinke makes his decision on whether to stay in L.A.
This leaves a trade as the ideal option. If the Angels can move Haren before Wednesday’s deadline, they will not have to choose between a situation where he could leave and the team would get nothing in return, and one in which they are forced to “pay front-of-the-rotation prices for back-of-the-rotation pitchers,” as DiGovanna writes.
A decent trade would guarantee Mike Scioscia options in the deeper rotation spots, and it would also allow Dipoto flexibility when trying to negotiate with Greinke.
The Angels cannot continue throwing money at underperforming pitchers and must make changes to the rotation. This is clearly one of their top priorities this offseason.
Dipoto needs to tread carefully going forward, as a situation in which Greinke, Haren and Santana all leaving the team is all too possible. A trade would minimize this risk, ensuring that the team is at least left with something to replace their overpriced pitchers.
Whatever happens, the Angels’ offseason moves will certainly be one of the top storylines of the offseason.