Jon Heyman has a story up at CBS Sports that says that the Angels have "explored the possibility" of dealing starting pitchers Dan Haren and Ervin Santana.
Santana, who has a $13 million option, was awful in 2012, and I don't know that there's any interest from another team in him.
Haren, however, is an intriguing possibility, and someone that I could see the Rangers having some interest in.
Haren's 2013 option is for $15.5 million with a $3.5 million buyout, and a year ago, it seemed like a no-brainer that the Angels would exercise the option. Haren's 2012 season, however, was disappointing:
|2012 - Dan Haren||12-13||31||30||1||1||0||0||176.2||190||95||85||28||38||142||4.33||1.29|
Even if we look beyond his ERA, Haren had a FIP of 4.24 in 2012, and an xFIP of 4.00, after putting up a 3.17/.2.98/.3.29 ERA/FIP/xFIP in 2011. Haren's K rate was stable from 2011 to 2012, but his walk rate went from 1.25 to 1.94, and his home run rate nearly doubled, from 0.76 to 1.43 per 9.
The Rangers, as we've discussed at length, need a quality starting pitcher for 2013, with Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, and Derek Holland the only starters you feel like you can count on to start the season (and there are those who question whether you can really count on Holland). After Zack Greinke, the free agent market is not enticing, particularly for what the Rangers are likely looking for -- a proven starter who would require a short-term financial commitment.
Haren seems like someone who might be worth looking at as a bounce-back candidate. Prior to 2012, Haren had posted seven straight seasons with at least 200 innings and an fWAR of at least 4.0, including fWARs of better than 6.0 in 2008, 2009, and 2011. Haren is the type of command-oriented strikethrower that Colby Lewis has been for the Rangers, and if the Rangers think he can improve on his 2012 performance, he could be a good fit for the Rangers' rotation.
If Haren becomes a free agent, he would seem likely to get at least some multi-year offers, albeit at an annual salary less than the $15.5 million he's due for 2013 if the option is exercised. He would also have the option of taking a one year deal with the hopes of re-building his value and exploring free agency after 2013.
The problem for the Rangers is that, if he does opt for a one year deal, there are a lot more attractive places to pitch than Texas, given that they have a very hitter-friendly park in the more difficult of the two leagues for a pitcher to pitch in. If he's going to go for a one year deal, you'd figure there are other more appealing options for him out there.
The Angels, if they decline the option, will have to pay Haren $3.5 million, which means the swing in exercising the option is $12 million. If the Rangers were to offer the Angels a fringe prospect and ask Anaheim to pick up $3 million of Haren's $15.5 million salary, they would be saving the Angels $500,000 as well as giving the Angels a lottery ticket player in return.
It isn't cheap for the Rangers, and a lot would be dependent on what their scouts say about whether Haren is done or just had a bad season. A worrisome sign is that, per FanGraphs, Haren's fastball velocity has gone from 91.8 mph in 2007, to 91.1 in 2008, 90.5 in 2009 and 2010, 89.8 in 2011, and 88.5 in 2012. Haren, who turned 32 in September, may simply be done, and if so, spending $12-12.5 million on him would be a bad deal for Texas.
But if you think he's a reasonable bet to come back at least part of the way to what he was prior to 2012, then Haren would give you a workhorse type to help tide you over in 2013 while you wait for Colby Lewis to get healthy and some of your young pitchers to prove themselves worthy of a rotation spot, without locking you into an onerous long-term financial commitment.
A trade between Texas and Anaheim seems unlikely, given that they are in the same division and will be competing against each other for the 2013 A.L. West title. But it is something to think about, and if the Angels do decline the option, it will be interesting to see if the Rangers kick the tires on Haren once he's a free agent.