Angels decline Dan Haren’s option; pitcher now a free agent

Pitcher Dan Haren reacts after giving up a home run to the Athletics' Cliff Pennington in the sixth inning during a 3-1 loss for the Angels.
(Rose Palmisano / McClatchy Tribune)

After a trade with the Chicago Cubs fell through, the Angels declined Dan Haren’s $15.5-million option and bought it out for $3.5 million Friday night, making the veteran right-hander a free agent.

Haren, slowed by lower-back tightness in the first half of the season, finished with a 12-13 record and 4.33 earned-run average, but the Angels, mindful of his high mileage and decreased velocity, determined the 32-year-old right-hander was not worth $15.5 million.

Acquired from Arizona at the July 31 trade deadline in 2010, Haren went more than seven seasons without missing a start before going on the disabled list for the first time in his career in early July.

Though he “redefined” himself by relying more on location than pure stuff and delivered eight quality starts in his last 13 games, Haren’s fastball, in the 94-mph range a few years ago, dipped to 88 mph, and he seemed to be regressing.


But the Angels loved Haren’s work ethic and fire, his ability to pitch through pain, and at least one promiment member of the organization feels he has something left.

“I’ve seen pitchers who maybe come out for stretches of a season or a whole season, and they’re not quite as crisp,” Manager Mike Scioscia said in early October. “Then, all of a sudden, they’ll find it later in the year or maybe the next season, and they’re just as good as they ever were.

“I tell you — I wouldn’t give up on Dan Haren. A lot of people might feel he took a step back this year, but this guy competes so well that I think he’s a guy who will rebound and be strong next year.”

Haren, who grew up in the San Gabriel Valley, said at the end of the season that being traded to the Angels was “a dream come true,” and he did not relish the thought of playing for his fifth team in nine years.


“It’s going to be tough — I’m sick of changing teams,” said Haren, who has played for St. Louis, Oakland, Arizona and the Angels. “Obviously, wherever I go I’m going to give 100%. But L.A. has always been a special place for me. If I’m gone, it’s been a fun 2 1/2 years.”


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