Haren, Santana present tough calls on options

Haren, Santana present tough calls on options

Haren, Santana present tough calls on options
ANAHEIM -- Two of the Angels' biggest offseason decisions will involve their own starting pitchers, with regard to the upcoming club options for Ervin Santana and Dan Haren.

Santana and Haren have both struggled this year and will be expensive to retain next season, but both have also turned it around lately at a position that's pricier than any other.

Haren has a $15.5 million option for 2013, with a $3.5 million buyout, in a year that has seen him go 10-11 with a 4.45 ERA, battle back problems and lose another tick or two off his fastball. But he's also posted a 1.86 ERA over his last three starts and was arguably baseball's most consistent starter for the previous seven seasons.

Then there's Santana, who has a $13 million option, with a $1 million buyout, coming off a season that has so far seen him go 8-12 with a 5.08 ERA. Santana doesn't have Haren's track record, but his pure stuff is better and his ERA is 3.10 since the start of August.

It's highly unlikely that the Angels will pick up both options, and a person with knowledge of the team's thinking said recently that Haren and Santana are very likely to depart via free agency. But a lot could hinge on what happens with Zack Greinke, the upcoming free agent the Angels want to add to a rotation that has Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Garrett Richards already penciled in for next season.

"I'm not thinking about that right now," Santana said in Spanish. "All I want to do is help the team win and do my job at the same time."

"It is going to be a decision for them," Haren added. "I really have no say in it. It's definitely nothing that's been in my head at all. I just think everything's going to happen for a reason, and whether I'm here this year or somewhere else, I obviously still want to play and I'm still very confident in what I can do. I'd love to come back, but the decision isn't mine. I'll leave that up to them."

Haren, who turns 32 on Monday and is more than two years Santana's senior, would consider restructuring his 2013 option to stay with the Angels, if it comes to that.

"I'm not really looking to get any exorbitant amount," he said. "Whatever's fair, I would do."

At this point, what Haren values most is stability. And his top priority would be to find a way to stay in Anaheim.

"I've been on four teams already, so I know that starting new with a different team sucks, making new friends, and you have to learn new personalities, new catchers," Haren said. "It's not easy."