Haren's solid start kicks in player option

Right-hander can now choose to return to Dodgers for $10 million

Haren's solid start kicks in player option

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers right-hander Dan Haren might not have earned a win Monday night against the Giants, but he could have earned himself $10.5 million.

By reaching the 180-inning plateau this season, Haren triggered a $500,000 bonus in his contract and a vesting player option for 2015. He'd make $10 million with the Dodgers next season if he exercises that option.

While manager Don Mattingly said before Monday's game that he was only aware of Haren's contract status because "it's been in the paper," Haren said he's had the vesting option in the back of his mind.

"Of course I think about it," Haren said. "I may say I'm not, but there's a number set there by them, and I feel like I pitched pretty decent the whole year. Whether I earned it or deserve it, that's kind of up to someone else's opinion. I think what I have earned is the right to choose if I want to come back. ... I think I've pitched good enough to deserve that."

Those words came after a seven-inning, one-earned-run performance in a playoff-like start against the Giants. Haren said he knew he reached the necessary innings mark when he exited the game.

"It was little bit weird," Haren said. "Everybody knew. It was kind of an elephant-in-the-room type thing. I'm glad I got it over with. I didn't want to have to go into the next game thinking about it."

Haren has gone 13-11 with a 4.03 ERA in 181 innings in his first season with the Dodgers. Other than a five-game losing streak in the middle of the season, Mattingly has been pleased with what he's seen out of the right-hander.

"I just feel like Danny's been really consistent this year, for the most part. He's kept us in a lot of games," Mattingly said. "The one thing about Danny is he's such a competitor, you want him to do well. He'll do anything for you. And he says it: 'I'll pitch whenever you want.'"

Despite triggering the option, Haren said he doesn't know yet if he will exercise it. That decision will come after the season ends.

"I don't want to downplay the money," Haren said. "It's a ton of money. With that said, I've been really lucky. I've had a great career and made a lot of money, and it's really not about that anymore. In California, $10 million's what, $3 million?

"With a week left in the season, it's harder to even think about next year or make a decision about next year. I would love to have one more good start and have three good starts in the playoffs, and I'd feel really good."

Michael Lananna is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.