Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
Dan Haren could become a free agent if the Los Angeles Dangels decline his 2013 option, but the right-hander, for what it's worth, thinks he'll probably just be traded.
Dan Haren trade rumors got an unexpected endorsement on Thursday, when this week's Hot Stove cause celebre was endorsed by none other than Dan Haren himself. Haren told reporters covering the Los Angeles Angels that he expected the team would pick up his 2013 option—for $15.5 million, against a hefty $3.5 million buyout—and then trade him to a team like the Boston Red Sox, who seem to have taken the top spot in the Haren derby.
It's hard to find a source much closer to the situation than that, which seems to close the book on one of the more interesting free agency cases of the offseason. Haren makes an intriguing buy-low candidate for teams that aren't scared off by his declining velocity; his strikeout-to-walk ratio remains among the American League's best, if well off his career bests.
The St. Louis Cardinals won't be in competition for his services, given their intimidating store of pitching prospects, but I find it hard not to cover Haren; the trade that sent him to the Oakland Athletics remains one of the worst moments in my Cardinals fandom that didn't involve a loss, even though at the time I was—admittedly—more broken up about Daric Barton, who looked like Ted Williams in low-A ball.