It’s no secret that the Los Angeles Angels have been actively working the phones to make some trades. On Wednesday, GM Jerry DiPoto shipped right hander Ervin Santana to the Royals in a move that accomplished one half of what they wanted to do this week. The other objective, and one they are still working on, is finding the best deal for fellow right hander Dan Haren.
Haren battled back issues last season and his numbers slipped because of it. After years of near-dominance as a very good number two starter at every stop in his career, suddenly the Angels can’t move on from this guy fast enough after one mildly disappointing year. What gives? Well, his $15.5 million option for 2013 does, for starters, and the Angels’ desire to save as much money as they can as they attempt to bury Zack Greinke under an avalanche of cash this Winter.
Last season, Haren’s 4.33 ERA marked the first time since 2006 that he’s seen an ERA North of four. He’s been the model of consistency. No surprise then that the Boston Red Sox have today been linked to Haren in a possible trade. The Angels have been fielding offers from multiple clubs and are expected to make a decision soon.
When the deal is finalized, it will mark the second time that DiPoto will have traded Haren away. While serving as interim GM of the Diamondbacks in 2010, DiPoto landed a four-player package from the Angels that included Patrick Corbin and Tyler Skaggs. No chance he’ll get that kind of haul this time. Everyone in the world knows if he cannot find a trade partner, DiPoto will simply decline Haren’s option and allow him to walk via free agency.
While moving Haren will not be a problem, DiPoto will have to be very creative to accomplish his next goal: trading Vernon Wells.
DiPoto didn’t ask for this mess. The Blue Jays fleeced former Angels GM Tony Reagins on this move. One can’t help but think that when Reagins openly bragged about signing Carl Crawford before the deal was made, then watched as Crawford signed in Boston instead, Reagins came under intense pressure to find another hitter. I guess he figured he was going to spend $20 million on a left field with Crawford, so he may as well take Wells and his mammoth contract off of Toronto’s books. He even gave up Mike Napoli in the process.
Needless to say, the deal wasn’t a wise one at all and probably was the biggest reason that Reagins is no longer running the show in Anaheim.
Now Wells is down to two seasons on the seven-year, $126 million deal he signed prior to the 2008 season. The contract was so heavily back-loaded, however, that Wells is making $21 million in each of the next two years. Oh, and he holds a full no-trade clause.
Not only is Wells owed $42 million over the next two years, which would make a trade difficult enough, but he hasn’t cracked an OPS of even .700 in the past two years. It’s little wonder why the Angels would like to move him, what with Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo, and Peter Bourjos all set to go as the starting outfield if needed. LA would ideally like to bring back Torii Hunter or add a similar veteran bat to add to the mix as well.
There’s just no place for a guy who hits like Brennan Boesch, but makes approximately $20.5 million more than Boesch does. No place in Anaheim and , as DiPoto will most assuredly find out, no place anywhere around the league. At least not without the Angels basically paying his entire contract.