The Angels' "preference" is to decline their club options on Dan Haren and Ervin Santana in order to pursue a long-term extension with Zack Greinke, a source tells MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. The team would only look to bring back Haren or Santana if Greinke signed elsewhere, Gonzalez believes.
Haren ($15.5MM option, $3.5MM buyout) and Santana ($13MM option, $1MM buyout) both went from being likely pickup candidates to possibly expendable after their disappointing 2012 campaigns. Both men have shown better recent form, however, which could be a sign that their struggles were temporary — Haren has a 2.45 ERA over his last six starts, Santana a 2.49 ERA over his last seven.
If the Angels did decline their options, Haren and Santana would become two of the most sought-after arms on the market this winter. Haren just turned 32 but has been one of the game's better pitchers for the last several years, while Santana was very good in 2010-11, has thrown at least 175 innings in four of the last five years and may still be somewhat of a breakout candidate going into his age-30 season.
The Angels have Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and presumably Garrett Richards (who will have to replace someone) in place for next year's starting rotation. If Greinke is re-signed, that would leave the fifth starter's job open to such current in-house options as Barry Enright or Jerome Williams, though the Halos could also pursue add veteran depth this winter.