Angels decline Dan Haren's $15.5 million option

Angels decline Dan Haren's $15.5 million option

Dan Haren became a free agent Friday night after the Los Angeles Angels failed to work out a trade and then declined the pitcher's 2013 option.

Haren, a three-time All-Star from 2007-09, gets a $3.5 million buyout under the deal, which included a $15.5 million club option for 2013. The Angels' decision came after a proposed trade to the Chicago Cubs for closer Carlos Marmol fell apart.

Los Angeles also declined to make a $13.3 million qualifying offer to free-agent outfielder Torii Hunter.

``We want to create as much flexibility as we can in our ability to navigate for 2013 and beyond,'' general manager Jerry Dipoto said. ``In business, sometimes you make tough decisions.''

The Angels agreed to trade Haren to the Cubs, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press earlier Friday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the deal did not get completed.

Marmol's contract gives him the right to submit a list of up to five teams he can't be traded to without his consent. The person said Marmol told the Cubs he would agree to the trade, but would not say whether the reliever provided his written consent.

A spokesman for the Cubs declined to comment.

``Obviously, it didn't happen,'' Dipoto said. ``We had a variety of different deals that we worked through during the course of the last week or 10 days. Some were closer than others. But I'll leave it at that.''

Marmol, an All-Star in 2008, had 114 saves for the Cubs over the past five years. Yet he lost his job as the team's closer several times due to ineffectiveness and a lack of control.

The Angels had until midnight EDT on Friday to exercise Haren's option for next season. The 32-year-old right-hander went 12-13 with a career-worst 4.33 ERA in 30 starts this year and was on the disabled list for the first time.

Haren became the second starting pitcher in three days to be jettisoned by the busy Angels. They shipped Ervin Santana to the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday for minor league left-hander Brandon Sisk.

In addition, Zack Greinke became a free agent.

``Obviously, we have a great interest in Zack Greinke. We traded for him once. He did a tremendous job for us in the second half of the season and down the stretch, and we have a great deal of interest in pursuing the potential of bringing him back,'' Dipoto said. ``But there is a lot that has to happen between now and opening day next year that will define whether that's going to happen or not.''

After adding Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson last year for a combined $317.5 million, the Angels appear a bit more cautious this offseason.

``You can't just continually gather assets without having logical solutions as to how they all fit,'' Dipoto said.

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Wizards drop to precarious position in close Eastern Conference playoff race

Wizards drop to precarious position in close Eastern Conference playoff race

As if they needed a reminder, the Wizards saw firsthand on Wednesday night just how much can change in a short period of time in the Eastern Conference playoff race where just two games separate the No. 3 and No. 6 teams.

That No. 6 team is now your Washington Wizards, who began the day in fourth place but lost their first game in four days on the same night both the Cavs and Sixers won theirs. 

The Wizards lost to the Spurs on Wednesday and managed only 90 points, their fewest since Jan. 22. It was a lackluster performance in a game the Wizards needed to treat with urgency. 


The Spurs sure did.

"We've gotta have a better mentality coming into games," guard Bradley Beal said. "The Spurs were fighting for playoff seeding just like we were."

The Wizards have now lost six of their last 10, yet all those games have come against teams currently holding playoff spots. Considering John Wall reamins out with a left knee injury, it's hard to fault them too much when they are staying afloat just fine in the big picture.

The problem is that the closer they get to the end of the season, the more these losses are magnified. They amount to missed opportunities, some bigger than others.

That was not lost on Beal, who considered the alternative. If the Wizards had beaten the Spurs, they would be sitting in fourth, two spots higher, and just a game-and-a-half out of third.

"Every time we have a chance to move up, we take two steps back," Beal lamented.


The Wizards are in a high stakes part of the standings where plenty is in the balance. They are fighting for home court advantage, something they would get in the third or fourth spots. And who they match up with will be paramount.

By falling to sixth, the Wizards are currently in line to play the Cleveland Cavaliers. Though the Pacers and Sixers are also good teams, they don't have LeBron James. Avoiding him and the Cavs would be ideal for the Wizards.

Beal has even bigger worries than that. He noted after the loss in San Antonio that they could fall even further if they aren't careful. They are now just a game-and-a-half up on the seventh-place Heat. 

"We've gotta realize what's at stake, man. The way we're going, we could keep dropping and mess around and be eighth. We've gotta do whatever it takes to win," he said.

The Wizards should be fine, if the previous two months are any indication. But Wednesday night was another example of how precarious things are for them this season in the tightly-packed Eastern Conference.


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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: How does Brooks Orpik really impact the Caps?

NBC Sports Washington

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: How does Brooks Orpik really impact the Caps?

No player on the Caps gets more scrutiny than defenseman Brooks Orpik. While the analytics aren't kind when he's on the ice, we got to see what the Caps looked like without him when he was scratched against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday and...well, his loss was noticeable.

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir discuss what Orpik's true impact on the Capitals really is both on and off the ice on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast. Plus, they also talk about John Carlson's monster season and Barry Trotz's new strategy for the goalies.

Listen to the latest episode in the player below or here on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.