Dan Haren pitches against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on Tuesday. (Otto Greule Jr / Getty Images )
SEATTLE -- The Angels are all but certain to decline Dan Haren’s $15.5-million option for 2013.
The 32-year-old right-hander, slowed by a lower-back injury and showing signs of wear and tear after seven straight years with 216 innings or more, went 12-13 with a 4.33 earned run average this season.
And the Angels would like to use their rotation resources to re-sign free-agent right-hander Zack Greinke, who could command a deal in excess of $100 million.
But Manager Mike Scioscia would not be be surprised to see the veteran bounce back next season.
“I’ve seen pitchers who maybe come out for stretches of a season or a whole season and they’re not quite as crisp,” Scioscia said. “Then all of a sudden they’ll find it later in the year or maybe the next season, and they’re just as good as they ever were.
“I tell you — I wouldn’t give up on Dan. A lot of people might feel he took a step back this year, but this guy competes so well I think he’ll rebound and be strong next year.”
Haren, who grew up in the San Gabriel Valley and said it was “a dream come true” when he was traded from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Angels in July of 2010, said he’d consider returning to the Angels on a restructured, cheaper one-year deal.
“I’m not looking to break the bank, I’m not looking to sign a Zack Greinke deal,” Haren said. “I’m looking for whatever is fair. I’ll have to see what happens. Players work hard to get to free agency. I’ve played nine years, and if I become a free agent, it would be stupid not to take advantage of that.”
Haren had gone seven seasons without missing a start before going on the disabled listin July for the first time in his career. Though the velocity of his fastball is down, from 94 mph a few years ago to the 89-mph range, Haren closed the season with five quality starts in his last seven games.
“I’m confident in my abilities,” Haren said, when asked if he could regain the form that made him one of baseball’s most dependable and durable starters from 2005 to 2011.
“The way I felt out there the last six or seven weeks, I think I kind of redefined myself. I struggled early in the year. I had some back issues and was trying to be my old self. The last couple months, I went with a less-is-more attitude. I focused more on location and got way better results.”
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