For a pitcher of his caliber, Dan Haren hasn't had the luxury of getting comfortable in any one place.
He's on his fourth team in a seven-year career and, unless the Angels pick up his $15.5 million option after this season, he'll move onto his fifth. All that motion has taught him about the nature of impermanence in baseball.
"Of course I'd want to be here for the rest of my career, but I don't know if that's going to be a reality," Haren said.
Haren, 31, said the Angels haven't approached his agent about a long-term contract extension, which he understands considering they just spent $330 million on free agents Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, plus an additional $118.5 million locking up homegrown talents Jered Weaver and Howie Kendrick. The shortest of those contracts, Kendrick's, is for four years.
Haren's as bankable as pitchers come, having made the most starts of any major-league pitcher since 2005 and with a 3.59 career ERA. But with injuries always a possibility, making hasty decisions about pitchers rarely works in the team's favor. The Angels figure to wait until the conclusion of this season before they decide on Haren's option. If they don't pick it up, it will cost them $3.5 million to buy it out. That would make Haren a free agent, something he's never been.
"I figure, barring a bad injury, which you can never plan for, it’s kind of a win-win for me," Haren said. "If I come back, obviously it’s a ton of money, so I’d be happy to be playing for that salary and, if they didn’t, I’d hit the free market and try that out."