Dan Haren wants to stay with Angels

Dan Haren said he would love to return to the Los Angeles Angels next season, calling his time playing for his hometown team "a dream come true."

But in his limited contact with the Angels this fall, Haren admitted that he "doesn't believe the feeling is mutual."

The Angels have until Friday to exercise their $15.5 million option on the final year of Haren's contract. Haren said he hasn't heard much from the Angels of late but believes "a trade is the likeliest scenario" now that his no-trade clause is invalid after the World Series ended.

"I think they should keep me just because the uncertainty of the free agent market and the fact that replacing me is gonna cost some money," Haren wrote in an email to ESPNLosAngeles.com on Thursday morning. "I have a big upside and I feel like I'd be low-risk being on a one-year deal."

Haren has been one of the more dependable pitchers in the game throughout his career, having thrown more than 200 innings in seven consecutive seasons before this past one. He just missed that mark this year (176 2/3 innings) thanks to a stint on the disabled list -- the first of his career -- with a back injury in July.

Haren has said that he never felt 100 percent this past season, but simply learned to adjust his style of pitching with diminished velocity as he gutted his way through the back injury. Haren had a 4.86 ERA in the first half of the season but a 3.58 ERA in the second as he made those adjustments.

He does not, however, believe his health issues will linger.

"I started working out about a week after the season ended, and I'm feeling good," Haren wrote to ESPNLosAngeles.com. "I'm gonna go into this spring as strong as I've ever been and I'm confident I'll be back to my old self."

While he'd love the chance to come back to the Angels, even as a free agent if they decline his option, Haren is preparing to be dealt in the same fashion the team traded veteran right-hander Ervin Santana to the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday.

"I loved my time with the Angels," Haren wrote in the email. "I would come back if we worked out something fair for both sides, but I'm not getting a feeling from them that the feeling is mutual.

"But hey, it's a business and (general manager) Jerry (DiPoto) is one of the smartest baseball minds in the game. I'm sure he has a plan to fill the rotation whether it be (with free agent right-hander) Zack (Greinke) or some type of trade."