Dan Haren is not happy about “source” saying Angels will decline his 2013 option

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Earlier this week Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com wrote that the Angels were likely to decline their 2013 options on Dan Haren and Ervin Santana while focusing on re-signing Zack Greinke to a huge long-term deal.

Gonzalez cited “a source familiar with the team’s thinking” and … well, Haren thinks whoever that source is has “dumb timing” and “stupid timing.”

Here’s more, via Ramona Shelbourne of ESPN Los Angeles:

Whatever source familiar with the Angels’ thinking said it, I think it was probably dumb timing for them to say something. We have 10 days left, two weeks left. I think the last thing myself or Ervin are thinking about is our status for next year. We’re focused on the task at hand. I thought it was really stupid timing for something like that to come out.

He’s right, of course, although it’s important to note that “a source familiar with the team’s thinking” doesn’t necessarily mean someone in the Angels organization and in fact the phrasing actually suggests the person isn’t in the Angels organization. In which case they probably don’t care about the timing and what impact it could have on the Angels’ playoff chances.

Haren also made it clear that he wants to remain with the Angels beyond this season, saying “of course I want to come back” and “of course I want to stay.” He went on to say that he understands how the team may have lost confidence in him this season, but cited his strong track record and added: “If I don’t come back, I’ll go somewhere else and help that team out.”

Based on that track record choosing his $15.5 million option instead of a $3.5 million buyout would be a no-brainer, but based on the 32-year-old’s 4.32 ERA and back problems this season the decision on Haren is much tougher.

Tommy La Stella talks about his refusal to report to the minors in 2016

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In late July of 2016, Cubs infielder Tommy La Stella was demoted to Triple-A. It wasn’t personal. It was a roster crunch situation and La Stella had options left so, despite the fact that he had been an effective player to that point of the season, it made sense to send him down.

La Stella didn’t take the demotion well. In fact he refused to report to Iowa and went home to New Jersey instead. It was not until August 17 that he finally reported and then only after prolonged discussions with the Cubs and the assurance that he’d be back in the majors once rosters opened up. Which he was, after spending just over a week down on the farm.

Such a move by a player would, normally speaking, make him persona non-grata. His teammates would shun him and the organization would, eventually, cut bait, with the press characterizing him as a me-first player as he walked out the door. That did not happen with La Stella, however, who remains with the Cubs two years later and, by all accounts, is a popular and important guy in the Cubs’ clubhouse, even if he’s not one of the team’s big stars.

Today Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has an in-depth story about La Stella, what went down in 2016 and how he and the Cubs have proceeded since then. The story is subscription only, but the short version is that there was a lot of understanding and empathy on the part of the Cubs organization and their players about what was going on in La Stella’s head at the time and how everyone allowed everyone else the space to work through it.

I’m happy to read this story, because all too often we only hear about such incidents as they occur, with little followup. To the extent the story is told, most of the time its completely one-sided, with the player who acts out being treated like a bad seed with little if any explanation of his side of things. And, yes, there are always two sides to the story. Sometimes even more.

Kudos to Rosenthal for telling this story. Here’s hoping the next time a player is involved in a controversy that, in the moment, makes him appear to be a bad seed or have a bad attitude, we hear more about it then too.