Angels exploring trades for Dan Haren and Ervin Santana

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We heard last month that the Angels were likely to decline their club options on Dan Haren and Ervin Santana in order to focus their efforts on signing impending free agent Zack Greinke, but things could get interesting in the next couple of days.

According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the Angels are currently exploring potential trades for Haren and Santana. The Angels have until Wednesday to decide whether to pick up their options for next season, so they don’t have a lot of time to find a match.

Haren’s option is worth $15.5 million and includes a $3.5 million buyout. Meanwhile, Santana’s option is worth $13 million and carries a $1 million buyout.

Haren was bothered by a back injury this season and posted a 4.33 ERA in 30 starts while showing decreased velocity, but a team could be willing to take the one-year gamble via trade rather than sign him to a multi-year contract as a free agent. The 32-year-old right-hander can block trades to 12 clubs. Finding a taker for Santana might prove more difficult after he posted a 5.16 ERA over 30 starts this season and allowed a major-league high 39 homers in 178 innings.

Dodgers plan to tab Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of World Series

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MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.

Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.

Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.

Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.

The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.