Dan Haren hits free agency after Angels decline option

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It appeared Dan Haren was Chicago-bound just a few hours ago, but he’s now a free agent.

Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com reports that the Angels have declined the $15.5 million club option on Haren’s contract for 2013. He will receive a $3.5 million buyout and test the open market.

Yes, somehow the Angels were able to trade Ervin Santana, but couldn’t find a taker for Haren. Most thought the reverse would happen at the start of this week. Very strange. Of course, it’s not clear why the proposed trade with the Cubs fell apart and it’s possible Jerry Dipoto simply didn’t have enough time to find another deal he was satisfied with. Given the reports that the Angels were actually going to send money to the Cubs for Carlos Marmol, perhaps the failed deal was a blessing in disguise.

Haren, 32, is coming off a disappointing season where he posted a 4.33 ERA and 142/38 K/BB ratio over 176 2/3 innings while showing diminished velocity and dealing with a back issue. However, there will likely be plenty of teams lining up for a possible rebound.