There's no question that Los Angeles Angels pitcher Zack Greinke is the top free agent pitcher on the market this winter, and on Wednesday the Angels made a move to help ensure the fact that they'll be able to offer him the most money possible to retain the services of their 2012 rental player for the long term.
The Angels sent starting pitcher Ervin Santana and $1 million to the Kansas City Royals after picking up his $13 million option for 2013. Sounds strange, yes, but there's a plan in place.
The Angels also have to make a decision on Dan Haren and his $15.5 million option for 2013. No matter what happens with Haren, the Santana trade frees up some significant cash to make a bigger push for Greinke. if they sent Haren packing, that's nearly $30 million freed off their payroll.
Santana has been erratic in his career, but when he's good, he's been really good. He's 29 years old and is coming off one of his worst seasons as a starter, posting a 5.16 ERA and a 9-13 record. But this is a guy who's won 16 games twice and 17 games once and has thrown a no-hitter. He's talented.
Now that Santana is gone, the Angels better hope they can bring back Greinke because as their rotation sits now, it has Haren, who may or may not be back and is coming off a subpar year anyway, C.J. Wilson, who just underwent surgery, and Jered Weaver, who is obviously an absolute beast and a true No. 1.
Let the hot stove begin!