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Marlins might flip Dan Haren
When Haren signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Dodgers on November 25th, 2013, he made it clear that he only wanted to pitch in the Los Angeles area for the remainder of his major-league career. A player option worth $10 million vested when Haren reached 180 innings in 2014, giving him the right to stay with the Dodgers, which he (unsurprisingly) exercised before Halloween.

The Dodgers, though, with a new front office and a host of roster changes in store, threw a wrench into Haren’s plans by shipping him to Miami along with Dee Gordon in exchange for prospects, one of whom, Andrew Heaney, they turned into Howie Kendrick. Haren has not yet closed the door on pitching for Marlins despite the five-hour flight separating Miami from Southern California, but the front office is wisely planning for that possibility. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweeted on Monday that another trade might be in the works.

Haren is an interesting asset, in that his $10 million salary is covered by the Dodgers, whether or not he retires. That $10 million could stay with the Marlins even in the event of a trade, but in order to retain all of it, they’d have to convince a team to take a 34-year-old coming off a 1.0 WARP season at that price. More likely, if Haren is flipped, they’ll obtain a prospect or big-league depth piece and have a slightly thicker wallet with which to further reinforce the roster.

But while Haren’s contract doesn’t contain a no-trade clause, he wields that power, since teams that seek to acquire him would need to have some degree of confidence that he won’t bolt. Presumably, the Dodgers would not be among those interested, leaving the Angels and Padres as the only SoCal options—and the Halos as the only choice if Haren is bent on staying in the greater L.A. area. Add the A’s, Diamondbacks, and Giants to the list if Haren is amenable to being a one-hour flight away from his home, with the first two of that trio possibly having the advantage of being former employers. For other teams, all bets are off.

The ball is currently in Haren’s court, as the Marlins wait to learn whether they can expect him to report to spring training in Jupiter, Florida. We’ll check back in on this one when he makes up his mind.

Cubs out on Colby Rasmus
Theo Epstein has already made his marquee offseason addition by reuniting with Jon Lester, but CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney doesn’t believe he’s finished adding to the club. An outfielder and a “veteran reliever” are still on the shopping list.

We can, however, eliminate one player from the Cubs’ consideration: Rasmus, a reclamation project of sorts after a .225/.287/.448 effort at the plate in 2014, won’t be coming to the Windy City.

That news comes some 24 hours after Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, who covered Rasmus during his time in Toronto, wrote that the 28-year-old was fielding interest from the North Siders. Davidi also mentioned the Orioles, so it’s possible that Mooney’s report is an indication that the outfielder is moving closer to a deal with Baltimore. That would jibe with this mildly cryptic tweet from Peter Gammons:

If the Cubs are out and few other teams are actively interested, then it makes sense that Rasmus’ representatives would encourage the O’s to take a flier on a player just a season removed from 4.1 WARP performance. The Orioles’ hitter-friendly home ballpark only adds to their allure from the player’s perspective.

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick mentioned during the Winter Meetings that the Royals might consider Rasmus to plug the right-field hole vacated by Norichika Aoki, but they reached a one-year, $11 million deal with Alex Rios on Monday night.

Brad Penny close to choosing team with which he’ll attempt comeback
Despite getting shelled to the tune of a 6.58 ERA in eight major-league games with the Marlins last year—his first action at that level since 2012—Penny still has the itch to continue pitching. And, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo, who heard from the right-hander’s agent on Monday, he’s nearing a choice on the uniform he wants to sport.

Three unidentified teams are still in the mix for the 36-year-old’s services, all of the presumably offering a minor-league hitch with the opportunity to secure a job out of spring training. Penny made seven tune-up appearances on the farm in 2014, racking up a 2.28 ERA in 27 2/3 innings for Triple-A New Orleans along the way, but it’s unclear whether he’d be willing to return to the minors if he fails to make the roster out of camp.


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HalfStreet
12/17
This article leaves me in a bad place. As a Nationals fan, and as someone who does not appreciate reptilian team ownership, I truly am happy to see the Marlins in a bad place. I love that Dan Haren would rather retire than play for them.

However, they just signed one of every Nats fan's favorite players, Michael Morse. Why, Beast, why??? I suppose I can pull for Morse to absolutely kill it in front of thousands of bare seats around a home run statue that will only be worth millions once the Marlins expire and move to Portland, Oregon. I just hope that the rest of the team underperforms so they can sink like Toronto after the blockbuster a few years ago. After all, Morse got his ring last season with the Giants.

+1/2St.