Angels head home despite big stars, high salaries

By Greg Beacham

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Oct. 4 2012 2:51 p.m. MDT

Wilson pitched well at times during the first season of his five-year, $77.5 million deal, but struggled through an 11-start winless stretch. The left-hander later revealed he had been pitching with bone spurs in his elbow that will require offseason surgery.

The rest of Los Angeles' 2013 rotation is uncertain. Contract options on Haren and Santana both seem likely to be declined by the Angels after the veterans struggled down the stretch, although Haren would consider returning for less money.

Greinke largely pitched well as a midseason acquisition from Milwaukee, going 6-2 with a 3.53 ERA, but still wasn't enough to push the Angels over the top. He's a free agent who will get a huge payday this winter, likely forcing the Angels to pay top dollar if they hope to keep him.

Yet Orange County seems to be an ideal place for Greinke, the introverted former Brewers and Royals hurler who reportedly balked at playing in big cities in the past. The Angels offer all of the benefits of major-market franchises, including top-dollar contracts, but few of the drawbacks, such as a media microscope or supercritical fans.

And then there's Hunter, the beloved 37-year-old outfielder who just finished an outstanding fifth season in Anaheim. He batted .313 with 16 homers and 92 RBIs, repeatedly coming up big down the stretch while chasing his first World Series ring.

Moreno realizes fans are eager for Hunter's return, and he seems fond of the veteran slugger. But the Angels haven't tipped their hand on his fate before beginning an offseason that could change the Halos yet again.

"This is an organization that I really came over to be with, and thought I would retire here," Hunter said. "If it doesn't work out, I had a lot of fun here. I love these guys. Hopefully we can get something done. They have a lot of things to try and clean up before they even think about offering me a deal, and I understand that. So if I have to, I guess I have to go elsewhere."

AP Sports Writer Tim Booth in Seattle contributed to this report.

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