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Angels deal Ervin Santana to Royals, aim to make run at keeping Zack Greinke

Tim Brown
Yahoo Sports

The Los Angeles Angels come off a very bitter year, the Kansas City Royals a very bitter 2½ decades, and one club's heartache becomes another's potential ace.

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Ervin Santana (AP)

After years of waiting for Ervin Santana to become a more consistent starter, or a pitcher whose results would line up more regularly with his stuff, the Angels on Wednesday traded the right-hander to the Royals.

Up against a deadline to exercise a $13 million option for 2013 on Santana, nearing a similar decision on Dan Haren's $15.5 million option, and wishing to conserve resources to make a run at free-agent right-hander Zack Greinke, the Angels had been in negotiations with the Royals for at least a week. In the agreement, the Angels picked up Santana's option, then traded the pitcher to the Royals for left-hander Brandon Sisk, a 27-year-old minor-league reliever. The Angels will cover part of Santana's contract for '13.

[Photo gallery: Victory parade in San Francisco]

The Royals again had one of the worst rotations in the game in 2013, when 13 pitchers made at least one start. Santana, even off another enigmatic season, could be the best of the bunch.

In a soft year for free-agent starting pitchers – Greinke heads the class, followed by the likes of Edwin Jackson, Anibal Sanchez, Kyle Lohse and Francisco Liriano – teams will be more apt to acquire starters in trades. If the Angels decline his option, Haren could join that list of free agents. The club would prefer to trade him, however, in the same manner it did Santana.

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