The first thing to understand is that teams know their own players better than anyone else.
So, when the Los Angeles Angels allowed right-hander Dan Haren to become a free agent Friday night after trading righty Ervin Santana two days before, club officials sent a clear message.
In their view, neither Haren nor Santana would be a cost-efficient member of their rotation next season, not at a net price of $12 million each.
Here's the problem:
The Angels, after parting with Haren and Santana, have lost leverage with free-agent right-hander Zack Greinke, whom they badly need to re-sign.
At the moment, the team's rotation consists of righty Jered Weaver, lefty C.J. Wilson and righties Garrett Richards and Jerome Williams.
Not exactly a championship-caliber group.
Greinke, 29, knows the Angels are in a near-desperate position. He also knows the Los Angeles Dodgers might top any offer to sign him, and that the Texas Rangers covet him, too.
Granted, the free-agent market just opened...