"I said the Yankees first," Haren said of his first hunch. "I know as much as [the media] know."
But despite the rumors indicating otherwise, Haren was sent from Arizona to Los Angeles in exchange for four Angels headlined by lefty starter Joe Saunders.
"We watched Dan Haren walk out the door, and it's with sadness," Dipoto said. "Nothing Dan Haren did brought our organization to where we are today, a last-place club."
When told he was heading home -- he grew up 20 minutes from Angel Stadium of Anaheim -- and not, in fact, going eastward, "obviously, I was smiling," Haren said.
His teammates couldn't muster that same grin.
"Danny did a great job while he was here," a visibly disappointed but certainly unsurprised Justin Upton said. "I'm excited for him. He's going to back home to L.A. and pitching in a pennant race. For us, moving forward he was our best piece to try to make our team better and it's unfortunate that we have gotten to this point and Haren has to go. But we're building for the future."
Upton pointed to the three prospects -- Minor League pitchers Rafael Rodriguez and Patrick Corbin in addition to an unnamed player -- as the base of that new structure.
"We wish the best of luck to him, and hopefully he has an awesome time there," added Barry Enright, who started but didn't figure into the decision of Sunday's defeat and like Haren is a Pepperdine University alumnus. "We have a lot of good pieces here, and we're going to compete as long as we're here. It's saddening to lose an awesome, amazing player like that, but we're going to welcome Joe into the club and go from there."
Haren, who was acquired in December 2007 and compiled a 37-26 record here with a 3.56 ERA, was paired with Brandon Webb in hopes of re-creating Arizona's one-two World Series punch of Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson. Webb (shoulder surgery) hasn't thrown a pitch since Opening Day 2009.
"A lot of good and bad," Haren said of his experience in Arizona, where he and family live year-round. "I'm kind of sad it didn't lead to what I was brought here for, which was bring the team to the next level. I was brought here to put [the D-backs] over the top. It didn't happen that way."
Andrew Pentis is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.