A month ago, Jerry Dipoto could not envision the Angels making a major push to add or shed players before the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline, the general manager saying, “We are not a buyer, we are not a seller.” Two and a half weeks ago, Dipoto said he doubted the Angels would make any “high-profile moves.”
With an 11-game American League West deficit entering Tuesday night’s game against the Minnesota Twins and the trade deadline now eight days away, little has changed for the Angels.
They are not close enough to contention to warrant a trade for an impact player, and even if they were, they don’t have an abundance of high-end prospects to swing such a deal. Nor do they have the kind of veterans who are attractive enough to contenders to net a significant package of prospects in return.
“We’re informed, we’re aware of teams we may or may not have a potential fit with,” Dipoto said Tuesday. “But we’re not looking to make wholesale changes.”
Pitcher Jason Vargas, who is 6-4 with a 3.65 earned-run average, would have had some value, but the left-hander had a blood clot removed from his armpit on June 26 and was only cleared to resume throwing off a mound Tuesday. There is virtually no chance he’ll be traded.
Veteran reliever Scott Downs, who is 2-1 with a 1.27 ERA in 40 games and has gone 28 appearances without allowing a run, might be attractive to teams looking for a left-handed relief specialist, but the most he’d probably net in a trade is a mid-level prospect.
The players who have the most value—outfielder Mike Trout, closer Ernesto Frieri, rotation ace Jered Weaver, left-hander C.J. Wilson, first baseman Mark Trumbo—the Angels have little or no interest in trading.
With a $148-million payroll and massive investments in players such as Albert Pujols (10 years, $240 million) and Josh Hamilton (five years, $125 million), the Angels are not about to embark on a five-year rebuilding program.
They’re in win-now mode, just like they’ve been for the past decade under owner Arte Moreno, and their only hope this season is for a club that has struggled offensively and defensively and has little rotation depth beyond Weaver and Wilson to get hot for two months.
“We’re having an up-and-down season,” Dipoto said. “Somehow, we have to figure out how to regain consistency on the field and in our approach.”