History proves Halos unafraid to wheel, deal
Angels always active at Deadline, but lack depth on farm
ANAHEIM -- The Angels can deal, swiftly and unexpectedly. They have a recent history of making big splashes at the Trade Deadline -- both the waiver and non-waiver varieties.
Whether they'll follow up the acquisitions of Mark Teixeira and Scott Kazmir from the past two seasons with another bold move is a matter of conjecture, but general manager Tony Reagins clearly isn't shy about pulling the trigger when the right opportunity presents itself.
"Tony is talking to people all the time, looking for ways to improve the club," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "If it makes sense, we'll do something. If not, we'll go with what we have."
They won't be in bad shape if they sit tight with what they have in pursuit of a fourth consecutive American League West title. The Angels have a roster loaded with athletes who traditionally do their best work in the second halves of seasons.
The division is stronger than advertised. The Rangers have the look of a serious contender this season, fortified by improved pitching and defense, along with the added muscle Vladimir Guerrero provides. The young, talented Athletics also appear to be on the threshold of a breakthrough, while the Mariners are in flux, trying to assess whether to fold or deal.
The loss of slugging first baseman Kendry Morales -- fifth in last season's AL MVP voting -- for the season with surgery on his lower left leg seemingly was a lethal blow. But after Morales' exit on May 29, the Angels responded with their best stretch of baseball this season.
Catcher Mike Napoli has handled first base capably for a guy who hadn't played there in four years. The Angels like the idea of keeping his booming bat in the lineup on a daily basis along with Jeff Mathis, a premier defensive receiver.
The Angels landed a big bat at first at the 2008 non-waiver Trade Deadline, when they acquired Teixeira from the Braves for Casey Kotchman and Steve Marek. It could happen again.
When the White Sox were struggling early in the season, they appeared to be a potential fit as a trade partner for Paul Konerko, who could provide power production. But Chicago suddenly took flight behind its superb starting pitching, and it's doubtful, with a shot at the postseason, it would break up President Barack Obama's favorite team.
In Lance Berkman, the Astros have a proven offensive force to dangle, but his price tag could be exorbitant. Less costly options figure to be available.
If Napoli continues to develop with the glove at first, the answer offensively can be found in-house at no cost -- always the preferable route.
Having dealt premium prospects Sean Rodriguez, Alex Torres and Matt Sweeney to the Rays last Aug. 28 in a waiver deal for Kazmir, the Angels don't have a surplus of young talent to offer. This makes a potential blockbuster deal less likely than it was at this time last year, when Roy Halladay was in their sights before zeroing in on Kazmir.
Third baseman Kevin Frandsen, acquired in late April in a Minor League waiver deal after Boston let him go, has given the Angels an injection of offense and enthusiasm, while handling any assignment sent his way. This has had the impact of landing an important piece in a swap, with infielders Erick Aybar and Maicer Izturis both missing time with injuries.
The starting rotation, youthful but experienced, looks solid, and there's depth in the bullpen.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.