ANAHEIM -- With a late first-half surge, the Angels might have accomplished more than putting themselves back in the hunt for the American League West title.
They might have secured their clubhouse against a big move at the non-waiver Trade Deadline.
General manager Tony Reagins has a recent history of going for the gusto with bold acquisitions, having acquired Mark Teixeira, Scott Kazmir, Alberto Callaspo and Dan Haren the past three seasons. The total cost: pitcher Joe Saunders, infielders Casey Kotchman, Sean Rodriguez and Matt Sweeney and pitching prospects Steve Marek, Alex Torres, Tyler Skaggs, Patrick Corbin, Rafael Rodriguez, Will Smith and Sean O'Sullivan.
But the farm system isn't as deep as it once was, and it remains open for debate whether it would be worth the risk of dealing more young talent for a big bat now that Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells have shown signs that their early season slumbers were aberrations. Hunter and Wells, with the loud noises their bats have been making, seem to have quieted the siren call for a loud bat in Southern California.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia didn't sound overly enthused about the Angels going outside the organization for an upgrade as the deadline approaches.
"The potential to get better is in our clubhouse," Scioscia said. "We're not going to look at the standings. We've seen some growth and some shortcomings. We have to focus on playing good baseball. We're not the deep team we need to be, but we're deeper now than we were."
It's no secret that any club offering an impact hitter to the Angels will be asking for super prospect Mike Trout in return. Trout might not be untouchable, but you might burn yourself if you try to get too close to the multi-talented outfielder. It would take something almost unimaginable for the Angels to part with the future star they plan to align with Peter Bourjos and possibly Mark Trumbo in a potentially lethal outfield down the road.
Reagins has gone on record in saying there are no financial restraints from owner Arte Moreno regarding moves that can improve the club. The issue is whether it will serve the team's long-term interests as well as its immediate needs.
"We're looking to improve this ballclub," Reagins said. "We'll have the opportunity to add if we need to add. If the situation is right, we're going to be aggressive in pursuing it. That's been our M.O. since we've been here and will continue to be. If we see opportunities that will make us better, we're definitely going to jump right in there."
The Angels' biggest perceived need is a left-handed bat to place in the middle of the order and break up a run of right-handed hitters: Hunter, Wells, Howard Kendrick and Trumbo. Ideally, that player would be a third baseman. But there are few left-handed-hitting third basemen who figure to be available.
Among potential options at the position, the Cubs' Aramis Ramirez has the highest profile -- and a price tag to match.
The Cubs figure to be inclined to move salary for prospects, but Ramirez's contract seems prohibitive: about $7.2 million for the rest of the season and $16 million for next season. He's a good player, with power, but that seems steep for anyone but a team with the Yankees' payroll.
When they shop around and see who is available and what it would take, the Angels might determine they're just fine with Maicer Izturis and Alberto Callaspo at third base.
The pitching staff, like the infield, is deep and solid, and the outfield and catching spot are well fortified. No glaring holes appear to be preventing this team from making a run at the big prize.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.