07/12/12 10:00 AM ET
Angels not counting on major moves at Deadline
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
Don't count on it.
Their deep starting rotation has taken a hit in recent days, third base has always seemed like a position of need and high-upside center fielder Peter Bourjos is without an everyday role. But the Angels, sources have said, aren't confident they can swing any major deals before July 31. First-year general manager Jerry Dipoto will keep his options open, but a big move just doesn't seem realistic -- at least not yet.
"I don't think it's imminent that we make any kind of moves, nor do I think that it's a must," Dipoto recently said, and he hasn't backed away from that position. "We're going to continue to survey, and if the ability or chance to help in a given area arises, then we'll take advantage, we'll try to capitalize on that opportunity. But I can't define at this time whether that's going to be available to us or not."
Several factors are responsible for that. Two of them are league-wide:
1. The addition of an extra Wild Card team in each league has put more clubs in contention, which means fewer of them will be "sellers" this month. As it stands, the Angels aren't optimistic that the market will be very favorable to them.
2. The new Collective Bargaining Agreement has diminished Draft-pick compensation, making it less intriguing to trade for those two-month rentals who hit the open market in the offseason. Gone are the Type A and Type B rankings, replaced by a system in which only players who have been with their club for the entire season are subject to compensation. For an Angels team that needs to replenish its farm system, that's a bigger issue than you might think.
Two factors are internal:
1. The Angels seem unwilling to part ways with Bourjos, who can't find a spot in the present-day outfield of Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo and Torii Hunter but has a lot of upside, makes close to the league minimum and figures into their long-term plans.
If the Angels don't deal Bourjos, it'll be difficult to come up with enough in order to acquire a starter like Zack Greinke, Cole Hamels or Matt Garza.
2. At a franchise-record $154 million payroll, which ranks fourth in the Majors, the Angels are on a tight budget. And Vernon Wells, who will make $21 million each season through 2014, is essentially immovable.
With Dan Haren and Ervin Santana, the Angels are counting on track record for a second-half boost.
Haren has posted an uncharacteristic 4.86 ERA, due in large part to back problems that put him on the disabled list for the first time in his career, but he should return -- fully healthy, the Angels hope -- in a couple of weeks. Santana, meanwhile, has been awfully erratic, leading to a 5.75 ERA. The Angels hope to get him back to form, and they believe the rest of their starting staff -- All-Stars Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson, plus capable back-end starters Garrett Richards and Jerome Williams -- is more than capable.
But if the recent rotation issues continue shortly after the All-Star break, things can change. And there is one x-factor in all this: Dipoto is extremely diligent and leaves no stone unturned.
"Nothing will slip by Jerry's observation," a person familiar with the team's thinking said. "I think you wait and see how the rotation shapes up the first time through after the break; see how Haren, Williams and Richards shape up."
SI.com reported recently that the Angels will be in the market for Greinke if the Brewers make him available, but that remains to be seen. What the Angels definitely will look for is some starting-pitching depth organizationally. They'll also seek more bullpen help, with several intriguing names -- like Huston Street, Jonathan Broxton, Darren Oliver and Jose Mijares, just to name a few -- likely to become available.
As a chip, the Angels have Jean Segura, a top-rated shortstop who played in the Futures Game and has a hazy big league future with middle infielders Erick Aybar and Howie Kendrick locked up long-term.
Are the Angels capable of landing a big name? Well, anything can happen this month -- especially for a team with championship aspirations.
Just don't get your hopes up.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.