Contrary to what has been rumored, Tony Reagins said on a radio show Friday the Angels do have the ability to add payroll to this year’s club and will be looking to improve the team offensively before the trade deadline.
The Los Angeles general manager told Jim Bowden, host of ‘Inside Pitch,’ there was no truth to recent reports that ownership told him not to expand the team’s payroll anymore this season.
Reagins also said no players on his squad were untouchable.
Considering the Angels’ recent surge — they’ve won 11 of their last 15 games and six of their last seven — maybe it shouldn’t be come as a big surprise that they plan on being buyers at this year’s deadline.
ESPN’s Buster Olney wrote Friday that Chicago Cubs first baseman Carlos Pena might be a nice fit for the Halos. The 33-year-old has hit 17 home runs this season and would instantly become the biggest bat in the lineup. But after surveying the team’s current look, slotting Pena to provide Los Angeles with a power upgrade might be counter-productive.
Rookie first baseman Mark Trumbo leads the team in homers (13), and the arrival of Pena would mean a jam at that position. Moving either of the two to DH would be unlikely, as veteran Bobby Abreu has filled the role nicely almost every day with Vernon Wells back from injury. Trumbo can play right field, but obviously not anywhere close to the level that Torii Hunter plays it. Move Hunter back to his previous spot in center, and rising star Peter Bourjos is out of a spot.
Any changes to the rest of the infield could be unlikely, too, with Erick Aybar and Maicer Izturis being two of the league’s better defensive players. Los Angeles’ catching platoon of Jeff Mathis and Hank Conger has struggled to produce at times. Still, manager Mike Scioscia, a former backstop himself, is well-known for the premium he puts on solid defense at the position, which he usually gets from both of those players, particularly Mathis.
Perhaps the most likely spot for a change would be third base, currently occupied by Alberto Callaspo. Callaspo has cooled off to a .280 season average after hitting .305 in the months of April and May and has committed nine errors. Callaspo has been a solid contributor, but if the Angels are seeking more power, maybe they take a look at another Cub, Jeff Baker. Baker is having probably his best Major League season, hitting .310 and slugging .437.
Then again, if the Angels keep winning like they have been, maybe we won’t see as much change.
— by Jordan Garretson