Josh Hamilton with Jerry Dipoto. (Getty)
Who needs a marketing department when the Los Angeles Angels have a GM making awesome statements like: "We're not buyers. We're not sellers. We're the Angels"?
If that's not bumper sticker, fridge magnet schedule, quote-board material, nothing said ever was.
Dipoto means, and Orange County Register beat reporter Jeff Fletcher concurs, that the Angels are perpetual contenders who won't sell the farm just to fill a gap on the roster now. There's the 2013 pennant race to consider, along with future ones.
That said, the Angels woke up on Thursday eight games under .500 and 10 games back in the AL West. They continue to sustain injuries to their starting pitching, Josh Hamilton still isn't hitting we're nearly at the season's midway point. But even a second-half offensive surge, with Hamilton and Albert Pujols joining Mike Trout, can't fix Los Anaheim's troubled pitching. The Angels already are fourth in the league in runs. That's great; stopping the other team from scoring is the bigger problem, however.
So, what is Dipoto going to do about it?
He could trade midlevel prospects for a starting pitcher like Yovani Gallardo, if the Milwaukee Brewers were so inclined. Or do a deal with the Miami Marlins for Ricky Nolasco. Or both. Really, the Angels need more than one guy to get six or seven innings at a time.
But are the Angels even in position to make a run at the playoffs? Shouldn't they be sellers? Don't expect Dipoto to make big changes of any kind at the trade deadline, because he says they're unlikely to happen. What will happen? It's up to the guys in the clubhouse, he says (via the Los Angeles Times):
The Angels have shown flashes of promise, winning eight straight in May and six of eight games earlier this month. But they've been unable to sustain much momentum, their breakdowns coming in every phase of the game — offense, defense, starting pitching, relief, baserunning — and often.
"It's a compilation of events, truthfully," Dipoto said. "We have not performed to our ability in a lot of different ways. … It's frustrating. We have a little more than half a season left to turn things around. There's a ton of talent in that clubhouse. We have to find a way to be more consistent and do the little stuff well."
Dipoto is not wrong in his characterization, but he's leaving out the front office's culpability — owner Arte Moreno, included — for what's gone wrong this season. Hamilton, letting go of Zack Greinke, Ryan Madson, the catching, Tommy Hanson, the bullpen — yeah, they've underperformed. He also assumes the front office has given the Angels what they need to compete. But the Angels record is just as much a reflection on players not coming through as the player personnel department not coming through in the offseason.
The Angels should pick a side — to sell, probably — even if it's what they're not used to doing.
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