While several trades were consummated and rumors continued to swirl on Wednesday, it was relatively quiet in the Angels front office leading up to Thursday’s 1 p.m. PDT non-waiver trade deadline.
General Manager Jerry Dipoto did his heavy lifting in late June and mid-July, shoring up a sagging bullpen by acquiring closer Huston Street, setup man Jason Grilli and left-hander Joe Thatcher, and it is highly unlikely he’ll make another big splash by Thursday.
“Our biggest needs were in the bullpen, and I feel like we’ve addressed a lot of them,” Dipoto said. “Right now, there’s a pretty good flow to this team. It works together. We’re not looking to do anything that would change the roster in a dramatic way.”
A rotation that is led by Garrett Richards and Jered Weaver and should be boosted by the return of injured left-hander C.J. Wilson this weekend entered Wednesday night’s game against Baltimore ranked fourth in the American League in earned-run average (3.77), third in strikeouts (572) and second in average against (.236).
The bullpen has gone from one of baseball’s worst to one of its best, combining for a 2.40 ERA and a .204 average against and converting 13 of 16 save opportunities in the last 36 games.
And an offense led by Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, despite hitting a lull after the All-Star break, still ranks second in the AL in runs (514), average (.265) and on-base percentage (.329) and third in slugging (.419).
The Angels (63-42) have the second-best record in baseball. Would they benefit from adding a front-line starter? Of course.
But they don’t have the high-end prospects to acquire pitchers such as Boston’s Jon Lester and John Lackey, Tampa Bay’s David Price and Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels, so they’ll stick with what they have.
“There’s a long way to go, but we certainly feel we have as good a chance as anyone else to compete,” Dipoto said, when asked if the Angels have the personnel it takes to win the World Series.
“We’re paying attention to the market, but we’re not necessarily looking to make changes. We’re comfortable with the team as it is. If there’s a subtle move we can make to get deeper, we’ll look at it, but I wouldn’t expect anything big.”