Angels General Manager Tony Reagins not ready to concede 2010 to Rangers
There is a growing sentiment among more objective followers of the Angels that they are more than one player away from contending for the World Series, that they'd be better off holding on to the few top prospects they do have and building toward 2011 and beyond rather than trading them for a player who might not push them past the Texas Rangers in the American League West this season.
Don't lump General Manager Tony Reagins (pictured at right) into that group.
"Are you saying we should throw in the towel on this season?" Reagins said when the subject was broached by reporters during Wednesday's optional workout in Angel Stadium. "I'm not going to do that, by any means. There are areas we can improve in, and getting [third baseman Maicer] Izturis back will help. We still think we can win this division."
The Angels are 4 1/2 games behind the Rangers entering the second half, but Texas, with newly acquired ace Cliff Lee, a strong offense led by Josh Hamilton and Vladimir Guerrero, a superb defense, and a deep bullpen loaded with power arms, appears to have a much stronger team than the Angels.
The Angels might have enough prospects to trade for an impact slugger such as Washington's Adam Dunn, but most of Reagins' trade talks for high-end talent start with Class-A outfield prospect Mike Trout, who led the Midwest League in almost every offensive category before being promoted to Class-A Rancho Cucamonga this week.
If the Angels trade Trout and another top prospect such as catcher Hank Conger, first baseman Mark Trumbo or pitchers Trevor Reckling or Tyler Skaggs, they would put another dent in an already thin farm system.
Where the Angels are in the standings after next week's six-game trip to New York and Texas probably will go a long way toward determining whether the Angels trade for a player or go into a sell mode and look to dump a veteran or two to a contender.
"The standings don't dictate that we have to do something right now," Reagins said, "but we continue to look at ways to improve."
The Angels, who are coming off a 1-6 trip to Chicago and Oakland, must also improve internally, regardless of any deals.
They need a lot more production from veterans such as Bobby Abreu, Hideki Matsui and Juan Rivera, and they need Izturis, who has been out for a month because of a tear in his left forearm, to return by the end of July. Izturis has resumed taking batting practice.
"We believe we're going to play better baseball," Reagins said. "At the end of the day, if you don't play good baseball, anything we have isn't going to make a difference."
Photo credit: Kirby Lee / US Presswire