To deal or not to deal

NEW YORK – Two games in Yankee Stadium, then four in Arlington, in that lovely Texas summer heat. The Angels, sitting five games behind the Rangers in the AL West, are in jeopardy of fading out of the picture if they don’t hold their own.

Adding Cliff Lee and Bengie Molina represented a show of strength by Texas, one the Angels aren’t likely to match. The players other clubs would seek for a performer who can lift their chances likely are prime-time prospects the club does not want to move – notably Mike Trout and Hank Conger.

There’s no way the Angels move Trout. This kid has star qualities, and he’ll get to The Show quickly. He can fly – we saw that in the Futures Game at Angel Stadium – and he has superior instincts in center field and at the plate. He’s the confident face of the future, along with a handful of other talented young Angels in the low Minors who figure to follow Trout to Anaheim.

Conger is a rare commodity – a catcher who can hit with power from both sides. Moving him would be a high-risk decision. He’s local, from Huntington Beach right down the road from Angel Stadium, and he’s loaded with personality. Just can’t see it happening.

The Angels need to look within to get back in this race. They need proven talent – Bobby Abreu, Hideki Matsui, Juan Rivera – to start banging away in a big way. They also need Scott Kazmir to rebound from his shoulder pain and deliver strikes and innings.

There’s a report on ESPNLosAngeles.com that the Angels are targeting the Royals’ Alberto Callaspo, a solid infielder. But he’s no better than Maicer Izturis, who was back on Tuesday night after missing five weeks, driving in a run against All-Star Phil Hughes in his first at-bat. Callaspo wouldn’t make a significant difference in closing any talent gaps.

The Angels should have a better grasp of where they are with their chances this season late Sunday, after wrapping up the four-game series against the Rangers.

If they’ve closed any ground on Texas, they might get serious about making a move before the July 31 non-waiver Deadline. But giving up prime young talent for an athlete who might help doesn’t make sense. If they fall deeper in the muck, it might be wise to write this off as the year Kendry Morales went down in a bizarre spill – and took the Angels with him. – Lyle Spencer

4 Comments

I agree, big 2 weeks coming up…6 games against Texas. Then they play them 7 more times after the trade deadline in Sep-Oct. If the Angels hold their ground or gain a little, I’m hoping for a move from the Angels. I’m liking the Adam Dunn option now (too bad we can’t get him prior to facing Texas). That would be a nice power bat along side Tori, Matsui & Nap. I like how Izzy bounced back today after being on the DL. So he can perhaps fill in at 3rd the rest of the way. Not sure what the Nats would ask in return. But I wouldn’t mind moving Jeff Mathis and a prospect. Make Nap the everyday catcher…we need his power in the lineup everyday. But I think with Mcnaulty and Aldridge struggling when recently brought up may have hurt their trading prospects (hard to move either one of them now). What do you think? Anyway, hoping the Angels can do it this next couple of weeks!

Disagree with you about Callaspo, Mr. Spencer, and you might be contradicting Mike Scioscia there. Izzy’s DL trips makes him a risk, Frandsen’s a waiver wire stop-gap pick up, and they can’t sacrifice Brandon Wood’s development at this stage any longer if they’re going for it. Scioscia spoke highly of Callaspo before Stoneman traded him for Jason Bulger in 2006, and he’s developed into quite a hidden potent hitter that many, including yourself, overlook.

Add this 27 year old to the Halos lineup hitting along the same line as Howard Kendrick and the Halos could end up preferring him for the long haul.

I have been looking at this stretch of games ever since late May. This is a make or break stretch of games without a doubt. Yankees, @Tex, Boston, Tex. If we don’t come out on the plus side of this stretch, the season is over. PERIOD. We know Texas has a history of fading in the 2nd half, but I just don’t see it. As usual, their hitting lineup is monstrous…but now the pitching is there. Even before they got Cliff Lee, they looked solid. The next 7 head to head games will be crucial. The Angels need to go 5-2 in these games to realistically have a chance to catch them down the stretch. Even if they do well vs Texas, I still think they need to make a move to fortify the lineup. I keep thinking that if Seattle was willing to trade Lee to Texas…why couldn’t the Angels come up with something attractive for Lee?

I agree that these two weeks are BIG. If they hold their own or gain ground then the Angels should go with what they got. There is nothing out there offensely that they could use. Dunn is basically a DH type and from what I have read the Angels would have to give up premo talent for him.
If they fall back further, then they should play Wood at third the rest of the season to find out if he is the real deal or just a 3A wantabe, give Trumbo a shot a first and put Sean O or Bell or both in the rotation for the rest of the season.
Reason: The Angel farm system from 3A to 1A is NOT deep in talent. Case in point: 3A there is Conger and Trumbo. 2A Reckling and he was demoted. They’re no Salmons, Erstads,Glauss,Lackeys or Frankies in their farm system that is one or two years away sorry to say. That’s why they need to find out if Wood, Bell,and O’Sullivan are the real deal and if not face the fact that they need to acquire them from another team.
Fact is since 2002 the only players the farm has produced is Aybar, Kendricks, Morales, Nap, Mathis, Weaver, Saunders, Santana and Jettson. And there isn’t much left.

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