Arte Moreno has made this principle clear: Under his ownership, the Angels will not trade top prospects for rental players.
But what if the Angels could obtain a rental player by trading a major leaguer, not a top prospect?
"It's unlikely," General Manager Tony Reagins said Wednesday. "We would look at it and see if it helps us, and if there's the potential to extend the player."
If Atlanta decides to trade first baseman Mark Teixeira, the Angels could offer first baseman Casey Kotchman and lower-level prospects. In the unlikely event the Braves would not get a better offer and would consider such a bid preferable to collecting two draft picks for Teixeira in free agency, the Angels could add a big bat by trading from the major league roster, without creating a hole at another position or in the minors.
But Teixeira is expected to seek a nine-figure contract in free agency rather than sign an extension with a team that might trade for him. And, for now, the Angels are not interested in trading Kotchman, 24.
The Braves have not conceded the season and have told other clubs, including the Angels, that Teixeira is not available right now.
The Colorado Rockies are among the teams interested in Nick Adenhart, the Angels' top pitching prospect, but he has done little to enhance his trade value in his recent performances.
Adenhart started Tuesday for triple-A Salt Lake, pitching four innings and giving up six runs, seven hits and five walks. His earned-run average by month: 0.87 in April, 7.02 in May, 8.49 in June, 9.78 in July.
In a 1-0 victory over the Dodgers on June 29, John Lackey threw 120 pitches, his highest pitch count in two seasons. In four starts since then, he has a 7.61 ERA and has given up 36 hits in 23 innings. He won Wednesday but gave up six runs in five innings.
"Pitchers are going to have stuff from time to time that is maybe not that crisp," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "I don't think it has anything to do with pitch count. He's easily able to carry that pitch count when he has to. His velocity is good."
In need of an extra reliever after the bullpen worked six innings behind Jered Weaver on Tuesday, the Angels recalled Jason Bulger from Salt Lake and returned infielder Sean Rodriguez to Salt Lake. Bulger had an 0.62 ERA at Salt Lake, with 50 strikeouts in 29 innings.
Weaver had "some soreness" but is expected to make his next start, Scioscia said. Weaver was limited to three innings Tuesday because of upper-back tightness. . . . Preston Gomez, 85, the Angels' special assistant to the general manager, moved back into his Chino home this month for the first time since suffering a fractured skull in March, when he was hit by a car. Gomez is continuing rehabilitation at home.