Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto, right, says he thinks Josh Hamilton,… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)
DETROIT — At some point before the July 31 trade deadline, the Angels will have to assess their record and division deficit and determine whether to add a piece or two for a playoff push or pull the plug on the season and look to trade assets to contenders for prospects who could bolster their weak farm system.
General Manager Jerry Dipoto said he does not have a date or ballpark figure of a deficit in mind to make such a determination.
Nor is he sure he ever will, which is not surprising considering his struggling team, which enters Wednesday night’s game against the Detroit Tigers with a 34-43 record and 10-game deficit in the American League West, has been a tough read at times, showing flashes of promise but an inability to sustain much momentum.
“We are not a buyer, we are not a seller, we’re the Angels, and we’re sitting here trying to win a game today,” Dipoto said Wednesday in Comerica Park. “Our sense of urgency has to be today, tomorrow and every day. ... We’re here to put the best team we can on the field, and we’ll assess that as we go.”
Dipoto addressed a variety of other issues in a wide-ranging interview with reporters. Among the highlights:
Will Josh Hamilton’s struggles after signing a five-year, $125-million deal in December make the Angels, who signed Albert Pujols to a 10-year, $240-million deal the previous winter, more hesitant to give out nine-figure contracts to free agents in the future?
“There’s a risk in every deal you do,” Dipoto said. “The additions we’ve made, we’re glad we’ve made. ... I’m not going to sit here and assess future off-seasons. You don’t know what opportunities are going to be in front of you. At the time, you measure the risk and make the right decisions. There are no black and white answers in this game, or in life.”
How confident is Dipoto that Hamilton, who enters Wednesday with a .214 average, 10 homers and 26 runs batted in, can snap out of his season-long funk?
“The back of his baseball card says there’s a pretty good chance it will happen, so my confidence level is really good,” Dipoto said. “He’s had a lot to deal with in life, and if there’s a person in that clubhouse who knows how to battle adversity after a rough half-season on the baseball field, he’s the guy.”
What’s been the most frustrating part of this season?
“It’s a compilation of events, truthfully. We have not performed to our ability in a lot of different ways. … It’s the way we’ve run the bases, the way we’ve picked up the ball and thrown it over, the way we’ve pitched, the way we’ve executed offensively, and the inconsistencies. All those things, we have to get better at. We have a half-season to turn it around.”
Owner Arte Moreno told USA Today this week that negotiations with 21-year-old phenom Mike Trout on a multiyear contract have not begun. But should they soon?
“Mike has been a stud,” Dipoto said.
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