Let’s face it, pretty much everything that could have gone wrong for the Angels went wrong this year: Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton have performed far below their career standards; the starting rotation and bullpen have been decimated by injuries; Peter Bourjos — whom many expected to be a major impact player this year — hasn’t stayed healthy; the defense has been absolutely atrocious. GM Jerry Dipoto can take solace in the fact that all of these areas should improve by themselves for the Angels next season, and can be chalked up to bad luck and bad timing.
Heading into the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, the Angels shouldn’t shy away from minor and mid-level acquisitions of opportunities that present themselves, but their main focus should be on shoring up a major organizational weakness that has nothing to do with Pujols’ plantar fasciitis or their other injuries; it’s the farm system.
In the pursuit of big-name targets such as Zack Greinke, the Angels traded away virtually all of their top Minor League prospects in the last few years. This has left their system barren and unable to adequately replace injured players. Baseball, though more forgiving with players’ longevity, is still a game of replacement like any other sport. Right now, the well of Minor League talent has run completely dry for the Halos.
So if I were Jerry Dipoto, I would look to make moves similar to Friday’s signings of Julio Concepcion and Andres Perez. These moves will not make a difference to the Halos’ success this season, or even next season, but it will allow them to slowly accumulate a pool of young, talented players, some of whom may provide quality contributions to the team while the Angels are still saddled with Pujols and Hamiltons’ weighty contracts.
As hard as it may be for fans to accept, it’s time to stop focusing on this season. The Angels need to build for the future, and that starts with this trade deadline.
Tony Baker is a Los Angeles Angels writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter at @tonloc_baker.