ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Oakland Athletics were the team that truly brought the July 4th fireworks when they pulled off a blockbuster trade for two of the best starting pitchers in baseball Friday night. Early Saturday morning, their AL West Division rival in the Los Angeles Angels made a move themselves, though not nearly one as big or shrewd as the one made in Oakland.
The Angels bolstered their bullpen, an area they have been looking to improve, when they sent two minor leaguers to the Arizona Diamondbacks for lefty reliever Joe Thatcher and outfielder Tony Campana. A good deal, yes, but in comparison to the A’s trade it left some wondering why the Angels, still 3.5 games back in the standings, didn’t make a bigger deal to counter?
Angels’ general manager Jerry Dipoto said this move was far from a countering move. In their current state, the Angels look formidable enough to catch up to the A’s.
"It’s not necessarily an answer," Dipoto said. "It’s very hard in this league when you have a good team on the field, and I think we have a good team right now, it’s very hard to upgrade."
Dipoto spoke to reporters in the Angel Stadium dugout Saturday afternoon and said the timelines of the two trades were similar. He completed the deal Friday afternoon, much like his Oakland counterpart Billy Beane, but all live games that involved the players dealt needed to be completed.
When all was said and done, Dipoto was happy with his proceedings, and surprised at those of the A’s.
"My initial reaction, just like I’m sure was every other person in baseball or fans’ was ‘Wow’," Dipoto said. "I’m sure they’re thrilled, they’re an excellent team and they’re the team everyone is trying to catch and have been for three years. We’re just trying to control our own side.
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"I try as best I can to focus on us. We can only control what we can control and what we’ve identified and what we want to focus on is what we’ve been working toward and that’s to change the look of the bullpen a little bit and so far we’ve been able to accomplish that. If we can do any more we will, but we can’t worry about what the teams elsewhere are doing."
Manager Mike Scioscia is trying to do the same as well.
"My energy is our club, what we need to do and how we need to play," Scioscia said. "I really feel that we’ve made some strides to get better this week and hopefully you’re going to continue to see us grow as a team and that’s where my focus is."
For now, it looks as though Dipoto is done dealing. However, he did stress that contingency plans are sometimes necessary.
"We’re not anticipating making another move," DiPoto Said. "You can’t ever turn a blind eye, you’ve got these weeks leading into the trade deadline and then August and you have to be prepared and you have to stay attune to what the market is doing because you can’t prevent injury, you can’t prevent something that may fall off the tracks in the next couple of weeks that will force you to act."