Dipoto signing players to long-term deals

Jerry Dipoto certainly hasn’t been afraid to spend Angels owner Arte Moreno’s money.

Since becoming the Angels general manager in November, Dipoto has signed first baseman Albert Pujols and lefty C.J. Wilson to long-term contracts as free agents and negotiated contract extensions with second baseman Howie Kendrick and shortstop Erick Aybar.

The splurge has locked the Angels into a core group of players for the next few years — but also sacrificed some payroll flexibility.

The Angels, who beat Baltimore 6-3 Friday night, now have $87.25 million committed to seven players for 2013. Three others (righties Ervin Santana and Dan Haren and catcher Chris Iannetta) have options in their current contracts that could be exercised for 2013, taking the total to just over $120 million for 10 players next season.

The backloaded nature of the contracts signed by Pujols and Wilson will also impact the Angels’ payrolls beyond 2013. The team already has $93.85 million committed to six players in 2014, $78 million to five players in 2015 and even $73.5 million to four players (Pujols, Wilson, Aybar and Jered Weaver) in 2016.

“Flexibility is a year-to-year, day-to-day challenge,” Dipoto said. “What it will do is put an onus on our scouting and player development systems to develop more players to add to our major-league roster to create the flexibility we need both in the payroll and the 25-man roster.

“We have the ability now to focus on scouting and player development. … focus on building from the grass roots of the organization. The easiest way you’re going to create flexibility, and both forms of flexibility, is to build from within. You have to do it.”

RHP Jordan Walden pitched a scoreless ninth in Friday’s 6-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles to pick up his first save of the season (in his first save opportunity). The Angels are the last team in the American League to pick up a save this season…IF Mark Trumbo made his first career start in left field Friday night. Trumbo made one start in right field during his September call-up in 2010, but had played just two innings as a late-game defensive replacement in left field (and one start there in Triple-A during the 2010 season). Trumbo has made three starts at third base (only one since making three errors in the first weekend of the season), three at DH and now one in left field this season…RHP Rich Thompson was claimed off waivers by the Oakland A’s. Thompson was designated for assignment by the Angels a week ago. Thompson, 27, made two appearances for the Angels this season, allowing four runs on five hits in 2 1/3 innings. Over parts of six seasons with the Angels, Thompson had a 3-4 record with a 4.24 ERA in 81 appearances…RHP Bobby Cassevah has moved his rehab assignment to Triple-A Salt Lake after making five appearances for Class-A Inland Empire and allowing just one run on four hits in five innings. After a couple outings in Triple-A, Cassevah could be activated from the DL and join the Angels bullpen…2B Howie Kendrick was 3-for-5 with two doubles, three RBI and a run scored in Friday’s victory. It was Kendrick’s fourth three-hit game this season. He is one of four MLB players with four three-hit games already this season…The Angels have won the first game in a series (including Friday’s win over the Orioles) four times, but they have yet to win a series this season.