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Dipoto not labeling Halos as Deadline approachs

Dipoto not labeling Halos as Deadline approachs

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DETROIT -- For the sake of water-cooler chatter and sheer convenience, the overwhelming preference is to lump teams into one of two categories heading into the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline -- "buyer" or "seller."

Second-year general manager Jerry Dipoto doesn't believe either term applies to his team.

"We are not a buyer, we are not a seller," Dipoto said. "We're the Angels, who are sitting here trying to win a game today. Our sense of urgency has to be today, tomorrow and every day."

Still, this is a team that went into the season with World Series expectations and is out of the playoff picture as the first half winds down. Heading into Wednesday's game against the Tigers, the Halos were nine games below .500, 10 games out of first place in the American League West and 8 1/2 back of the second AL Wild Card spot, with seven teams to jump.

Exactly five weeks remain until the Deadline, and how the Angels play up until then will determine whether they look to add to the roster (like pitching and bench help) or address a barren farm system (most likely by dangling pending free agents like Jason Vargas and Scott Downs).

But don't expect a major shakeup.

"I don't see drastic paths," Dipoto said. "We have a roster of veteran players, most of whom are under club control, a very talented offensive club, we've got a pitching staff that's evolving, some pending free agents, many others under club control. And we'll assess as we go."

Even if the Angels wanted to be sellers -- and they still believe they have the framework in place to continue fielding championship-contending teams, regardless of how the first 12 weeks have played out -- they likely can't be, with Albert Pujols (owed $212 over the following eight years) and Josh Hamilton ($106 million over the following four) on the payroll.

Asked if he'll reassess handing out large contracts in future offseasons, Dipoto said: "There's risk involved in every deal you do. The additions that we've made, we're glad we've made."

"We've had a disappointing first half, no doubt about it," he said. "Everybody here is frustrated by the performance to date. Our challenge is now to move forward, and like I said, we have an awful lot of talent in that clubhouse. I'm not going to sit here and assess future offseasons. 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."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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