ARLINGTON -- The Angels' offseason pursuit of pitching may come down to one question: How confident are they in the production they'll receive from Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton moving forward?
Or, in other words: How willing are they to part ways with Mark Trumbo?
A few weeks before the non-waiver Trade Deadline, the Angels went to work on trying to swap offensive pieces in hopes of attaining the cost-controlled starting pitching they need and, as general manager Jerry Dipoto said, "is gold in this game." That work will continue in November, immediately after the World Series and the exclusive negotiating window.
The Angels don't have the payroll flexibility to add a big-time free agent, and they don't have the farm system to blow a team away with a package of prospects. What they do have is a surplus of offense, the type they're willing to part ways with if it gets them the right pitching. Second baseman Howie Kendrick, whose name was all over the rumor mill in July, is in play. So are guys like Erick Aybar, Peter Bourjos, J.B. Shuck and Kole Calhoun, and perhaps others.
But the one who holds the most value and can bring back the best pitcher may be Trumbo, the 27-year-old power hitter who's arbitration-eligible for the first time this offseason and has hit 95 homers and totaled 282 RBIs in his first three seasons.
Trumbo, however, is also valuable to the Angels, not only for his middle-of-the-order production but because of the insurance he provides by adequately filling in for Pujols at first base and Hamilton in the outfield corners.
In July, the Pirates, Mariners and Royals were among the teams interested in Trumbo, a source said -- and plenty more should be this winter.
"I think I've been included in trade talks for a while now," said Trumbo, whose name has been thrown around since Pujols was signed in December 2011. "You're always going to spend some time mulling over it. You can say that you don't care about it, but if it's a possibility, then it's a possibility. Maybe when you're a little younger you might get more worked up over something like that. But I'm going on 28 now, I've played for a few years now, and I don't think I'd fear change as much now as I would've when I was younger."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.