ARLINGTON, Texas — Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto addressed a wide range of topics before Thursday night’s 6-5 walk-off loss to the Texas Rangers, but he wouldn’t touch the one that is foremost on everyone’s mind: his job status.
“I’m not going to get into it,” said Dipoto, the subject of heavy speculation since early August when the Angels, who opened the season with World Series aspirations, fell out of playoff contention. “I don’t want to have this conversation.”
Owner Arte Moreno is expected to determine the fates of Dipoto, who has one year left on his three-year contract, and Manager Mike Scioscia, who has five years and about $27 million left on his deal, early next week.
There is a sense inside and outside the organization that Dipoto is more vulnerable than Scioscia, but the possibility of both remaining appears to be gaining some momentum.
Until a decision is made, it’s business as usual for Dipoto, who brought his front-office team to Texas, plans to travel to Arizona next week for instructional league and is scheduled to meet with scouts later in October.
He’s also formulating ideas on bolstering the team’s rotation while remaining under next year’s $189-million luxury-tax threshold, a challenge that will lead the Angels toward payroll-shedding trades and away from high-priced free agents.
For luxury-tax purposes, the Angels have $131 million committed to 10 players for 2014. Add $25 million or so for arbitration-eligible players, $10 million or so for players with less than three years’ service, and benefits and bonuses, and the Angels could approach $189 million by making a one-year, $14-million qualifying offer to left-hander Jason Vargas, a free agent they’d like to retain.
Their most valuable trade chips will be second baseman Howie Kendrick, who is averaging $8.4 million a year, and first baseman Mark Trumbo, who could make $6 million in arbitration next season.
“We need young, controllable starting pitching — guys who, when something goes wrong at the major league level, can step in and guys you can build with,” Dipoto said. “It’s gold in the game.”
Jurickson Profar led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a pinch-hit homer to right field off reliever Michael Kohn on Thursday night, giving the Rangers four straight wins over the Angels in Texas on walk-off homers. They won all three games of a late July series against the Angels in similar fashion.
“I don’t like this place too much,” said Kohn, who was burned for one of those homers on July 31. “It’s definitely weird. I personally haven’t made pitches here, and I’ve gotten beat every time I’ve done that.”
The Rangers overcame a franchise-record four errors in a three-run second inning, including two on one play by second baseman Ian Kinsler, to remain one game behind Cleveland for the second wild-card spot with three games left.
Leonys Martin’s two-out, two-run double off Cory Rasmus in the sixth gave Texas a 5-4 lead, but Kole Calhoun tripled in the seventh and scored the tying run on Trumbo’s single, the slugger’s 100th run batted in this season. Trumbo snapped an 0-for-25 slump with three singles in five at-bats.
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Left fielder J.B. Shuck left the game in the fifth inning because of a right ankle sprain. ... Mike Trout has reached base 304 times, breaking Rickey Henderson’s record of 301 by a player in his age-21 season.
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