Dipoto preaches patience with Angels' struggling offense

Dipoto preaches patience with Angels' struggling offense

OAKLAND -- Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto isn't ready to push the proverbial panic button on his ailing offense, which entered Wednesday ranked 22nd in the Majors in runs and 25th in OPS.

"These guys are professionals. They've got track records. They're all in their prime years. None of them is coming off some absurd decline that suggests this is the next step towards something worse," Dipoto said in a phone conversation. "Honestly, I think it's just that a bunch of guys went cold at the same time. We've played 20 games."

Teams typically wait until June or July to make trades, and the Angels are expected to do the same. Eventually, they'll probably seek an upgrade in left field, which would allow the left-handed-hitting Matt Joyce and the right-handed-hitting C.J. Cron to platoon at designated hitter -- the plan before Josh Hamilton had a drug relapse and was ultimately traded to the Rangers.

And they'll have the financial flexibility to be aggressive.

The Angels opened the season roughly $12 million below the luxury-tax threshold, which has basically acted as their spending limit the last few years. Now, after saving about $20 million on Hamilton's contract over the next three years, they're more than $15 million below.

"This is just not a time of year when you can add offense," Dipoto said. "It's not readily available to you."

The Angels scored three runs or fewer in 12 of their first 20 games and five of their regulars -- Chris Iannetta, Albert Pujols, Erick Aybar, David Freese and Joyce -- entered Wednesday with batting averages of .218 or below. But Dipoto preached patience, pointing out how well almost all of the everyday players performed throughout Spring Training.

"I'm certainly not ready to hit the panic button," Dipoto said of an offense that led the Majors in runs last season. "This is a good team. It's a good offense, and I believe they will turn it around. League-wise, it's been generally hard to score runs."

• Hamilton told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram he wasn't aware of the comments made by Angels manager Mike Scioscia on Tuesday, saying: "I'd like to keep it that way so I don't have to respond. I don't have to respond anyway. It doesn't matter what he said. It's of no importance. I'm not there anymore. I'm here, and I'll try to do my responding the best way on the field against them."

• Scioscia has previously helped some of his struggling starters, like Ervin Santana and Scott Kazmir, by throwing them only five innings. The idea is that they can go harder and shorten their repertoire if they only have to worry about getting 18 outs. Asked whether he would consider doing that with Jered Weaver, who's 0-3 with a 5.83 ERA, Scioscia said: "We would consider that, but we haven't made any determinations yet."

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.