Recently, we've heard some mixed responses on whether the Angels will be able to take on additional money this season. Back in mid-June, ESPN LA's Mark Saxon reported that Angels owner Arte Moreno had told GM Tony Reagins not to add any payroll during the rest of this season, but Reagins refuted that report while speaking with Jim Bowden on his Sirius XM radio show.
After winning seven of their last ten games, the Angels sit at 42-41 on the season, just two games back of first-place Texas, so it certainly makes sense that they'd look to improve the team going forward. MLB.com writer Jordan Garretson suggested that the Cubs' Carlos Pena could be an option, and this appears to be one of the most commonly mentioned names at the moment.
Pena, 33, probably offers more impact power potential than any other name on the market, but his inconsistency will likely scare away some teams. Through May 2 of this year, Pena had a .157/.286/.171 line. Since then, Pena has been one of the NL's best hitters, posting a .243/.368/.564 line with 17 homers in 54 games. For a guy that's still due slightly under $5 million this season, the Angels may not want to give up prospects to take a chance on getting stuck with the Pena that we saw in April.
Particularly given how current first baseman Mark Trumbo has played this season- while he doesn't get on base like Pena, his power plays at first base, and he's proven to be a solid defender. The Angels would have to believe that Trumbo can't maintain this run, and that Pena can maintain most of his hot streak and be an impact bat down the stretch for the club. At this point, I don't think that happens, but a cold streak from Trumbo could put Pena directly in their targets.
You'd have to imagine that the Cubs will begin selling soon given their record, and they have some pieces to watch- namely, Ryan Dempster, Kerry Wood, Jeff Baker and Pena. It seems unlikely at this point that they'll be able to move Carlos Zambrano or Alfonso Soriano at this point, and Aramis Ramirez has already stated his lack of interest in waiving his no-trade clause.