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Inbox: How will Halos approach Trade Deadline?

Beat reporter Maria Guardado answers questions from fans
MLB.com @mi_guardado

With the Trade Deadline approaching, what are the Angels looking to do? Are they more toward buyers or sellers?
-- Josh A., Riverside, Calif.

It'd be tough to peg the Angels as buyers right now since they're 11 games behind the Mariners for the second American League Wild Card spot. While their outlook appears quite bleak -- they have a 2.4 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to FanGraphs -- they are scheduled to face the Mariners six times in Anaheim this month, which will give them an opportunity to chip away at the deficit. But even if the Angels win both series, the first of which begins Tuesday, they'll also have to contend with the A's, who are 4 1/2 games ahead of them in the standings.

With the Trade Deadline approaching, what are the Angels looking to do? Are they more toward buyers or sellers?
-- Josh A., Riverside, Calif.

It'd be tough to peg the Angels as buyers right now since they're 11 games behind the Mariners for the second American League Wild Card spot. While their outlook appears quite bleak -- they have a 2.4 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to FanGraphs -- they are scheduled to face the Mariners six times in Anaheim this month, which will give them an opportunity to chip away at the deficit. But even if the Angels win both series, the first of which begins Tuesday, they'll also have to contend with the A's, who are 4 1/2 games ahead of them in the standings.

General manager Billy Eppler is unlikely to settle on a definitive direction until he sees how these next three weeks unfold. The Angels could sell if they fall too far behind in the Wild Card race, but they don't have a ton of assets to peddle to other teams. Their pending free agents are Garrett Richards, Martin Maldonado, Luis Valbuena (mutual option for 2019), Ian Kinsler, Jim Johnson and Chris Young.

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The most intriguing trade chip would be Richards, who returned from the disabled list last week and could bolster his value if he continues to pitch well this month. The trade market for starting pitchers is relatively thin this year, so Richards could net a significant return if the Angels decide to move him. Maldonado could also attract interest from teams in search of catching help.

Tweet from @sporty_utah: Is Ohtani���s elbow injury affecting him at the plate?

I don't think the Angels would have activated Shohei Ohtani off the disabled list if they thought his elbow injury would interfere with his ability to hit. Ohtani is only 3-for-17 (.176) since coming off the DL, but I think that's more because he's still trying to find his timing at the plate after being sidelined for a month. His game-winning pinch-hit home run against the Dodgers on Sunday was an encouraging sign, though.

Tweet from @Lucid_mate: Will we let go of Scioscia this year?

Mike Scioscia is the final year of his contract, so there could be change coming in the managerial seat for the Angels. I don't expect that situation to resolve itself until the end of the season, however.

Tweet from @IzThisYours: What���s the status and timetable for pitchers on the dL? And any unsigned free agents being looked at?

The Angels have 10 pitchers on the disabled list, so bear with me. Tyler Skaggs (right adductor strain) threw a bullpen session on Sunday and will likely return to pitch against the Mariners on Thursday. Nick Tropeano (right shoulder inflammation) made a rehab start on Saturday and is scheduled to throw a bullpen on Tuesday, so he could also rejoin the rotation this week. Johnson (lumbar strain) started a rehab assignment Sunday and is also inching closer to a return.

Matt Shoemaker (right forearm strain) is slated to begin a throwing progression on Tuesday and will require several weeks to build up his arm, but he could return to pitch in August if all goes well. The other six pitchers -- JC Ramirez, Keynan Middleton, Blake Wood, Jake Jewell, John Lamb and Alex Meyer -- are out with season-ending injuries.

Tweet from @cuscus85: What top prospects do you see being called up by the end of the season? Ward, Thaiss, Rengifo, Adell, Suarez and Canning all seem like call-up candidates.

Taylor Ward, Matt Thaiss and Jose Suarez seem like solid bets for a September callup since they're playing at Triple-A Salt Lake right now. Griffin Canning, who is also on the Triple-A roster, is another candidate, though the Angels might prefer to shut him down at the end of the year since it's his first professional season. Luis Rengifo and Jo Adell are having impressive years, but they're at Double-A Mobile and Class A Advanced Inland Empire, respectively, so they'll need more seasoning before they're considered for a Major League callup.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels