Angels pick up GM Jerry Dipoto’s option for 2015

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Last year at this time Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto was on the hot seat, but now with the team in first place and headed for a 15-20 game improvement owner Arte Moreno has picked up his 2015 option.

Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com reports that Dipoto actually got the news in July, but decided to keep things quiet. His contract also includes a team option for 2016, but that has not been picked up yet.

Dipoto took over for Tony Reagins in October of 2011 after previously serving as the Diamondbacks’ interim GM.  His big free agent signings (Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, C.J. Wilson) haven’t really worked out, but having Mike Trout–who was drafted in 2009–around makes up for a lot of that and the Angels have a 251-212 (.542) record under his control.

Report: Padres interested in Maikel Franco

Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals
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The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.

Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.

Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.