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Rumor Central: Angels seek more controllable pieces?

Bud Norris is one of three right-handed relievers who the Angels could trade at the July 31 deadline. Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels find themselves in a peculiar position as the July 31 trade deadline approaches. The team entered Sunday just four games back in the AL wild-card race with close to a dozen players headed into free agency on the 25-man roster.

Rumor CentralAmong those players nearing the end of their contracts are right-handed relievers Bud Norris, David Hernandez and Yusmeiro Petit. "All are making relatively low salaries and probably wouldn’t clear waivers next month, so if the Angels become sellers this month, it would probably behoove them to swap that trio before the deadline," writes Buster Olney in his blog.

Center fielder Cameron Maybin and third baseman Yunel Escobar are also named by Olney as possible trade assets. Maybin is making $9 million this year while slashing .238/.341/.370, and he could interest teams needing an outfielder with positional flexibility. Escobar is earning $7 million this season with a .287/.344/.413 slash line.

“If the Angels fall back, they could conduct a strategic sell-off to get more controllable pieces as they did a year ago,” notes Olney. Rival executives, according to Olney, believe that the Angels' play over the next week may determine if the team will buy or sell.

-- John Wilmhoff