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Dipoto signing players to long-term deals

The Sports Xchange

Jerry Dipoto certainly hasn't been afraid to spend Angels owner Arte Moreno's money.

Since becoming the Angels general manager in November, Dipoto has signed first baseman Albert Pujols and lefty C.J. Wilson to long-term contracts as free agents and negotiated contract extensions with second baseman Howie Kendrick and shortstop Erick Aybar. The splurge has locked the Angels into a core group of players for the next few years -- but also sacrificed some payroll flexibility.

The Angels, who beat Baltimore 6-3 Friday night, now have $87.25 million committed to seven players for 2013. Three others (righties Ervin Santana and Dan Haren and catcher Chris Iannetta) have options in their current contracts that could be exercised for 2013, taking the total to just over $120 million for 10 players next season.

The backloaded nature of the contracts signed by Pujols and Wilson will also impact the Angels' payrolls beyond 2013. The team already has $93.85 million committed to six players in 2014, $78 million to five players in 2015 and even $73.5 million to four players (Pujols, Wilson, Aybar and Jered Weaver) in 2016.

"Flexibility is a year-to-year, day-to-day challenge," Dipoto said. "What it will do is put an onus on our scouting and player development systems to develop more players to add to our major-league roster to create the flexibility we need both in the payroll and the 25-man roster.

"We have the ability now to focus on scouting and player development. ... focus on building from the grass roots of the organization. The easiest way you're going to create flexibility, and both forms of flexibility, is to build from within. You have to do it."

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