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Chalk Talk with Billy Eppler


TroutBaseball

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Today the Angels hosted an open house with a Q&A time with Billy Eppler. This was our first opportunity to publicly interact with Eppler.  The questions were preselected by Tim Mead and fortunately he mixed in some of the questions I wanted answers to.

 

Edit to clarify: I didn't submit any of these questions. They all came from season ticket holders who were allowed to submit their questions ahead of time.

 

The first question was Why did we trade our two best prospects for a position we didn't need filled? -  Looking at the free agent prospects for SS over the next 5 years there was no one better than back up level. We had to take the opportunity because it presented itself.  SS and C are the two most important positions on the field and I wanted to lock it down. Simmons is an example of me building around Mike Trout.

 

Here are the other questions that I can remember, I might mix some of them around just to supply the info he provided. I'm not going to give either the question of the answer with the exact words but I'll try to convey the general attitude.

 

Are you going to re-sign Weaver and then convert him to Closer after Street leaves? -   That presumes he'd be willing to switch to a different role and I for sure haven't talked to him about it.

 

What are the biggest impacts you've made on the club? -  Bringing in Simmons, setting up a Quantitative Analysis department headed by a physicist who used to work on missle defense, changing my office from "the General Manager" to "the office of General Manager" where decision are made in team and are never unilateral.

 

Are we going to stop putting in defensive substitutions late in the game and removing Giavotella's clutch hitting from the line up? That's up to Sosh, but I want to provide a diversity of tools for him to use so that he has what he needs in any late game decision.

 

Why didn't you sign Jason Heyward who is awesome in every way and now we're screwed without him?. -  I had many conversations with Heyward and we just couldn't make the financials work without putting the team in a bind in future years. Same goes for Upton, and Cespedes.

 

Are we going to spend more money internationally to redeem our woefully awful farm system? -  We can't spend more the $300K per player for the next two years and no more than $1.8 million per year.  We will for sure spend all that money, but I'd rather shop in the $100K- $400K range when talking about 16 year old Dominicans.  I'm not comfortable giving a kid several million dollars.

 

What analytics tool do you rely on most? I'm not telling. . . ever.  But I also rely on the new statcast metrics.  I also watch to see how quickly a batter relaxes his shoulders after the ball is released. It tells me how well he sees pitches and how comfortable he is.

 

Arte has betrayed the team and the fan base by not spending money any more. He expects you to win with nothing but secret sauce.  How are you going to win minus the use of secret sauce? -  We're going to use secret sauce and make better decisions than everyone else because we'll have more information.

 

[personal reaction: This is the most important question of the day.  Great, you've started a group of people to analyze statcast data, but you're by no means innovating here uniquely than any other team and we still don't trust Sosh to use any of this new  information when he wasn't even willing to use very traditional advanced scouting information. We're screwed]

 

Who is playing left field?We have 5 guys trying out and 6 weeks to decide.  All of them display quality defense, speed, and OBP. From 2003-2009 similar players kept beating us when I was at the Yankees and I want to get more of those types of players on the roster.

 

Are we going to trade a pitcher before the start of the season? -  It's technically possible but not very likely. We need all 8 guys to figure out our best strengths.  Some of them will be move to the bullpen.

 

Is fan reaction a factor when trading away a player? Yes but everyone prefers winning to loyalty.

 

Other info: Ward has the best offensive potential in the farm system of anyone else (a catcher, yikes!). Kowart and Kubitza came to camp early to work out at 2B.  It's still an open position.

Edited by TroutBaseball
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There is some fun stuff here.  I, too, am surprised that Eppler thinks he's bringing a level of analysis to the table that no one else is.  Pretty arrogant to think that considering the amount of money and effort poured into this realm by pretty much every team.  

 

I hope he's right of course.

 

I can't figure Eppler out as of yet.  Sometimes I get an uber confident vibe where I want to believe, and other times I get the feeling that he wants to be one of the cool kids but never will be.  

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Why didn't you sign Jason Heyward who is awesome in every way and now we're screwed without him?. -  I had many conversations with Heyward and we just couldn't make the financials work without putting the team in a bind in future years. Same goes for Upton, and Cespedes.

 

That's true with or without Heyward. Thanks, Arte, for locking up Pujols for the rest of his life.

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Just an FYI to Billy and Arte.  

 

Ian Desmond is a free agent and could have been signed for 4/60 at most.  He's not a backup SS.  You sign him and trade Aybar for prospects and you still have Newcomb, Ellis as well as whatever you get for Aybar, and you are spending about 3-4 mil more per year than you are for Simmons.  

 

Desmond averaged 4.5 WAR before 2015 where he freely admitted he was worried about doing well to get a good contract.  Even still, he had a 1.7 WAR season.  

 

Not saying that Desmond would be better than Simmons in 3-4 years, but you aren't giving up any prospects to get him.  

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Arte has betrayed the team and the fan base by not spending money any more. He expects you to win with nothing but secret sauce.  How are you going to win minus the use of secret sauce?

 

 

Why do you have to ask that question in such a prick style? Why not just ask if Arte has drawn a line in the budget sand? You do realize we have one of the largest payrolls right? I hardly see that as betraying the fanbase. 

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TB, you altered each of those questions and it makes you sound really shitty. For example, the question about not using defensive replacements. It's not only the waste of a question but it's a shitty strategy to leave bad defensive players in close games late.

 

I didn't ask the questions.

 

I agree. This particular question was a really bad question. I wouldn't have asked it but someone else did and Tim Mead chose to pass it on to Eppler.  In this particular case I didn't really skew the question or the answer.  That was pretty much what was asked and how he answered.

 

Are we going to stop putting in defensive substitutions late in the game and removing Giavotella's clutch hitting from the line up? -  That's up to Sosh, but I want to provide a diversity of tools for him to use so that he has what he needs in any late game decision.

Edited by TroutBaseball
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to clarify: I didn't submit any of these questions. They all came from season ticket holders who were allowed to submit their questions ahead of time. I recapped from memory and telescoped the questions and answers so you could get a general sense of the tone of each question without the 5-10 minutes that were devoted to each one.

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to clarify: I didn't submit any of these questions. They all came from season ticket holders who were allowed to submit their questions ahead of time. I recapped from memory and telescoped the questions and answers so you could get a general sense of the tone of each question without the 5-10 minutes that were devoted to each one.

 

Don't bother, dude. Many on AW think they are Bob Woodward

 

You already explained yourself. And if they didn't understand then they could have simply asked you to clarify instead dumping their sh!tty pent up emotions onto you. 

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