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Billy Eppler and the Impossible Mission Force.


Dochalo

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Eppler's to do list when he took over.....

- Make nice with Scioscia and Arte 

- Build a contender

- Restore payroll flexibility

- Rebuild farm system

- Reestablish international presence.

If you asked me three years ago how long it would take to accomplish all five of these, I'd have said five years minimum. More like six-to-eight.

Billy Eppler has done it in three, and he's met every challenge with creativity.

- Starting pitchers all injured and ineffective? Sign relievers having a hard time that pitched in the rotation in the minor leagues and turn them into successful pitchers.

- Need a return on a non-valuable entity like Hector Santiago? Fine, take on a bad contract in Nolasco and an injured former top prospect that you can turn into a front of the rotation starter in Alex Meyer (before injury).

- No presence in the Dominican Republic? No problem, dominate the Bahamas and Panama, and draft heavily straight from Puerto Rico.

- Use the most unique offseason circumstance EVER to come away with Kevin Maitan AND Shohei Ohtani on a limited budget.

- Improve the pitching staff? Build an elite defensive unit.

- Need middle of the order bat? Trade for one post trade deadline for high floor prospects to a rebuilding team, then sign him to an extension while selling the idea of playing alongside Trout for years.

- Need to infuse elite prospects into broken system while not drafting at the top of the draft? Pick prep players with a shorter track record but upside to go 1-1 (Adell and Adams) then use the second round to pick players with first round upside but were overlooked (Marsh, Canning and Jackson).

Billy Eppler is the best GM I've ever seen.

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1 hour ago, Dochalo said:

But jog your memory back to mid 2015 through early 2016.  Did you ever imagine this team would be a playoff contender with a good and improving farm system and be on the actual upswing as a franchise by 2018?  Not everything Eppler and company does is going to be perfect.  But to date, Billy  and the Halo IMF have done the impossible.  

 

 

 

That right there speaks volumes.  I did not expect it as did many others.  When you sit back and look at it... yeah we are not perfect, but things are looking way better then they were just a few years ago.

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2 minutes ago, Scotty@AW said:

Eppler's to do list when he took over.....

- Make nice with Scioscia and Arte 

- Build a contender

- Restore payroll flexibility

- Rebuild farm system

- Reestablish international presence.

If you asked me three years ago how long it would take to accomplish all five of these, I'd have said five years minimum. More like six-to-eight.

Billy Eppler has done it in three, and he's met every challenge with creativity.

- Starting pitchers all injured and ineffective? Sign relievers having a hard time that pitched in the rotation in the minor leagues and turn them into successful pitchers.

- Need a return on a non-valuable entity like Hector Santiago? Fine, take on a bad contract in Nolasco and an injured former top prospect that you can turn into a front of the rotation starter in Alex Meyer (before injury).

- No presence in the Dominican Republic? No problem, dominate the Bahamas and Panama, and draft heavily straight from Puerto Rico.

- Use the most unique offseason circumstance EVER to come away with Kevin Maitan AND Shohei Ohtani on a limited budget.

- Improve the pitching staff? Build an elite defensive unit.

- Need middle of the order bat? Trade for one post trade deadline for high floor prospects to a rebuilding team, then sign him to an extension while selling the idea of playing alongside Trout for years.

- Need to infuse elite prospects into broken system while not drafting at the top of the draft? Pick prep players with a shorter track record but upside to go 1-1 (Adell and Adams) then use the second round to pick players with first round upside but were overlooked (Marsh, Canning and Jackson).

Billy Eppler is the best GM I've ever seen.

Nice post Scotty.  

Billy is very very good.  Tough to say he's the best I've ever seen.  There's a lot of stuff we are giving him credit for that still needs to pan out into major league wins.  But so far so good.  My one nit right now is that he's gone out on a limb for players at the major league level because of defense.  Simmons was a home run.  Espinosa, Cozart and Kinsler have pretty much bombed so far although they haven't been major commitments.  I think Kinsler will be ok by years end.  

The Valbuena add was odd to me.  I liked it at the time but it didn't seem very Eppler-like.  Almost as if him being available that late in the off season pushed him into making a potential value move.  

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Great post, @Dochalo. It really is rather remarkable how Billy has turned the entire franchise around so quickly. He also tends to hit more than miss in terms of acquisitions. 

He does seem to have misread Cozart's so-called breakout; it reminds me a bit of Stoneman and GMJr, when the numbers clearly said "fluke" but the GM hoped they were getting a steal of a deal. Cozart's contract isn't nearly so bad, but he does seem like he's going to spend a good chunk of it as a very expensive utility player. 

But I'll take a misread now and again if he keeps doing what he's doing: not only improving the franchise from top to bottom but, best of all, doing so without giving up too many crucial pieces. Newcomb is a loss but worth it.

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on the subject of long posts, doc is one of the few posters here that I take the time to read. Off the top of my head, I would include @Inside Pitch @John Taylor @Hubs and @DowningRules 

if I haven't mentioned you it's because either my memory failed me, or more likely, you're just a windbag. 

 

ps I miss HaloThunder 

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3 minutes ago, Lou said:

on the subject of long posts, doc is one of the few posters here that I take the time to read. Off the top of my head, I would include @Inside Pitch @John Taylor @Hubs and @DowningRules 

if I haven't mentioned you it's because either my memory failed me, or more likely, you're just a windbag. 

I'm just not capable of striking together coherent thoughts beyond 100 12 5 words.

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23 minutes ago, Lou said:

on the subject of long posts, doc is one of the few posters here that I take the time to read. Off the top of my head, I would include @Inside Pitch @John Taylor @Hubs and @DowningRules 

if I haven't mentioned you it's because either my memory failed me, or more likely, you're just a windbag. 

 

ps I miss HaloThunder 

um.... @ettin beats them all. Yep, even Hubs long posts. :) 

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1 hour ago, Angelsjunky said:

Great post, @Dochalo. It really is rather remarkable how Billy has turned the entire franchise around so quickly. He also tends to hit more than miss in terms of acquisitions. 

He does seem to have misread Cozart's so-called breakout; it reminds me a bit of Stoneman and GMJr, when the numbers clearly said "fluke" but the GM hoped they were getting a steal of a deal. Cozart's contract isn't nearly so bad, but he does seem like he's going to spend a good chunk of it as a very expensive utility player. 

But I'll take a misread now and again if he keeps doing what he's doing: not only improving the franchise from top to bottom but, best of all, doing so without giving up too many crucial pieces. Newcomb is a loss but worth it.

Astute comp with Cozart and GMJ.  Both had a fluky season right before FA, both were supposed to be pretty good defenders which minimizes the risk. 

To be fair to GMJ, I'd still take his overall numbers from his first season with the Angels.  .252 18 HR and 18 SB.  If Cozart pulls that off I'd be happy. 

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4 hours ago, Dochalo said:

Fueled by the annoyance of last night's loss, I was on a mission to point out Eppler's and Co.'s failure in regard to acquiring several under performing players over the last couple of off season.  In particular, the most recent.  What I found was an important reminder which is to consider the starting point and the body of work since.  

The halos had come off the 2011 season with a winning record yet they had clearly lost faith in Tony Reagins to the point that most speculated him as a mere figurehead with Scioscia and Arte involved in quite a bit of the duties normally taken on by a general manager.  The truth or accuracy of which is only relevant to the point that it led to the hiring of Jerry Dipoto.   But the stage was set for having an atypical dynamic between owner, gm and manager.  Jerry said all the right things and looked good doing so.  But behind the scenes it was a much different story.  He was very aggressive in his approach of gearing all resources toward the major league club.  While the lack of harmony in the front office wasn't all his fault, his method was like gas on an already smoldering fire.   Which is ironic considering that he burned the Angels farm system to the ground as well.  So when all the fires got out of control, he grabbed his flame thrower and walked right out the front door mid season and 30 days before the trade deadline leaving the halos to finish 31-37 and 1 gb of the WC as well as 3 gb of the division.  

On Oct 4th, 2015, the halos hired Billy Eppler.  I feel like Arte was the 'bad deal' direct tv guy and Eppler was the guy answering the door.  

'Can I interest you in being the GM of the mediocre Los Angeles Angels?'    No

'Ok, Ok.  You want me to sweeten the deal?  That sweetener is a broken front office dynamic and you can't bring in your own manager.'   That's a bad deal. 

'Oh, we got a haggler.  I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm gonna give you the worst farm system in baseball with an international signing lockout and zero payroll flexibility to work with.'   That's not a good thing man!  Do you see that everything you are saying is worse than before?  

'What I see is someone that wants to play hardball.  Ok.  Batter up.  I'll give you a broken down former superstar that makes $25mil per year that has to bat in the middle of the lineup, an ace who throws a fastball 84 mph, an offense that finished 21st in baseball last year, a terrible bullpen, and in less than 6 months, pretty much every pitcher worth anything on the roster will be injured and out for over a year. Oh, and the team has the remain competitive.  But that's my final offer. '

'Shut the door in my face trick huh?  We have Mike Trout!'  

And the door opens back up.  'Fine.  I'll take the job'.  

Let's all be very honest.  This franchise was circling the drain less than two and a half years ago.  

Here is what Keith Law said shortly before the start of the 2016 season:

I've been doing these rankings for eight years now, and this is by far the worst system I've ever seen. They traded their top two prospects in the Andrelton Simmons deal and had no one remotely close to top-100 status. They need a big draft this year to start to restock the system or we're going to start talking about whether it's time to trade Mike Trout.

So that's how his mission started.  

His first order of business was to hold hands and sing Kumbaya with Scioscia.  

Next, he traded for Simmons.  A controversial deal from both sides.  But he's become one of the top 10 most valuable players in baseball.  

Then the entire pitching staff fell apart.  Richards out.  Heaney out.  Trop out.  Skaggs couldn't come back.  CJ Wilson done.  Huston Street done.  Rafael Ortega led the team in LF at bats.  Giavotella at 2b.  Made some small moves like grabbing the serviceable Yunel Escobar and Jefry Marte.  Claimed JC Ramirez.  Got Nolasco and Meyer at the trade deadline.  But importantly, had a very good draft.  

At the start of year two, still hampered by payroll restrictions (189mil in 2016, 176mil in 2017), he grabbed Blake Parker off waivers.  Shortly after, he got Cam Maybin for Victor Alcantara.  Signed Jesse Chavez, Traded for Martin Maldonado, Signed Ben Revere, Traded for Espinosa, Signed Bud Norris and Yusmeiro Petit.  Grabbed Luis Valbuena.  So lots of minor move again.  Almost all for expiring players due to a lack of payroll.  Again, another good draft with Adell and Canning as well as a leap back on to the international scene with Deveaux and Knowles.  Got some good mileage out of Bridwell.  Got some time out of David Hernandez and turned him into minor league depth piece.  Grabbed Noe Ramirez mid year.  Then, of course, shored up LF for the first time in a long time.  

Before and in year 3 he locked up Upton, grabbed Ohtani, Cozart and Kinsler.   Got Rengifo for Cron.  Signed JMF and Rivera.  Let a lot of pen arms get away due to understandable inflation.  Got some additional intl prospects in Maitan, Soto and a few others.  Had what many consider to be another good draft.  And that's where we stand.  At 37-30 in 3rd place and five games back in mid June.  

This exercise was important for me and I hope it was helpful to you as well.  We are currently a solid major league team with a real chance to make the playoffs.  We have a farm system now at least in the top half of the league and many of those players are actually do well in the upper levels on the verge of actually providing help at the major league level.  Should I repeat that?   Yes, Calhoun and Cozart have sucked.  We've sustained some injuries again and the pen is more than shaky.  We need Simmons back.  It would be great to get Ohtani back back as well but I won't hold my breath.  A pen arm or two is a must.  A few other things could stand to go right as well.  

But jog your memory back to mid 2015 through early 2016.  Did you ever imagine this team would be a playoff contender with a good and improving farm system and be on the actual upswing as a franchise by 2018?  Not everything Eppler and company does is going to be perfect.  But to date, Billy  and the Halo IMF have done the impossible.  

 

 

 

Thanks, but I can't read. Is there an audio version?

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6 hours ago, Dochalo said:

Fueled by the annoyance of last night's loss, I was on a mission to point out Eppler's and Co.'s failure in regard to acquiring several under performing players over the last couple of off season.  In particular, the most recent.  What I found was an important reminder which is to consider the starting point and the body of work since.  

The halos had come off the 2011 season with a winning record yet they had clearly lost faith in Tony Reagins to the point that most speculated him as a mere figurehead with Scioscia and Arte involved in quite a bit of the duties normally taken on by a general manager.  The truth or accuracy of which is only relevant to the point that it led to the hiring of Jerry Dipoto.   But the stage was set for having an atypical dynamic between owner, gm and manager.  Jerry said all the right things and looked good doing so.  But behind the scenes it was a much different story.  He was very aggressive in his approach of gearing all resources toward the major league club.  While the lack of harmony in the front office wasn't all his fault, his method was like gas on an already smoldering fire.   Which is ironic considering that he burned the Angels farm system to the ground as well.  So when all the fires got out of control, he grabbed his flame thrower and walked right out the front door mid season and 30 days before the trade deadline leaving the halos to finish 31-37 and 1 gb of the WC as well as 3 gb of the division.  

On Oct 4th, 2015, the halos hired Billy Eppler.  I feel like Arte was the 'bad deal' direct tv guy and Eppler was the guy answering the door.  

'Can I interest you in being the GM of the mediocre Los Angeles Angels?'    No

'Ok, Ok.  You want me to sweeten the deal?  That sweetener is a broken front office dynamic and you can't bring in your own manager.'   That's a bad deal. 

'Oh, we got a haggler.  I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm gonna give you the worst farm system in baseball with an international signing lockout and zero payroll flexibility to work with.'   That's not a good thing man!  Do you see that everything you are saying is worse than before?  

'What I see is someone that wants to play hardball.  Ok.  Batter up.  I'll give you a broken down former superstar that makes $25mil per year that has to bat in the middle of the lineup, an ace who throws a fastball 84 mph, an offense that finished 21st in baseball last year, a terrible bullpen, and in less than 6 months, pretty much every pitcher worth anything on the roster will be injured and out for over a year. Oh, and the team has the remain competitive.  But that's my final offer. '

'Shut the door in my face trick huh?  We have Mike Trout!'  

And the door opens back up.  'Fine.  I'll take the job'.  

Let's all be very honest.  This franchise was circling the drain less than two and a half years ago.  

Here is what Keith Law said shortly before the start of the 2016 season:

I've been doing these rankings for eight years now, and this is by far the worst system I've ever seen. They traded their top two prospects in the Andrelton Simmons deal and had no one remotely close to top-100 status. They need a big draft this year to start to restock the system or we're going to start talking about whether it's time to trade Mike Trout.

So that's how his mission started.  

His first order of business was to hold hands and sing Kumbaya with Scioscia.  

Next, he traded for Simmons.  A controversial deal from both sides.  But he's become one of the top 10 most valuable players in baseball.  

Then the entire pitching staff fell apart.  Richards out.  Heaney out.  Trop out.  Skaggs couldn't come back.  CJ Wilson done.  Huston Street done.  Rafael Ortega led the team in LF at bats.  Giavotella at 2b.  Made some small moves like grabbing the serviceable Yunel Escobar and Jefry Marte.  Claimed JC Ramirez.  Got Nolasco and Meyer at the trade deadline.  But importantly, had a very good draft.  

At the start of year two, still hampered by payroll restrictions (189mil in 2016, 176mil in 2017), he grabbed Blake Parker off waivers.  Shortly after, he got Cam Maybin for Victor Alcantara.  Signed Jesse Chavez, Traded for Martin Maldonado, Signed Ben Revere, Traded for Espinosa, Signed Bud Norris and Yusmeiro Petit.  Grabbed Luis Valbuena.  So lots of minor move again.  Almost all for expiring players due to a lack of payroll.  Again, another good draft with Adell and Canning as well as a leap back on to the international scene with Deveaux and Knowles.  Got some good mileage out of Bridwell.  Got some time out of David Hernandez and turned him into minor league depth piece.  Grabbed Noe Ramirez mid year.  Then, of course, shored up LF for the first time in a long time.  

Before and in year 3 he locked up Upton, grabbed Ohtani, Cozart and Kinsler.   Got Rengifo for Cron.  Signed JMF and Rivera.  Let a lot of pen arms get away due to understandable inflation.  Got some additional intl prospects in Maitan, Soto and a few others.  Had what many consider to be another good draft.  And that's where we stand.  At 37-30 in 3rd place and five games back in mid June.  

This exercise was important for me and I hope it was helpful to you as well.  We are currently a solid major league team with a real chance to make the playoffs.  We have a farm system now at least in the top half of the league and many of those players are actually do well in the upper levels on the verge of actually providing help at the major league level.  Should I repeat that?   Yes, Calhoun and Cozart have sucked.  We've sustained some injuries again and the pen is more than shaky.  We need Simmons back.  It would be great to get Ohtani back back as well but I won't hold my breath.  A pen arm or two is a must.  A few other things could stand to go right as well.  

But jog your memory back to mid 2015 through early 2016.  Did you ever imagine this team would be a playoff contender with a good and improving farm system and be on the actual upswing as a franchise by 2018?  Not everything Eppler and company does is going to be perfect.  But to date, Billy  and the Halo IMF have done the impossible.  

 

 

 

I quoted this just to test your scrolling skills. 

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