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The Offense


wopphil

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Some interesting facts:

- the team was 8th out of 15 AL teams in runs scored last season, and 8th in OPS. Mediocre by either metric.

- the team was 11th out of 15 AL teams in OPS out of the catcher and second base positions. These are positions that could use an upgrade.

But here is the killer:

- the team was 14th in OPS out of the first base position, and 15th in OPS out of third base and right field.

So the team occupied one of the bottom two ranks in 3 out of 8 positions where guys are expected to actually hit the ball. 

Offense for this team is a problem and ought not be ignored this offseason.  Pujols and Calhoun are huge holes in the lineup, and have been for the last two years. Someone who can play multiple positions and provide league average offense should be just as high of a priority as pitching. I sure hope Eppler doesn't ignore the position player roster.

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Eppler has been transparent about him prioritizing pitching over hitting.  I agree with you that we need to focus more on hitting because it seems like a greater future problem, but Eppler seems confident in the young players like Fletcher, Ward, Thaiss and Rengifo being able to step in and produce if necessary. 

Should be interesting to see if that happens.  AngelsWin is probably not going to be thrilled if David Fletcher or Taylor Ward are expected to hold down a position the whole year, or if Rengifo and Thaiss end up hitting .330 and in AAA and are still kept down in favor of Pujols and Cozart. 

---------

Yes past Scotty, the offender sucks indeed. 

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5 minutes ago, Second Base said:

Eppler has been transparent about him prioritizing pitching over hitting.  I agree with you that we need to focus more on hitting because it seems like a greater future problem, but Eppler seems confident in the young players like Fletcher, Ward, Thaiss and Rengifo being able to step in and produce if necessary. 

Should be interesting to see if that happens.  AngelsWin is probably not going to be thrilled if David Fletcher or Taylor Ward are expected to hold down a position the whole year, or if Rengifo and Thaiss end up hitting .330 and in AAA and are still kept down in favor of Pujols and Cozart. 

If Fletcher performs a whole season like he did in a small sample last season, I'd be happy enough with that. Gold Glove 2B and a decent (albeit, below average) bat. Value isn't limited to OPS.

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Cozart was hurt last year and Valbuena was terrible. Marte was terrible, and Ward while he looked good at times, wasn't quite ready to produce in the bigs at 3B, which he had not been playing in the minors prior to 2018.

I hope Fletcher, Ward, and Cozart (and Maybe Renfigo) do well at 2nd and 3rd in 2019. I don't see an addition here unless they grab a guy who can play 1st and 3rd, like Mike Moustakas as their platoon 1B.

I think they should get Grandal or Ramos or Realmuto for C, all three are attainable, and with the Braves signing McCann and the Nationals signing Suzuki, they are one of the only C needy teams still left. Astros, Rangers (who signed Mathis), Dodgers and Red Sox are the only other teams I could see signing the two free agent catchers, and I actually think the Astros may trade for Realmuto. Red Sox are pretty maxed out on their budget, and Dodgers would only sign Grandal of the two FA, though they too could trade for Realmuto. Ultimately I think the Angels will end up with Ramos.

As Calhoun and Pujols are under contract, and Adell is waiting in the wings, I see them getting a guy who can play 1st and the OF as opposed to a regular guy in either spot. I would be fine if they transitioned Calhoun to 1st and RF platoon, playing say 65-70 games at each spot. But I can't see any of the better FA guys signing to play 100 G in RF.

So Marwin Gonzalez makes the most sense, as he can play 1st and RF.

To add both of those guys I think it takes 1/2 of the Angels reported FA budget, so they'll have to be crafty with pitching, but getting a guy like Eovaldi or Happ and then signing Kikuchi or trading for Gray makes sense as well. But that means they'll likely have to go over the 30-35M budget, so they'll have to make some creative deals to stay under the projected payroll or just blow past it.

Ramos 2/18 6 in 2019 9 in 2020, 2M signing and 1M buyout. Payout in 2019 = 8

Gonzalez 4/40 7 in 2019, 9 in 2020, 10 in 2021, and 11 in 2022. 2M signing, 1 M buyout. Payout in 2019 = 9

Gray 1/9 or Kikuchi, 4/50, with 9M in 2019. Payout in 2019 = 9

Eovaldi 5/70 or Happ 3/42 with 12M in 2019. Payout in 2019 = 12 

Total Payouts = 38. They can make this work by trading Tropeano in the Gray trade or just non-tendering he and then signing Shoemaker for less.

 

 

 

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How about...

  • Sign Moustakas for 3/$30m (-$10m) or trade for Jedd Gyorko (-$13m), playing mostly 3B, Cozart to 2B.
    Either would essentially replace Ian Kinsler's spot in the infield, albeit a new position. 
    Kinsler: .238/.308/.397/.705, OPS+ 89, safe 2 - 2.5 WAR (2-yr average, reflecting his new norm)
    Moose: .267/.324/.484/.808, OPS+ 115, safe 2-3 WAR (4-yr average, one year injury shortened)
    Gyorko: .259/.331/.463/.794, OPS+ 111, good for 2.5 - 3.5 WAR (3-yr average)
    If anyone gets hurt, you have a lot of options - Moose to 1B, Ward to 3B, Cozart to SS, Fletcher or Rengifo 2B/3B/SS, Gyorko anywhere. 
    If you opt for Jedd instead of Moose, St. Louis could use some bullpen help, and they seem to like Angel pitchers. Offer them straight up Parker and/or Alvarez/Tropeano, to knock a few million off the deal, maybe try and get Jose Martinez (more on him below) back as well.
     
  • Trade for Yan Gomes ($-9m) - his contract keeps him a little affordable prospect-currency-wise
    He's replacing Martin Maldonado.
    Martin: .223/.276/.360/.637, OPS+ 73, averaging 18 doubles, 12 homers, 44% CS%, good for 1 - 2 WAR
    Gomes: .250/.311/.426/.737, OPS+ 94, averaging 20 doubles, 15 homers, 36% CS%, good for 1.5 - 2.5 WAR 
    Not an above-average bat, but a definite improvement and solid player all around. I believe he has two team options on his contract, so you can sort of go year-to-year with him, which is good given our relative lack of catching depth. 
     
  • Trade for Jose Martinez ($LM) or Jose Pirela ($LM) for 1B/last bench spot. 
    Both hit lefties well - Pujols did not. The Angels overall, did not. 
    They essentially replace both Valbuena/Marte. 
    ValMarte ('18): .208/.263/.353/.616, OPS+ 70, bad for -1.2 WAR
    Martinez (2-yr): .306/.369/.478/.847, OPS+ 127 (better than Upton) - good for 1.5 - 2.5 WAR
    J. Pirela (2-yr): .265/.320/.405/.725, OPS+ 97, one great year, one meh year, but still probably good for 1 WAR.
    Pirela is very versatile with some offensive upside, Martinez, is not, defensively versatile, or even much defensively at all, but he straight-up mashes and costs league minimum. Both are increasingly becoming less important for their teams, and cost nearly nothing financially. 

    Technically, you could get Moose and Gyorko and Gomes, but you'd spend all of your money, so there'd have to be some other deals made to shore up pitching. Go cheap on 4th OF - let Herm and Bourjos compete against other minor-league deal types. Trade for a frontline SP - the big name FA SPs will simply cost too much - and then sign a cheap #5 of the Shields, Colon, Estrada, Holland, Perez, Pomeranz variety.
    Round out the pen with more minor-league guys, no need to spend here, in my opinion. 
     
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It's simple.  the offense is unbalanced.  

in 2018 we had the following offensive production by position (not taking defense into account):

the best player in baseball in CF
excellent production from DH
good production from LF
slightly above avg offense from SS

poor production 2b
terrible at C
terrible at 1b
terrible at 3b
terrible in RF

poor= below avg but not terrible 
terrible = among the worst in baseball (bottom 5)
excellent = among the top 5 in baseball
meh = better than poor.  around the middle of the pack 
good = top 9-13 ish  

Which led to the following offensive production by batting order position:

1st - poor
2nd - excellent
3rd - excellent (the best actually)
4th - poor
5th - meh
6th - good
7th - good
8th - terrible
9th - good

so here's what needs to happen:  

1. we need to acquire or have someone emerge as a legit lead off hitter.  If Fletcher hits like he did last year and leads off, his offensive production would be among the worst in baseball.  He's not the answer there.  
2. being poor and meh in the 4/5 spots is a killer.  Albert batted 4th 94 times and 5th 21 times.  If some combo of an avg platoon at 1b can happen and generally bat out of the 6th/7th spot, then league avg production out of those lineup spots would put us in the top 5-7.  
3. So we would need a player who can bat 5th with solid production.  If you can displace Albert/LHer, Calhoun, Cozart and Simmons to 6-9 in the order, that would be solid on a relative basis assuming that Cozart and Calhoun rebound a bit.  
4. So we need to add 3 players.  A leadoff hitter, an above avg bat to hit 5th, and someone who can platoon with Albert. My guess is that we address two of those externally.  The platoon bat and the #5 hitter. Whereas the leadoff hitter will be Rengifo or someone else of several people already on the team like Simmons, Cozart or Calhoun. Ultimately I think that leaves us one player short of having a truly good offense.  

I personally think the addition of Ramos could be a big deal for us.  He hit's 5th behind leadoff guy, trout, ohtani, upton.  then you've got Simmons, 1b platoon, Calhoun, Cozart.  Hitting those guys in various orders wouldn't be a killer.  But if we had good enough players to displace Simmons, Calhoun and Cozart to 7,8,9,  that would be a good offense.  Unless Rengifo really turns some heads this spring, I think we are going to fall one player short of realizing this and end up with one of those three leading off with Fletcher hitting 9th.  

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20 minutes ago, Dochalo said:

It's simple.  the offense is unbalanced.  

in 2018 we had the following offensive production by position (not taking defense into account):

the best player in baseball in CF
excellent production from DH
good production from LF
slightly above avg offense from SS

poor production 2b
terrible at C
terrible at 1b
terrible at 3b
terrible in RF

poor= below avg but not terrible 
terrible = among the worst in baseball (bottom 5)
excellent = among the top 5 in baseball
meh = better than poor.  around the middle of the pack 
good = top 9-13 ish  

Which led to the following offensive production by batting order position:

1st - poor
2nd - excellent
3rd - excellent (the best actually)
4th - poor
5th - meh
6th - good
7th - good
8th - terrible
9th - good

so here's what needs to happen:  

1. we need to acquire or have someone emerge as a legit lead off hitter.  If Fletcher hits like he did last year and leads off, his offensive production would be among the worst in baseball.  He's not the answer there.  
2. being poor and meh in the 4/5 spots is a killer.  Albert batted 4th 94 times and 5th 21 times.  If some combo of an avg platoon at 1b can happen and generally bat out of the 6th/7th spot, then league avg production out of those lineup spots would put us in the top 5-7.  
3. So we would need a player who can bat 5th with solid production.  If you can displace Albert/LHer, Calhoun, Cozart and Simmons to 6-9 in the order, that would be solid on a relative basis assuming that Cozart and Calhoun rebound a bit.  
4. So we need to add 3 players.  A leadoff hitter, an above avg bat to hit 5th, and someone who can platoon with Albert. My guess is that we address two of those externally.  The platoon bat and the #5 hitter. Whereas the leadoff hitter will be Rengifo or someone else of several people already on the team like Simmons, Cozart or Calhoun. Ultimately I think that leaves us one player short of having a truly good offense.  

I personally think the addition of Ramos could be a big deal for us.  He hit's 5th behind leadoff guy, trout, ohtani, upton.  then you've got Simmons, 1b platoon, Calhoun, Cozart.  Hitting those guys in various orders wouldn't be a killer.  But if we had good enough players to displace Simmons, Calhoun and Cozart to 7,8,9,  that would be a good offense.  Unless Rengifo really turns some heads this spring, I think we are going to fall one player short of realizing this and end up with one of those three leading off with Fletcher hitting 9th.  

Regarding the bold, I agree completely.  The real issue with it is that one of the above has to be a catcher.   
Grandal has played a little 1B and maybe could meet the platoon AND the #5?   Ramos hasnt at least in the last 3 years.   Realmuto for the record has also played a little 1B.  
Its no secret that the top of my off season wishlist is one of those guys and Moustakis, who can also slide over as needed from corner to corner.    In a perfect world give me that plus Marwin Gonzalez and start selling playoff tickets, but thats not gonna happen :)

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25 minutes ago, WeatherWonk said:

So, Calhoun should be considered a leadoff candidate, but Fletcher would be among the worst in baseball?

Explain that to me.

if he rebounds, he's a better candidate than fletcher.  Fletcher owns a minor league walk rate of about 5% and has no power other than what his inflated AAA season showed which could be a breakout or aberration.  Kole has actually performed.  

Neither would be a very good choice.  

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2 hours ago, Hubs said:

Cozart was hurt last year and Valbuena was terrible. Marte was terrible, and Ward while he looked good at times, wasn't quite ready to produce in the bigs at 3B, which he had not been playing in the minors prior to 2018.

I hope Fletcher, Ward, and Cozart (and Maybe Renfigo) do well at 2nd and 3rd in 2019. I don't see an addition here unless they grab a guy who can play 1st and 3rd, like Mike Moustakas as their platoon 1B.

I think they should get Grandal or Ramos or Realmuto for C, all three are attainable, and with the Braves signing McCann and the Nationals signing Suzuki, they are one of the only C needy teams still left. Astros, Rangers (who signed Mathis), Dodgers and Red Sox are the only other teams I could see signing the two free agent catchers, and I actually think the Astros may trade for Realmuto. Red Sox are pretty maxed out on their budget, and Dodgers would only sign Grandal of the two FA, though they too could trade for Realmuto. Ultimately I think the Angels will end up with Ramos.

As Calhoun and Pujols are under contract, and Adell is waiting in the wings, I see them getting a guy who can play 1st and the OF as opposed to a regular guy in either spot. I would be fine if they transitioned Calhoun to 1st and RF platoon, playing say 65-70 games at each spot. But I can't see any of the better FA guys signing to play 100 G in RF.

So Marwin Gonzalez makes the most sense, as he can play 1st and RF.

To add both of those guys I think it takes 1/2 of the Angels reported FA budget, so they'll have to be crafty with pitching, but getting a guy like Eovaldi or Happ and then signing Kikuchi or trading for Gray makes sense as well. But that means they'll likely have to go over the 30-35M budget, so they'll have to make some creative deals to stay under the projected payroll or just blow past it.

Ramos 2/18 6 in 2019 9 in 2020, 2M signing and 1M buyout. Payout in 2019 = 8

Gonzalez 4/40 7 in 2019, 9 in 2020, 10 in 2021, and 11 in 2022. 2M signing, 1 M buyout. Payout in 2019 = 9

Gray 1/9 or Kikuchi, 4/50, with 9M in 2019. Payout in 2019 = 9

Eovaldi 5/70 or Happ 3/42 with 12M in 2019. Payout in 2019 = 12 

Total Payouts = 38. They can make this work by trading Tropeano in the Gray trade or just non-tendering he and then signing Shoemaker for less.

 

 

 

Everything here

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I still think catcher is a position that you simply go with defense and save money for upgrading in other positions.

Boston was dead last in OPS at catcher last year. Only four teams that made the playoffs were in the top 15 in catcher OPS. The Dodgers were #1 but after that, it was the Braves at 9th, the Yankees at 11th and the Cubs at 13th. Boston was 30th, OAK 27th and then HOU, CLE, MIL and COL were bunched at 17-20.

HOU knew they needed a good defensive catcher and traded for him. The Dodgers and Yankees wished they had one.

If a catchers handles the pitchers and throws out runners, that's all I ask of him. 

Realmuto will be too costly to acquire, anyway. 

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11 minutes ago, floplag said:

Regarding the bold, I agree completely.  The real issue with it is that one of the above has to be a catcher.   
Grandal has played a little 1B and maybe could meet the platoon AND the #5?   Ramos hasnt at least in the last 3 years.   Realmuto for the record has also played a little 1B.  
Its no secret that the top of my off season wishlist is one of those guys and Moustakis, who can also slide over as needed from corner to corner.    In a perfect world give me that plus Marwin Gonzalez and start selling playoff tickets, but thats not gonna happen :)

we've been here before you and I.  You still have to fix a well below avg. SP staff before we get excited.  

Marwin wouldn't be someone to get excited about imo.  My guess is that he's a lot closer to the avg offensive players he's been in 4 of the last five seasons than the one season where he was likely out over his skis.  He's gonna get paid too much for too long.  

Moustakas is a wild card.  He may bet paid, he may not.  Getting him and Ramos at 2/20 and 2/16 respectively would improve the offense and leave enough room for one SP.  The problem is that we need two.  So pick your poison.  

I think Eppler would prioritize and arm first.  So I think we'll get two arms and a bargain offensive player.  I think he thinks we'll realize some offensive success from our minors next year more from our position players than SP.  ie I am thinking he's gonna bet on ward, rengifo, fletcher and maybe Adell or even Jones to help the team than relying on Canning and Suarez to solidify themselves as solid rotation arms.  

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Something about Marwin makes me cringe and I’m not sure why. Just have a bad feeling he’s either going to be enormously overpaid or wind up not being nearly as good once away from the HOU org. Shades of Valbuena I think. 

I think Moustakas makes a ton of sense. He and Cozart have similar ability to give the infield plenty of coverage and versatility. His market cratered last year and I can see him being sort of forgotten again this year. He may strike a deal to come home to Anaheim quickly and cheaply and avoid all of it this time around, and he gives us a lot of options with our current wave of infield prospects, either for allowing them to develop or freeing up in a SP trade.

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1 minute ago, WeatherWonk said:

I still think catcher is a position that you simply go with defense and save money for upgrading in other positions.

Boston was dead last in OPS at catcher last year. Only four teams that made the playoffs were in the top 15 in catcher OPS. The Dodgers were #1 but after that, it was the Braves at 9th, the Yankees at 11th and the Cubs at 13th. Boston was 30th, OAK 27th and then HOU, CLE, MIL and COL were bunched at 17-20.

HOU knew they needed a good defensive catcher and traded for him. The Dodgers and Yankees wished they had one.

If a catchers handles the pitchers and throws out runners, that's all I ask of him. 

Realmuto will be too costly to acquire, anyway. 

it's all about what you have access to and at what price.  Eppler is looking at the player pool.  If you can grab a solid player that fills a need then the position doesn't matter.  If that happens to be catcher, then so be it.  We're already going to have sub par production from 1b so we've got to make it up somewhere.   Ultimately, conventional positional construct doesn't matter.  We need runs and wins.  Get it where you can.  

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1 hour ago, Dochalo said:

we've been here before you and I.  You still have to fix a well below avg. SP staff before we get excited.  

Marwin wouldn't be someone to get excited about imo.  My guess is that he's a lot closer to the avg offensive players he's been in 4 of the last five seasons than the one season where he was likely out over his skis.  He's gonna get paid too much for too long.  

Moustakas is a wild card.  He may bet paid, he may not.  Getting him and Ramos at 2/20 and 2/16 respectively would improve the offense and leave enough room for one SP.  The problem is that we need two.  So pick your poison.  

I think Eppler would prioritize and arm first.  So I think we'll get two arms and a bargain offensive player.  I think he thinks we'll realize some offensive success from our minors next year more from our position players than SP.  ie I am thinking he's gonna bet on ward, rengifo, fletcher and maybe Adell or even Jones to help the team than relying on Canning and Suarez to solidify themselves as solid rotation arms.  

Of course, and thats the real problem, there is no fix on this budget to adress all of the above, at least not enough to really matter.  We might win a few more, maybe finish above 500, but it wont result in anything near a post season run or likely even a 1 game playoff for one.  However, that doesnt change what i would like to see, even though I accept it isnt going to happen.  This is about offense, so thats what i answered, but any real fix will require help on both sides. 
  
Im sure you are also right about the kids, but lets be honest, none of them were projected to open 19 in the bigs.  Ward maybe,  Thiass as i recall is due sometime next season at soonest, the rest were 20s or later.   So theres gonna be a lot of growing pains there is were now counting on them to open 19 in a Angel red.  Some of those kids are fully redundant and obvious trade chips that wont hurt the org long term, why do we need 4 2B for example?

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2 hours ago, floplag said:

Regarding the bold, I agree completely.  The real issue with it is that one of the above has to be a catcher.   
Grandal has played a little 1B and maybe could meet the platoon AND the #5?   Ramos hasnt at least in the last 3 years.   Realmuto for the record has also played a little 1B.  
Its no secret that the top of my off season wishlist is one of those guys and Moustakis, who can also slide over as needed from corner to corner.    In a perfect world give me that plus Marwin Gonzalez and start selling playoff tickets, but thats not gonna happen :)

Am I the only guy here tired of constantly reading about signing Moustakis.

Poor defense...GM has already said they are going to internal options for infield.  

I have been hearing his name for a full 12 months now.

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6 minutes ago, floplag said:

Of course, and thats the real problem, there is no fix on this budget to adress all of the above, at least not enough to really matter.  We might win a few more, maybe finish above 500, but it wont result in anything near a post season run or likely even a 1 game playoff for one.  However, that doesnt change what i would like to see, even though I accept it isnt going to happen.  This is about offense, so thats what i answered, but any real fix will require help on both sides. 
  
Im sure you are also right about the kids, but lets be honest, none of them were projected to open 19 in the bigs.  Ward maybe,  Thiass as i recall is due sometime next season at soonest, the rest were 20s or later.   So theres gonna be a lot of growing pains there is were now counting on them to open 19 in a Angel red.  Some of those kids are fully redundant and obvious trade chips that wont hurt the org long term, why do we need 4 2B for example?

I think we can grab the 2nd wild card with the 30m we have to spend if some stuff goes right.  Not everything has to go right though.  Houston could also get decimated by injury.  I wouldn't build the team in hopes of that happening, but I would make them good enough that if it does, they could take advantage. 

What the kids were projected to do vs. what they are capable of doing now are two totally different things.  We don't have to stick to original projections.  Sometimes guys break out.  Sometimes they have aberration years and go back to being who they were previously.  

Redundancy is having two players at one position at the major league level.  Having multiple players developing at a position is called depth.  

We don't need four 2bmen at the major league level.  We don't have anything close to that right now.  

We have a guy who profiles as a util player that had a breakout year at AAA in a hitters park who plays stellar D at 2b/3b and is an avg or so SS.  
We have a guy who had a breakout year over 3 levels and has promise to be a starting 2b at the major league level as early as 2019 but likely starts at AAA as the starting SS.  
We have a top 100 guy who recently transitioned from the OF to 2b that was decent at A+/AA and had a good fall.  Who may start at AA or maybe AAA.  

who's the 4th btw?  

they're not fully redundant.  not yet at least.  could they be after another year?  sure.  Also, what makes them obvious trade chips?  Which one should they trade?  

I don't seen obvious trade chips.  I see solid depth in a developing farm system.  We are seeing the early returns of doing it the right way.  

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This is just my guess, but I'm thinking the Angels will bring in someone to play 3B with a little 1B, that bats in the middle of the lineup, which allows the team to deploy Cozart at 2B, where he is a better defender, where his offensive profile fits better, and where the Angels wanted him all along before Kinsler.

But I think by July, Rengifo will have taken over at 2B and will be batting leadoff. Cozart will either be hurt, or he'll move to a utility role with Fletcher going back to AAA.

Whoever this 3B they sign will likely need to come cheap (less than 10 million a year) and come with a short contract, in case Cozart need to move back to 3B, or Taylor Ward figures it out, or Jahmai Jones forces his way onto 2B and they need to move Rengifo.

I'm thinking maybe Mike Moustakas, Asdrubal Cabrera, or they trade for someone like Jake Lamb.

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Eppler wants to upgrade the team's ability to get on base.  That means no Moustakas. 

And for those of you concerned about Albert's AB's - I think Eppler set the stage when he started his search for a manager by saying they wanted someone who would put the team ahead of any single player.  I think that was a clear preview of what to come, expectation wise.

The only position we know for sure that Eppler wants to upgrade is catcher.  Also - we know he's looking for a player who can play 1B and somewhere else on the field.  So - every time someone suggests a player that isn't a catcher or who can't play 1B and another position - they're probably barking up the wrong tree.

None of this is new information, if you're paying attention.

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10 hours ago, stormngt said:

Am I the only guy here tired of constantly reading about signing Moustakis.

Poor defense...GM has already said they are going to internal options for infield.  

I have been hearing his name for a full 12 months now.

perhaps because we still do not have a legit 3B option aside from a group of converted 2B and it makes some sense? 

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10 hours ago, Dochalo said:

I think we can grab the 2nd wild card with the 30m we have to spend if some stuff goes right.  Not everything has to go right though.  Houston could also get decimated by injury.  I wouldn't build the team in hopes of that happening, but I would make them good enough that if it does, they could take advantage. 

What the kids were projected to do vs. what they are capable of doing now are two totally different things.  We don't have to stick to original projections.  Sometimes guys break out.  Sometimes they have aberration years and go back to being who they were previously.  

Redundancy is having two players at one position at the major league level.  Having multiple players developing at a position is called depth.  

We don't need four 2bmen at the major league level.  We don't have anything close to that right now.  

We have a guy who profiles as a util player that had a breakout year at AAA in a hitters park who plays stellar D at 2b/3b and is an avg or so SS.  
We have a guy who had a breakout year over 3 levels and has promise to be a starting 2b at the major league level as early as 2019 but likely starts at AAA as the starting SS.  
We have a top 100 guy who recently transitioned from the OF to 2b that was decent at A+/AA and had a good fall.  Who may start at AA or maybe AAA.  

who's the 4th btw?  

they're not fully redundant.  not yet at least.  could they be after another year?  sure.  Also, what makes them obvious trade chips?  Which one should they trade?  

I don't seen obvious trade chips.  I see solid depth in a developing farm system.  We are seeing the early returns of doing it the right way.  

To me, your view all comes down to the kids being everything you hope and more, and being it sooner than they should be.  It could work out that way i suppose, i dont have a crystal ball at the moment but it feels overly optimistic.  I would prefer they took steps that were more aggressive and less hopeful, but thats just my opinion

My "depth" comment was the org as a whole, not the ML level, just to clarify that.  Right now we have 4 people capable of playing 2B now or in the near future of the next couple years; Cozart, Fletcher, Regnifo, and Jones.  None of them really project to be a great 3B, and arent going to see any time at SS pending injury to Simmons.   Just because we slot on in at 3B doesnt make it ideal, i think we all know 2B is a much better spot for them.  It is perhaps our most deep position without exception really thus my comment on trade chips, we could easily trade one without missing much in the next 3-5 years.  

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11 minutes ago, True Grich said:

Eppler wants to upgrade the team's ability to get on base.  That means no Moustakas. 

And for those of you concerned about Albert's AB's - I think Eppler set the stage when he started his search for a manager by saying they wanted someone who would put the team ahead of any single player.  I think that was a clear preview of what to come, expectation wise.

The only position we know for sure that Eppler wants to upgrade is catcher.  Also - we know he's looking for a player who can play 1B and somewhere else on the field.  So - every time someone suggests a player that isn't a catcher or who can't play 1B and another position - they're probably barking up the wrong tree.

None of this is new information, if you're paying attention.

What he wants, and whats available, arent always in sync.  

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