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OC Register: Angels planning to allow farm system to continue to grow


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LAS VEGAS — Billy Eppler has a very clear plan to get the Angels back to perennial contention.

It’s about the farm system.

On the second day of the Winter Meetings, the Angels general manager spelled out a plan that doesn’t seem to include blockbuster trades that would weaken their farm system.

“We are clearly trying to build organizationally,” Eppler said. “I think anybody can figure that out now. We haven’t traded a lot of our players in our minor league system. Nobody impactful. Nobody in the top tier of the prospect tree has been traded.

“We know that sustainable health is going to be achieved through our farm system, and then we do have the financial muscle if we want to go outside at the right time. We can achieve those things as well. That’s going to be our cookbook.”

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When Eppler was hired as the Angels GM in October 2015, the team had the worst farm system in baseball. Now, they’ve moved to the cusp of the top 10.

“We hope to get that into the top five,” Eppler said. “If we get into the top five, and a lot of those players are in Triple-A or Double-A, and they are pushing their way in, now you have more cost control and cost certainty in things, and then you can flex some of that financial muscle when that opportunity comes.”

Certainly, those comments can be interpreted to mean that the Angels aren’t ready to ship out the type of prospects that would be required to get someone the caliber of catcher J.T. Realmuto or pitchers like Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer or Noah Syndergaard.

Certainly, there are trade targets who fit for the Angels who could be acquired without moving a top prospect, though. They could get a pitcher like Sonny Gray or Julio Teheran or a catcher like Francisco Cervelli.

None of that is to say the Angels aren’t still trying to win now, Eppler pointed out a day earlier. They are trying to improve as much as possible in the short-term, without jeopardizing the long-term.

“What you’re trying to do is give yourself an opportunity to win every year,” he said. “If everything falls right in a given year you might push yourself into the postseason. It’s within your bandwidth of outcomes. You are going to make some shorter-term decisions and are most likely not going to trade things that have multiple years of control. You are going to keep yourself in that competitive window to still have within your band of outcomes an 86-or-better-win team.”

PUJOLS UPDATE

Albert Pujols, who had knee surgery in August and elbow surgery in September, has been cleared for all upper body work and light impact lower body work, Eppler said.

Eppler still is not ready to make any predictions about how much the Angels will be able to get from Pujols in 2019.

With Shohei Ohtani expected to handle most of the designated hitter duties, Pujols is likely going to need to play as much first base as possible. Last season, the grind of playing 70 games at first no doubt contributed to him needing surgery.

“We have to see how he feels going through January and February,” Eppler said. “We’ll have to see. We’ll take it organically.”

MINOR LEAGUE DEALS

The Angels reached agreements with three more players on minor league deals: Right-handed pitchers Forrest Snow and Matt Ramsey and outfielder Cesar Puello. They also officially announced three minor league deals that had already been reported, outfielders Peter Bourjos and Jarrett Parker and catcher Dustin Garneau.

Puello, 27, returns to the Angels after appearing in one game with them in 2017. He also played 16 games with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Snow, 29, has never pitched in the majors and has a 4.27 ERA in the minors. Eppler said the Angels see value in his “secondary stuff,” and both the scouting reports and analytics agreed there was some upside.

Ramsey, 29, has a 2.69 ERA in six minor league seasons. He has also never pitched in the majors.

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Lots of patience necessary. The teams Eppler has built so far have all had the possibility of going to the post season, if things go right. But things have never gone right. 2019 should be more of the same, we'll have a shot at the post season if things go the right way, but more than anything, we'll continue to stockpile prospects. But, come 2020, this team is going to go on a tear both in terms of prospects contributing in the majors, and free agents performing.

The biggest money spent by this team should be extensions to Trout, Simmons, possibly Heaney or Skaggs depending on how they pitch this year, and then Ohtani down the road.

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3 minutes ago, floplag said:

So apparently he wants to get it to the top 5 then use financial power... i guess we have our answer on the next few years casue that aint happening anytime soon barring a Trout trade.
You dont jump from 10-12 to 5 in a couple years without losing a lot of games.  

Not necessarily; a lot of their most interesting prospects are toolsy but unproven. If the youngest of those guys (Soriano, Knowles, Jackson, Adams) take steps forward while Adell, Marsh & Jones show they can realize their potential in the MLB, that's probably a fringe-5 system right there. 

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11 minutes ago, floplag said:

So apparently he wants to get it to the top 5 then use financial power... i guess we have our answer on the next few years casue that aint happening anytime soon barring a Trout trade.
You dont jump from 10-12 to 5 in a couple years without losing a lot of games.  

well it took about 2 years to go from 30 to 15, it's very possible yo get to the top 5.

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6 minutes ago, jessecrall said:

Not necessarily; a lot of their most interesting prospects are toolsy but unproven. If the youngest of those guys (Soriano, Knowles, Jackson, Adams) take steps forward while Adell, Marsh & Jones show they can realize their potential in the MLB, that's probably a fringe-5 system right there. 

And if they dont find some magic no expert thinks they have today?  Where does that leave us ?  You are assuming 100% best case scenario. 

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17 minutes ago, floplag said:

So apparently he wants to get it to the top 5 then use financial power... i guess we have our answer on the next few years casue that aint happening anytime soon barring a Trout trade.
You dont jump from 10-12 to 5 in a couple years without losing a lot of games.  

You do if a few of your low level toolsy guys breakout, which they have a handful of intriguing talent.

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Just now, bloodbrother said:

You do if a few of your low level toolsy guys breakout, which they have a handful of intriguing talent.

and thats happened how often for us?  or any other team drafting mid round?    If we have the money to throw at Trout we have the money to build around Trout.  
You guys can meow (whatever the hades that means) and whatever all you want but any plan that tosses the next couple/few years on the hope that these kids break out and potentially blows up this core of players is not something im prepared to support.   Its not necessary, its not mandatory, its a choice.  I choose to not support it. 

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4 minutes ago, floplag said:

and thats happened how often for us?  or any other team drafting mid round?    If we have the money to throw at Trout we have the money to build around Trout.  
You guys can meow (whatever the hades that means) and whatever all you want but any plan that tosses the next couple/few years on the hope that these kids break out and potentially blows up this core of players is not something im prepared to support.   Its not necessary, its not mandatory, its a choice.  I choose to not support it. 

Umm who said we are punting the next few years? Have you listened to the rumors at all during the gm meetings? Pursuing Corbin, Happ, Eovaldi, and possibly Machado & Harper. Sounds like a team that is willing to spend to compete now but they are not willing to part with Adell, Canning, Rengifo, Marsh. Etc. 

 

I do not see how this upsets you. Making rash decisions is what caused this organization to be a shit show the past 10 years. Eppler is finally showing some well thought out decision making and he isn’t stating anything we didn’t alresdy know. 

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Just now, TroutField said:

Umm who said we are punting the next few years? Have you listened to the rumors at all during the gm meetings? Pursuing Corbin, Happ, Eovaldi, and possibly Machado & Harper. Sounds like a team that is willing to spend to compete now but they are not willing to part with Adell, Canning, Rengifo, Marsh. Etc. 

 

I do not see how this upsets you. Making rash decisions is what caused this organization to be a show show the past 10 years. Eppler is finally showing some well thought out decision making and he isn’t stating anything we didn’t alresdy know. 

come on man, waiting to get to top 5 farm to spend means waiting a couple years at least.   
and again i never asked for rash.   i never asked for stupid.  i never asked for going ham.   i just asked for them to try to win and keep Trout/Simmons.  Some of you better hope you are right about your crystal balls

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