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The Eppler Plan Revised


Angelsjunky

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After the last couple weeks in which Eppler missed out on most of the top starters as well as the most obvious choice to fill catcher, Wilson Ramos, I'm going to posit a different strategy that I think Eppler might be taking.

Right now we have a lineup with a few massive jols, a patchy rotation and a questionable bullpen. But there is still talent on this team; as constructed it wins 75-85 games. But to get to 85-95 would require a lot of spending and/or draining the farm in trades, and it seems unlikely that Eppler is willing to do either. He would have needed to go hard after one of Corbin/Keuchel/Eovaldi/Happ/Morton, as well as a good catcher, and it seems neither is going to happen.

I'm thinking that Eppler is looking at 2020 as the earliest year we become serious contenders. Consider the young players who will be better seasoned and developed: Adell, Marsh, Rengifo, Jones, Thaiss, Ward, Canning, Suarez, Sandoval, etc. That's a huge surge of cheap, homegrown talent.

So he fills the roster holes with low cost players like Bour and someone like Wieters or Lucroy, maybe fills out the rotation with someone like Wade Miley; a few lower cost depth moves and the bottom end of that 75-85 range drops off and they project to 80-85, with an outside chance at wildcard contention. floplag will be pissed, but the future (2020 and beyond) will be brighter for it. 

On the other hand, because he's looking at 2020, he might go hard after long-term solutions like Realmuto and Machado, both of whom play positions that the Angels don't have much talent on the farm (C and 3B). They literally don't need to sign another OF or MI for years to come, but the org is light on corner infield bats and catchers. 

So maybe he trades Marsh, Jones, Suarez, and Deveaux for Realmuto, and signs Machado, and then saves money and finds cheap options for the rotation, with the hopes that a more seasoned Canning and the return of Ohtani will solve the rotation issues from within.

So the 2019 is pretty good but gets better in 2020 with Ohtani back, Canning a year older, and Adell replacing Calhoun. The 2020 team looks like:

C Realmuto

1B Thaiss

2B Rengifo

SS Simmons

3B Machado

LF Upton

CF Trout

RF Adell

DH Ohtani

Rotation: Ohtani, Skaggs, Heaney, Barria, Canning, Peters/Cole/Smith/Sandoval/etc.

Bullpen: Buttrey, Anderson, Bedrosian, Middleton, Robles, Jerez, etc.

That's a pretty damn good team that could win 90+ games.

Now if he doesn't get Realmuto and Machado, obviously it isn't nearly as good. Maybe he gets one, or maybe Kikuchi. But you can reach the same goal (90 wins) with a solid catcher (Wieters or Lucroy), solid fill-ins in Cozart and Ward at 3B, and then making up ground with improvement at 1B and the rotation - perhaps a trade or two. Either way, the point is this: Eppler already has 80-90% of his next contender. That 80-90% is already in the organization. He just needs a few pieces to fill the big jols, and patience. 

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44 minutes ago, Kevinb said:

I don’t see the Angels offering a contract to Machado. I also don’t see them trading prospects for Realmuto. Maldonado is more likely. 

Realmuto would be an insane improvement but the Marlins asking price has been at the player quality level of Bellinger/Amed Rosario type players, we don’t have too many of those types to just give away and replace from within. I agree Maldonado is a likely candidate.

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Two torn ACLs for a catcher going into his thirties is a bit risky, especially for a team whose catcher depth is pretty thin.

Still think 2019 will ultimately be a transition year, leaning on the youth. Let the kids play and see who sinks and swims and readjust next season. We'll still contend.

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The plan hasn’t changed at all! Eppler attempted to sign a top pitching FA’s. His plan is still focused on pitching. He’ll just have to set his sights down a notch. I fully expect him to sign 2-3 pitchers, catcher, and possibly a third baseman. 

No way is Eppler relying on the kids in 2019. I also wouldn’t be surprised if some of the kids are traded. 

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15 minutes ago, Troll Daddy said:

The plan hasn’t changed at all! Eppler attempted to sign a top pitching FA’s. His plan is still focused on pitching. He’ll just have to set his sights down a notch. I fully expect him to sign 2-3 pitchers, catcher, and possibly a third baseman. 

No way is Eppler relying on the kids in 2019. I also wouldn’t be surprised if some of the kids are traded. 

What I meant more was that the high-profile targets may be coming off the board, but it wouldn't surprise me to see plenty of action on the lower-levels of the FA/trade board again, leaving the door open for kids to still get playing time. 

I'm really seeing this as Year One of a brand new Angels era. 
2018 was the end of the Scioscia, Dipoto/Reagins, Calhoun, Richards, Trout, Trumbo, Cron, Napoli, Mathis, et. al. core.

This new era will be Eppler, Ausmus, Adell, Canning, Upton, Simmons, Ohtani, and of course, hopefully Trout, but also Ward, Thaiss, Rengifo, etc. 
2019 is as good a year as any to see which of these guys will make up that new core, rather than guessing and filling multiple holes each year. 

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9 hours ago, Angelsjunky said:

After the last couple weeks in which Eppler missed out on most of the top starters as well as the most obvious choice to fill catcher, Wilson Ramos, I'm going to posit a different strategy that I think Eppler might be taking.

Right now we have a lineup with a few massive jols, a patchy rotation and a questionable bullpen. But there is still talent on this team; as constructed it wins 75-85 games. But to get to 85-95 would require a lot of spending and/or draining the farm in trades, and it seems unlikely that Eppler is willing to do either. He would have needed to go hard after one of Corbin/Keuchel/Eovaldi/Happ/Morton, as well as a good catcher, and it seems neither is going to happen.

I'm thinking that Eppler is looking at 2020 as the earliest year we become serious contenders. Consider the young players who will be better seasoned and developed: Adell, Marsh, Rengifo, Jones, Thaiss, Ward, Canning, Suarez, Sandoval, etc. That's a huge surge of cheap, homegrown talent.

So he fills the roster holes with low cost players like Bour and someone like Wieters or Lucroy, maybe fills out the rotation with someone like Wade Miley; a few lower cost depth moves and the bottom end of that 75-85 range drops off and they project to 80-85, with an outside chance at wildcard contention. floplag will be pissed, but the future (2020 and beyond) will be brighter for it. 

On the other hand, because he's looking at 2020, he might go hard after long-term solutions like Realmuto and Machado, both of whom play positions that the Angels don't have much talent on the farm (C and 3B). They literally don't need to sign another OF or MI for years to come, but the org is light on corner infield bats and catchers. 

So maybe he trades Marsh, Jones, Suarez, and Deveaux for Realmuto, and signs Machado, and then saves money and finds cheap options for the rotation, with the hopes that a more seasoned Canning and the return of Ohtani will solve the rotation issues from within.

So the 2019 is pretty good but gets better in 2020 with Ohtani back, Canning a year older, and Adell replacing Calhoun. The 2020 team looks like:

C Realmuto

1B Thaiss

2B Rengifo

SS Simmons

3B Machado

LF Upton

CF Trout

RF Adell

DH Ohtani

Rotation: Ohtani, Skaggs, Heaney, Barria, Canning, Peters/Cole/Smith/Sandoval/etc.

Bullpen: Buttrey, Anderson, Bedrosian, Middleton, Robles, Jerez, etc.

That's a pretty damn good team that could win 90+ games.

Now if he doesn't get Realmuto and Machado, obviously it isn't nearly as good. Maybe he gets one, or maybe Kikuchi. But you can reach the same goal (90 wins) with a solid catcher (Wieters or Lucroy), solid fill-ins in Cozart and Ward at 3B, and then making up ground with improvement at 1B and the rotation - perhaps a trade or two. Either way, the point is this: Eppler already has 80-90% of his next contender. That 80-90% is already in the organization. He just needs a few pieces to fill the big jols, and patience. 

So we get two years of Simmons and Realmuto together with Trout and Machado.  One of those we don't have Ohtani on the mound.  Then we can't afford extensions to Realmuto or Simmons or Skaggs.  

I just can't get on board with this.  

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18 minutes ago, Dochalo said:

I think we might get Kikuchi.  Otherwise, we'll go with a couple cheap SP options and maybe grab a pen arm.  

I really hope we don't sign Machado.  



I'm not saying I want the Angels to sign Machado because I don't care for the guy, but I don't understand someone hoping not to sign him.  Yes, the dude can be a douche, but there is no doubt his bat would be huge for this team and having him hitting behind Trout would be awesome.

That said, if they Angels are not going to spend big for offensive help, I'd love to see them sign Kikuchi and some lower cost, high reward guys like Sanchez, Shoemaker and so on.

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26 minutes ago, Dochalo said:

I think we might get Kikuchi.  Otherwise, we'll go with a couple cheap SP options and maybe grab a pen arm.  

I really hope we don't sign Machado.  

Yep, if the Halos signed Machado, watch him go no higher than an .800 OPS.   In other words, another farce contract like with Pujols (aside from the age difference)

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I'm mixed on

1 hour ago, Dochalo said:

So we get two years of Simmons and Realmuto together with Trout and Machado.  One of those we don't have Ohtani on the mound.  Then we can't afford extensions to Realmuto or Simmons or Skaggs.  

I just can't get on board with this.  

I tend to be pretty conservative with free agents and prefer to focus on building from within and making small to moderate savvy trades and signings. But I'm mixed on both Realmuto and Machado. If Eppler somehow managed to get both, it would give the team an elite core lineup to rival anyone else's.

As for how it effects future extensions, that is unclear. Trout and Machado would be long-term, with Machado's contract effectively replacing Pujols, at least after the next few years. There would be one year in which the Angels could be way over-budget: 2021. But maybe Eppler has to choose one of Realmuto or Simmons. And I'd like to see Skaggs take it up another notch before worrying about extending him. 

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3 minutes ago, Angelsjunky said:

I'm mixed on

I tend to be pretty conservative with free agents and prefer to focus on building from within and making small to moderate savvy trades and signings. But I'm mixed on both Realmuto and Machado. If Eppler somehow managed to get both, it would give the team an elite core lineup to rival anyone else's.

As for how it effects future extensions, that is unclear. Trout and Machado would be long-term, with Machado's contract effectively replacing Pujols, at least after the next few years. There would be one year in which the Angels could be way over-budget: 2021. But maybe Eppler has to choose one of Realmuto or Simmons. And I'd like to see Skaggs take it up another notch before worrying about extending him. 

who's gonna pitch?  If you extend even one of Simmons or Realmuto plus Trout, plus Machado, you essentially burnt any sort of financial flexibility for a 4-5yr period.  

You are essentially leaving yourself zero room for error for guys like Barria, Ohtani, Skaggs, Heaney, Pena, Canning, Buttrey, Middleton, Anderson, Rengifo, Adell, Upton.  

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4 minutes ago, Make Angels Great Again said:

Trevor Cahill?

The same Trevor Cahill that has averaged 76 innings over the last 4 years with mediocre numbers?

That Trevor Cahill?

Yes, the one that can start or pitch in relief.  The one that had an ERA of 3.76 and a whip under 1.2 last year.  The one that had a 110 ERA+ Last year.  His FIP was 3.54.  So yea, that one.  We are going to be taking some chances with a depth signing,  he should be considered.  

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2 minutes ago, Stradling said:

 Yes, the one that can start or pitch in relief.  The one that had an ERA of 3.76 and a whip under 1.2 last year.  The one that had a 110 ERA+ Last year.  His FIP was 3.54.  So yea, that one.  We are going to be taking some chances with a depth signing,  he should be considered.  

 

He has had serious durability issues though. Like, big time. Isn't that what we're trying to avoid? And even then, he's just slightly better than average when healthy.

That's a medium risk, low reward signing imo. That's not a guy i'd like to pencil in our rotation to start the year.

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