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Are we cutting Eppler too much slack?


Dochalo

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I get that he walked into a wasteland of payroll and farm system issues. 

But when he's had money or made trades, how has that worked out in reference to how it's helped the major league club?  

Let's take a look at his major league acquisitions:

I can't really count the positions where he was forced to draw from the bottom of the barrel for the above reasons (like trying to get blood out of a Nava/Gentry turnip)

2016
Simmons - A+.  
Yunel Escobar - B-/C+
Nolasco - C- 

2017
Maldonado - B (includes giving up bandy, his performance and getting Sandoval in return)
Danny Espinosa - F
Revere/Maybin - C- 
Upton - B (trade + extension) 
Valbuena (RIP) - D-
Chavez - D

2018
Kinsler - B (boosted because he was able to spin him for Buttrey/Jerez)
Ohtani - A+
Cozart - inc (first trimester grade is a D)
 

Additional bonus points awarded for Marte's first year, Chacin's not horrible year who he got for zero, JC Ramirez, Yusmeiro Petit, Blake Parker, David Hernandez, Felix Pena, and Hansel Robles.  

I don't think we need to play the 'if he had more to spend game'.  He had specific resources available and used them as above.  

Overall, I think this translates to a B/B- and that's just for the major league club of course.  I thought it would be worse when I first started thinking about it.  

 

 

 

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I still feel that, regardless of whether they pitched to their ceilings or their career norms, that if even only two or three of Richards, Shoemaker, Skaggs, and Heaney had stayed healthy the last three seasons and given us 30+ GS each year, they would’ve made at least the WC once or twice. Can’t really fault him for those injuries, especially since he’s gone to varying lengths to prep for those scenarios as a contingency, be it a 6-man rotation, holding onto everyone last spring, constantly finding relievers he could convert into starters...

And we also don’t know what his pitch was to Arte, or what the scope of his task was. If he was given the objective to rebuild the farm, not F*ck up payroll, and keep us at least in the discussion for competing, he’s done about as well as someone conceivably could. 

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I appreciate what you're doing here, Doc, but the problem with grading and then averaging it all out (even if only via eyeball method) is that it basically equalizes everything in terms of both risk and reward, and overall value. For instance, the Simmons trade was far more beneficial than several other moves combined (that said, it probably wasn't an A+ because of the loss of Newcomb).

Some of those poorly graded moves simply didn't hurt the team all that much in terms of resources. And that, I think, is where Eppler deserves praise: He will spend resources if and when it is worth it to do so (Simmons), but hasn't show a propensity for blowing it on big acquisitions. 

So at the least, I think you should weight his moves based upon resources and overall impact to the franchise, in terms of prospects, money, years, etc. That will give us a better idea of how he grades out overall.

Not to mention that he's really working under a five year plan (or so I imagine).

 

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I think it really comes down to how you weigh the contributions of his scrap heap pickups vs guys he paid cash for. He seems to have a great track record with guys that cost him nothing (but there are 0 expectations in that case) and also when he's had to expend significant resources (Simmons and Upton) but everyone else has been pretty underwhelming. 

Ideally this is the part of the market he should really be exploiting in order to give us an advantage. We can't and really shouldn't be consistently playing the high stakes game of big ticket acquisitions and while its great finding value in the trash pile, it's still trash. The middle market is where - in theory - there are significant bargains to be had.

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Just now, Angelsjunky said:

Some of those poorly graded moves simply didn't hurt the team all that much in terms of resources. And that, I think, is where Eppler deserves praise: He will spend resources if and when it is worth it to do so (Simmons), but hasn't show a propensity for blowing it on big acquisitions. 

You have to consider the opportunity costs as well.

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1 minute ago, Angelsjunky said:

I appreciate what you're doing here, Doc, but the problem with grading and then averaging it all out (even if only via eyeball method) is that it basically equalizes everything in terms of both risk and reward. For instance, the Simmons trade was far more beneficial than several other moves combined (that said, it probably wasn't an A+ because of the loss of Newcomb).

Some of those poorly graded moves simply didn't hurt the team all that much in terms of resources. And that, I think, is where Eppler deserves praise: He will spend resources if and when it is worth it to do so (Simmons), but hasn't show a propensity for blowing it on big acquisitions. 

So at the least, I think you should weight this moves based upon resources--prospect, money, years. That will give us a better idea of how he grades out overall. Not to mention that he's really working under a five year plan (or so I imagine).

 

I didn't feel like taking the time to do a weighted avg so I eyeballed it and posted more for just discussion purposes.  

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I'll keep it simple re: Eppler. If he doesn't make the playoffs at least once over the next two seasons and cannot sign Trout to an extension or if he won't sign here (and wants to test FA) get a significant package for him via a trade, he''ll be complete failure as GM.

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43 minutes ago, Chuckster70 said:

I'll keep it simple re: Eppler. If he doesn't make the playoffs at least once over the next two seasons and cannot sign Trout to an extension or if he won't sign here (and wants to test FA) get a significant package for him via a trade, he''ll be complete failure as GM.

It's difficult to argue with this. At some point, it is the results that will determine success.

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Generally, it takes 4-5 years to rebuild a farm system, if done right.    The Halos are well on their way (upper half of pretty much every farm ranking).

Next step is filling in key prospects around the proven talent over the next 1-2 seasons, and trading others to improve other positions with club control acquisitions. 

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47 minutes ago, Chuckster70 said:

I'll keep it simple re: Eppler. If he doesn't make the playoffs at least once over the next two seasons and cannot sign Trout to an extension or if he won't sign here (and wants to test FA) get a significant package for him via a trade, he''ll be complete failure as GM.

I see it different.  We have no control over Trout, he is his own man and has a no trade clause that Eppler didn't give him.  Eppler was hired to build the team and to do that he had to build a farm from scratch.  He took over a team that had guys like old Weaver, hurt CJ, hurt Tropeano, hurt Heaney all pitching and starting.  They had no left fielder, no 2nd baseman, no third baseman, Iannetta behind the plate.  Oh and he had very little money and no prospects to solve these issues.  

Should we be critical of some of his decisions, of course.  Espinosa and Valbuena both were awful.  Chavez wasn't good, Nolasco seemed to be a bad use of Santiago as they were chasing the upside of Meyers.  Gott for Escobar was good.  Getting Upton for next to nothing was really good. 

If a GM has the job for 5 years, and he builds the farm to being really good and has developed a guy like Adell.  That same GM gets us a GREAT SS in Simmons and convinces Ohtani, who might have been the most coveted international players ever, to sign here.  I just think it would be tough to call his time here a complete failure.  

The good news is the guy that convinced Ohtani to sign here is the same guy that gets to convince Trout to stay here.  He also happens to be the GM that has in a short time built our farm to respectable levels.  

Obviously that is just my opinion and everyone else is entitled to whatever opinion they would like to have.  

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I think it depends entirely on the criteria you are grading him on.  

For me the goal is always to win at the ML level first and foremost.  So far in thats regard i dont think anyone can argue that he has been found lacking.  He has yet to break 500 in the show.   In all fairness noone could predict the injuries and such weve faced over that time but I feel we made minimal efforts to replace guys as they went down and simply accepted our fate.  Its just my opinion. 

Of course the secondary goal to that is to do so without turning the farm pipeline into nuclear waste to build a sustainable model.  For every big dollar guy you need a couple kids to balance the budget.  In that regard he has been stellar.  He has brought the farm up leaps and bounds no question from virtually dead last to pushing the top 10.   To date he has been the anti Dipoto, putting farm over majors.   

The few impact trades hes made have been solid, in my opinion he simply hasnt made enough of them or hasnt been able to spend to offset not making them.  We all know im not big on counting on prospects and i dont necessarily thing anyone is untouchable pending the offer, but you have to have that influx of players to offset the big money guys, thats a given. 
But, at the same time, they are also bargaining chips.   I do feel we have perhaps been a bit to conservative in that regard, but if we had not the farm would not be where it is either, its a trade off. 

I think waiting till 21-ish to really make a push is a mistake that could easily backfire and leave us with nothing but the kids, thats well documented.  Though it does create nice job security with little expectation for a few years if Arte bought into it but it better be a hell of a push to make up for lack of action in his first 5 years by that point.  All i know is that he needs to win big, very big, to justify the wait as far as im concerned.  

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9 minutes ago, floplag said:

 In all fairness noone could predict the injuries and such weve faced over that time but I feel we made minimal efforts to replace guys as they went down and simply accepted our fate.  Its just my opinion. 

I personally feel that's more on Arte than Eppler though.  

  

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1 hour ago, Chuckster70 said:

I'll keep it simple re: Eppler. If he doesn't make the playoffs at least once over the next two seasons and cannot sign Trout to an extension or if he won't sign here (and wants to test FA) get a significant package for him via a trade, he''ll be complete failure as GM.

I don't agree with this in general and I will also add that I am more curious about people's opinions in regard to what he's done with the major league club with the resources he has available.  I know it's all related at some level.  

the money or prospects he's had available weren't going to get us to the playoffs at any point in the previous three years.  

this is the first year he had a chance to be more aggressive and he remained conservative and short term.  

when Billy first started, remember, this franchise was in a spot where there was zero chance in hell Mike Trout was going to commit an additional 10 years of his career if his first criteria was winning.  

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15 minutes ago, Dochalo said:

I personally feel that's more on Arte than Eppler though.  

  

Quite possibly true but i have to think he could have worked within his resources perhaps a little more.  We were in the race till guys started dropping and seemed to not replace any of them.  Nothings going to save a season when youre down to your 13/14 SP on the depth chart but he should have acted before that i thought.  Moot at this point obviously it just felt like we rolled over.

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Great work, Doc.

I kind of agree with the previous criticism in terms of weight. I also think people are too hard on Maybin. He put up 1.8 WAR with the Angels and didn't make much money and wasn't a long term commitment. It's a solid B move for me. 

It's also important to remember we're only looking at the moves Eppler made. This is like looking at fielding percentage to judge defense except the inverse. Eppler hasn't made any crippling deals. It's why I also think the Espinosa grade may be too tough. It was a 1 year deal, right? I have trouble giving any one year deal an F. I think an F needs to hamper the club in the long term. 

I also think it's important to recognize the work he's done on with the farm and establishing a Latin American presence. I know this discussion is centered on the big league club, but I think when he's cut slack it's because of the progress he's made in the other areas without sacrificing big league success. To the extent that the big league success existed before his take over.

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Absolutely. It’s interesting how Epp’s philosophy is the exact opposite of Dipoto’a. Epp is almost too cautious/conservative with his roster moves, while Dipoto is very liberal with his roster moves.

To me, they are both extremists and I’d much rather have a GM who is more balanced.

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44 minutes ago, Dochalo said:

I don't agree with this in general and I will also add that I am more curious about people's opinions in regard to what he's done with the major league club with the resources he has available.  I know it's all related at some level.  

the money or prospects he's had available weren't going to get us to the playoffs at any point in the previous three years.  

this is the first year he had a chance to be more aggressive and he remained conservative and short term.  

when Billy first started, remember, this franchise was in a spot where there was zero chance in hell Mike Trout was going to commit an additional 10 years of his career if his first criteria was winning.  

It is worth pointing out that he’s made semi-competitive offers, reportedly. He just hasn’t overpaid. IMO, this isn’t the off-season to flex financial muscle. His approach of trying to get better guys at a firm price isn’t a bad idea this year as far as I’m concerned. If he does this again next year, I’ll be more concerned. 

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1 hour ago, Dochalo said:

when Billy first started, remember, this franchise was in a spot where there was zero chance in hell Mike Trout was going to commit an additional 10 years of his career if his first criteria was winning.  

I remember how hopeless it all looked. We had an aging, overpaid, underproducing roster and by some accounts the worst farm system in the history of baseball. The major league roster sucked, and there was no help to be had in the minors. Eppler has at least put us in a spot in which there is reason for optimism (although the Pujols contract, which preceded him, remains the elephant in the room and the biggest impediment to improving the club).

Overall I give him high marks. Not all of his deals have worked out, but then that is true of any GM in the majors.

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so you could weigh it where each grade is multiplied by the number of seasons of impact at that level of impact.  For the seasons that have yet to be played, you guess.  If there's a trade then you discount the first years grade.  Each years grade also takes salary into acount:

A+ =4.3, A=4.0, A- = 3.7, B+ = 3.3, B = 3.0, B-=2.7, C+ = 2.3, C=2.0, C-=1.7, D+ = 1.3, D=1.0, D- = 0.7, and F = 0.0 

So Simmons gets A- (discounting what we gave up) in the first year then A+, A+, A+, A

2016
Simmons - A, A+, A+, A+, A
Yunel Escobar - B, C
Nolasco - 0.4xA-, C

29.5 of 33.6 possible  

2017
Maldonado - B, Bx0.8 (includes giving up bandy, his performance and getting Sandoval in return)
Danny Espinosa - Fx0.5
Maybin - B-x0.5
Revere - Dx0.5
Upton - (trade + extension),  A-x0.2, B+, B+, B, B-, C+ (takes salary into account as well).  
Valbuena (RIP) - C, Fx0.5
Chavez - D-

25.4 of 44 possible

2018
Kinsler - B+x0.6 (boosted because he was able to spin him for Buttrey/Jerez)
Ohtani - A, A, A, A, A, A 
Cozart - D, C, C

30.5 of 38.4

so 29 total grades seasons.  or a GPA of almost exactly 3.0.   This doesn't take into account the waiver pickups and performances by those on the cheap.  Gonna give him the 1/3rd grade bump for that for a B+ overall.  

what about an estimate of 2019?  

Bour - B, B- (we have control of him for 2020)
Harvey - anywhere from C to B+.  Let's go with a C+ to be safe
Cahill - B- to B+.  B
La Stella - B-x 0.5

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8 minutes ago, Dochalo said:


Maldonado - B, Bx0.8 (includes giving up bandy, his performance and getting Sandoval in return)

I personally think that trade is an A.  Bandy, in his 2 years in Mil. has a combined -1.0 WAR.  Maldonado had a total of +2.1 WAR for the Angels.  Sure, they have Bandy for a few more years, but at this point he is hurting them, not helping.

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