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TuesdoLinks: Eppler era begins, Arte offers $$

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Looking quite New York business-like rather than SoCal polo casual, LAA execs rolled out Billy Eppler to the public. But what strikes fear in the hearts of AL West opponents, Eppler or Arte re-opening his wallet??

What might have been...
What might have been...

I heard all that I needed to hear in yesterday's press conference to know that I need to shelve my hope for major shakeups around Anaheim. This happened when newly introduced Arte employee Billy Eppard said, pretty much, "I see my job as gathering and assembling the information, making a recommendation, and taking that to the powers that be. From there we execute." Eppler does not see himself as one of the "powers that be". He is the General Recommender.

Questions I wish I heard asked of Eppler, but didn't, would include those around scouting (what are his feelings about the size and scope of a scouting department?); International efforts (how high on his priority list would International research, development and signings?); player type (high school versus college, and what position priorities?); and how about getting to build a team around the very best player in all of Major League Baseball?

Also, what the heck is this supposed to mean? This comes across as "Dude, I worked for the Yankees. Who's gonna argue with THAT??"

All that research about Eppler being an analytics kind of guy? "I believe that they're a compliment to decision-making, not the driver of decision-making.".

By the way, if my math is right I think Eppler sits at #20 in next year's draft. If there is one solid disappointment I can pin on Dipoto it would be his drafts, even considering that his were mostly later round drafts. And Dipoto, like Eppler, came to us with a scouting pedigree. We need Eppler to do tons better, and faster..........


[OT: I am one sick dude. All this baseballing hobby stuff is STILL not enough to cleanse my soul. I missed the second half of last night's NFL game and was watching the highlights on my laptop in silence much later. I was only then learning the outcome and had not read anything about the game. And when I saw the Kam Chancellor play at the end and observed KJ Wright swatting the ball out the back of the end zone, my first reaction was "He can't do that, it's illegal!" So, yeah, I am that Cliff Claven type jerk who sits at the end of the bar and DOES know way too many NFL rules.)


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Angels Baseball

Big Splash: Eppler got the job, and great for him. But at what point after Dipoto resigned on July 1 was this gig opening considered "coveted"?..........

Arte Moreno: In a 180 degree turn towards the reality created by his very own meddling, Arte has made a public declaration that he is willing to use his wallet to "do whatever is needed". This removes a critical set of shackles he had imposed on Eppler's predecessor, granting some much-needed flexibility to purchase a talent bridge between now and when a restocked farm system might restore a native pipeline. Of course, it must be said that Dipoto most likely pushed back the year when that pipeline would be in place with less than brilliant drafting, overall (focusing, of course, on draft choices beyond his missing #1's). The real problem, though, is how breaking the luxury tax can hurt an owner when done in consecutive years. It's a strategic window of opportunity to go over the line this year (read the link). Long term, we shall see how Arte's financial goodwill benefitting Eppler endures............

Trout Porn: Well, not quite. Mostly it's how the Angels managed to miss the playoffs in spite of having Mike Trout. SBN goes in the direction of the old trope that having a Mike Trout should make for some kind of assurance, which ignores the drag coming from the rest of a franchise AND ignores the real probability that without Trout, this team might have finished the last 4 seasons at 3rd/4th/2nd/4th instead of 3rd/3rd/1st/3rd. Baseball Prospectus is more damning, adding some Sosh decision-making and more context to Dipoto-forgiving.........We really, really need to get Trout into a World Series and let him kick ass like he does in the All-Star game, so he can settle this jWAR issue once and for all..........Time for everybody to get out and click up Trout to repeat as 2015 AL MLB Hank Aaron Award winner...........

Future Shock: It's finally our turn at the dais for a 2015 season post-mortem. The good news is that the Angels were the final team in all of baseball to die off before the playoffs. The bad news, of course, is that this is our window for being a playoff team and that window is sliding shut ever so slowly. At least, that is, from OUR perspective. From the perspective of outsiders, such as the author here, that window sliding action is going to accelerate quickly unless Eppler can perform some serious off-season magic. "Considering that the Astros were expected to have a great team by 2016 and have just performed better than expected early on, that the Mariners played far below expectations and should be much better next year and that the Rangers were better than all of these down the stretch this year, the Angels will likely have much trouble being even as successful as they were this year in the coming seasons.In other words, 4th place. But that would be counting out Billy Beane (or, more accurately, David Forst)...........

Jered Weaver: "What Will Weaver Do?" will become a topic of serious discussion from here on out. Even Weave is wondering. But here is a factoid that really opens some eyes, buried deep in this MLB review of 2015: "Jered Weaver threw an amazing 520 pitches slower than 70 mph. According to Baseball Savant, that’s the second-highest total for a right-handed, non-knuckleball pitcher in the PITCHf/x era, which started in 2007. "...........

Chris Iannetta: Iannetta cleaned out his locker and was carted off into the sunset yesterday, nearly alone. Before you get all teary-eyed and everything, know that Iannetta has made $24,592,000 so far in his MLB career...........

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Elsewhere in Baseball


Reject: The City of San Jose found itself blocked at the doorstep of the anti-fan U.S. Supreme Court yesterday in their effort to sue the anti-Oakland MLB on anti-trust grounds for how the MLB's anti-competition territorial rules prevented the A's franchise from moving 30 miles further away from their current territorial competitor. Yep, sounds about right to me..........

Sayonara: Dan Haren has announced his retirement, effective as soon as his season manages to end. My guess is that he the sooner he returns to Southern California, the sooner he might run into 5thStarter while shopping for groceries............

C.C. Sabathia: This is a shocking turn of events. Sabathia has some serious personal problems and finally came to grips with them, announcing that he is an alcoholic. He is checking himself into rehab immediately (as Rangers supporters pretend like none of this has any message for them). Now Yankee fans join in that uncomfortable dichotomy of supporting the life of a player ruined by alcohol on the one hand, while on the other hand grinning madly at the images of their heroes dousing themselves with champagne and beer..........

Dept. of What Have You Done For Me Lately?: Matt Williams, the reigning National League Manager of the Year, was canned along with his entire staff by the management of the franchise that was predicted my many to be the LA Angels' competition in this year's World Series. Since Williams doesn't actually play in the games, does this mean Williams should have had a 10-year extension if his players had only performed better and played up to their abilities?...............Over in Phoenix, the Diamondbacks took all of 17 hours to fire their pitching coach, Mike Harkey. It should be noted that in his two seasons the DBacks staff went from an ERA of 4.26 in 2014, 14th in the NL and 26th in all baseball, up to 4.04 this season, good for the 16th spot overall and 9th in the NL...........

Speed Kills: Did you feel it? The MLB change of pace rules shaved off an average of 6 minutes per game. I wonder what this means to advertising revenue?..........

HoF: The Baseball Hall of Fame has several special committees that nominate and elect people to the Hall. One of those is the Pre-Integration Committee. Their candidates for consideration this year include a few guys who are not any more deserving than Jim Fregosi, Bobby Grich or Chuck Finley. Also, Sam Breadon is getting a hell of a lot of credit for what Branch Rickey was doing as his employee.........


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