Billy Eppler had a lot of work to do in his first off-season, and part of that included saying goodbye to some longtime, and some short time, Angels. With almost a month of the 2016 season under way, let's do a little audit of Billy's castaways, checking out how some of these old Angels friends are doing on their new clubs.
This is the big one. Aybar was a fixture at the Angels SS position, and when he was traded(along with a couple big time prospects), fans couldn't help but be sad to see him go, no matter how good we all knew Andrelton Simmons was going to be in Anaheim. Well...I love ya, Aybar, but looking at his current numbers with the Braves, it's safe to say this was a genius move by Eppler. Aybar is currently slashing .155 avg/ .176 OBP/ .373 OPS, with a whopping -0.7 WAR.
Aybar is basically on pace for not only his worst season, but a disastrous finish that would have the Braves front office banging their heads against the nearest wall they can find. Meanwhile, Simmons is making highlight reel plays almost every game, and we've already fallen in love and begun to move on from our former scrappy shortstop flame. If I have one wish for a player outside of Angels guys this season, it'd probably be for Aybar to get in a groove and make some Braves fans happy. Trust me, both he and that team desperately need it.
Gott, a young reliever originally brought over in the Huston Street deal, was sent packing in the Yunel Escobar deal. This is another one that seems to have worked out like gangbusters for the Angels and Billy Eppler. While Escobar has been a leadoff hitter match made in heaven for Los Angeles, Gott wasn't even able to make it on the Opening Day roster of the Nats. He's still in AAA, but with a recent injury to Washington reliever Matt Belisle, maybe that opens up the door for him. Maybe not. Of course, with some pretty ugly bullpen failings in the young season, maybe the Angels could use a guy like him.
They could also use a leadoff hitter, though...possibly moreso than needing a Trevor Gott in the bullpen. So it's worked out nicely so far.
Iannetta was allowed to walk, and the team made it clear they were going in another direction. Meanwhile, Jerry Dipoto, who brought Iannetta to Anaheim to begin with, gave him a deal and brought him on to the Mariners. He's doing exactly how you'd expect him to, currently batting .250 with an OPS of .775. He's got a full time job on the team, but as of now, he's not having some sort of renaissance like Matt Joyce is. Destructobeam is being plain ol' Destructobeam. Give me Carlos Perez, Geovany Soto or Jett Bandy any day.
The 2015 Left Field Black Hole(David DeJesus, David Murphy, Matt Joyce, Shane Victorino):
David DeJesus isn't even playing on an MLB team right now.
Neither is Shane Victorino
David Murphy just retired.
So that right there shows just how awful last year's LF was; three of the guys we put out there almost every day aren't even playing baseball now, just seven months after they last put on Angels jerseys. That's so hilarious, as well as extremely sad.
Matt Joyce is the anomaly. He was picked up by the Pirates and made the Opening Day roster coming out of Spring Training. He's currently batting .320 with an OPS of 1.100. Insane, right? Where was this guy last year? There's a good chance that production tapers off, but still, we didn't even see anywhere near that level of play out the gate last season. Through his first 21 games with the Angels last year, he was batting .143 with an OPS of .382. Weird.
Billy Eppler's platoon concoction has yet to really see extended time on the field, as Daniel Nava has been injured a bit. But when he was playing, he looked better than Joyce did in an Angels uniform, as do Craig Gentry and Rafael Ortega. Eppler has already improved that position, but the bar was about as low as possible to begin with.
Freese wasn't offered anything from the Angels, and in fact, when all the free agent dust had mostly settled coming into Spring Training, he was still without a team. That is until the Pirates swooped him up for a bargain price, and right now, they're getting an OK return on the $3 mil they spent. He's batting .276 currently, with an OPS of .766, and he's solidified his job as the Pirates' starting 3B. Worked out well enough for old David Freese, but with the way Escobar is playing for the Halos thus far, can't say I am missing him. Like Matt Joyce, he seems to have landed safely in Pittsburgh, and good for him.
I'll include Mat Latos here, even though he was basically with the Angels for a cup of coffee last year. He was not that good. At all. Yet now he's with the White Sox, and is currently 4-0 with a 0.74 ERA. LOLWUT?!?! I blame Mike Butcher!
Butch seems up to his old tricks with some of the staff there in Arizona. Check out these numbers for Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller:
Greinke 30IP 39 Hits 6+ ERA
S. Miller 14IP 19 Hits 8+ ERA
The Diamondbacks are 11-11 which is not good, but like the AL West, the NL West is a complete toss up right now, and they can probably absorb this slow start and still get something going later on in the season. Better throw more sliders, Butch, just to be sure, though.