Billy Eppler has made some amazing deals and generally is very well respected around these parts. Of course no one is perfect and he has also made some terrible deals. We’re going to look at waiver claims, trades, and free agent signings and focus mainly on big league contracts and/or those who’ve made enough of a big league impact (like Eric Young Jr.).
Kirby Yates claimed off waivers from the Yankees
Verdict: SEE BELOW. Yates didn’t stick with the Angels
Abel De Los Santos claimed off waivers from the Yankees
Verdict: TBD. De Los Santos was DFA’d and ended up on the BayBears. He’s had a decent season there with a 3.42 ERA and 1.10 WHIP with 27 Ks to 6 walks in 23.2 innings. He’s had limited time on the mound due to a pair of DL stints. So far so good with this one.
Traded Victor Alcantara to the Tigers for Cameron Maybin (8 Million for 2017)
Verdict: WIN. Maybin struggled early and has been on the DL but has been a much needed boost on the base paths and in left field overall. Alcantara has done well in AA this year with a 2.66 ERA but has a 1.39 WHIP and has walked 24 in 44 innings. He had a 16 inning call up to AAA but did not perform well and was sent back down to AA.
Signed free agent Andrew Bailey (1 Million / 1 year)
Verdict: TBD. Bailey only pitched 3 innings before landing on the DL. In hindsight, the price was too high for him not pitching all year but Eppler could not have predicted that. He’s on rehab and should be back soon, so the verdict will be in by the end of the year perhaps.
Signed free agent Jesse Chavez (5.75 Million / 1 year)
Verdict: MEH. The Angels needed pitchers and not many were out there. The Dodgers paid a really steep price for Rich Hill who has a 3.47 ERA and 1.0 WAR this year but the Angels didn’t have that kind of money and the Dodgers over paid. Chavez has not been all that good this year and now he’s in the bullpen. The final verdict is this was probably a move Eppler had to make but one he also probably knew he wouldn’t get a great result from.
Traded Jared Ruxer to the Royals for Brooks Pounders
Verdict: MEH. Ruxer has never been that great of a pitcher (despite being a 12th round pick) and in 6 AA innings this year has given up 11 runs. In high A, the 25 year old has a 3.26 ERA through 85 innings. Pounders has been pretty good in AAA with a 3.24 ERA but so far has shown he can’t pitch well in the majors and has given up 12 ER in 10.1 innings. This trade was pretty much a wash but was worth a shot.
Traded Austin Adams to the Nationals for Danny Espinosa
Verdict: STRUCK OUT LOOKING. This trade was a disaster for the Angels who still owe Espinosa money even though he now plays for the Mariners. It was worth a shot since the Angels needed a second baseman but it’s nothing but an F grade for Eppler. Adams has a 2.49 ERA in AA this season with 77 Ks and 36 walks in 50.2 innings. He made his big league debut in July but didn’t get an out in the 4 batters he faced (Hit batter, two walks, single). Adams has some serious control issues but could be a good pickup for the Nationals who didn’t need Espinosa anyway.
Traded Jett Bandy for Martin Maldanado and Drew Gagnon
Verdict: WIN. This trade didn’t go over so well at the time, but has worked out very much in the Angels favor. Maldando has the 4th most plus calls in all of baseball, the best fielding percentage, and a 40% caught stealing rate. Bandy has only caught 17% of runners and has negative plus calls. When it comes to catcher defense, the trade value isn’t even close. Maldando who had a great first half at the plate, has a paltry .134 AVG in the second half which is why this trade is a win and not huge win since Maldanado has become one of the surest outs in the lineup. Drew Gagnon is a throw in on this trade and he’s having a rough year in Salt Lake so this verdict is based mainly on the catcher swap. Nice work Eppler.
Claimed Blake Parker off waivers from the Brewers
Verdict: HOME RUN. Parker almost got away from the Angels and this season may look differently if he had. Parker has the second best pitching WAR on the team behind Yusmiero Petit. He has a 2.49 ERA, .179 BAA, 0.91 WHIP, and 64 Ks in 50.2 IP. Awesome work by Eppler for a guy like this who’s getting paid league minimum and was claimed off waivers twice last off season.
Signed free agent Ben Revere (4 Million / 1 year)
Verdict: NOT GREAT. Ben Revere has been heating up lately but has a -0.3 WAR this season and is getting paid a good chunk of money. Thanks to a solid second half, he saves Eppler from a failing grade. Revere had a .229 AVG in the first half but since the break is hitting .333 with a .369 OBP. If he can keep his second half performance the way it is, this turns out to be a win for Eppler.
Signed free agent Luis Valbuena (15 Million / 2 years)
Verdict: STRIKE OUT. Eppler’s idea was to get some left handed power in the lineup - I get it. But the execution failed. Valbuena has been dead weight and has taken playing time away from guys like CJ Cron who are better. Let’s face it - most people are better than Valbuena who is batting .186 with a -1.0 WAR. Sadly we are stuck with him next year as well unless Eppler gets creative and there is a chance he’ll be much better in 2018 - no where to go but up??
Signed free agent Eric Young Jr (minor league deal)
Verdict: HOME RUN. EYJ hasn’t played in the big league a lot but he made a HUGE impact when did and was even replacing Mike Trout’s value for a bit. He put up a 0.7 WAR in only 96 ABs which is 6th best on the team behind Trout, Simmons, Maldanado, Maybin, and Escobar.
Signed free agent Bud Norris (minor league deal)
Verdict: WIN. Norris has fallen off a cliff in the second half but he was a stud in the first half with a 2.60 ERA, 1.046 WHIP and .183 BAA. Now he’s throwing batting practice and has taken a potential huge win down to just a win. He’s probably lost his closer role but you never know...
Angels signed free agent Yusmeiro Petit (2.25 million / 1 year)
Verdict: HOME RUN. Petit has the most pitching WAR on the team. Yep, more than any of the starters even. He has a 2.39 ERA this season and 0.98 WHIP. When the Angels DID call on him to start a game in July, he went 4 innings and didn’t allow an earned run. This was a huge win for Eppler.
Traded cash to the Orioles for Parker Bridwell
Verdict: HOME RUN. Bridwell was a huge pickup for Eppler and at the moment is one of the team’s best pitchers. He’s definitely been the most reliable guy in the 2nd half where he has put up a staff best 0.7 WAR, has a 3-0 record and a 2.76 ERA with a 3.47 FIP.
Lost Kirby Yates to the Padres via waiver claim
Verdict: SWING AND MISS. The Angels had a crowded bullpen so had to make a move. Letting Yates go was a bummer. Yates has been one of the better guys out of the pen for San Diego and has a 3.55 ERA in 38 IP. He also has a 1.132 WHIP and 56 Ks in 38 IP.
Traded the Braves for David Hernadez
Verdict: HOME RUN. The Angels got Hernandez for nothing and he put up a 2.38 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 36.1 innings. He was a huge part of the 1st half bullpen success story.
Lost Jose Valdez to Padres via waiver claim
Verdict: HOME RUN. The Angels need to cut Valdez who put up a 6.30 ERA in 10 innings for the Padres and has since been demoted him to AAA.
Signed free agent Doug Fister
Verdict: SWING AND MISS. It was worth the effort but Fister never did much for the Bees and didn’t make the Angels roster before he was cut. Nice try by Eppler but he missed on this one.
Traded David Hernandez to the Diamondbacks for Luis Madero
Verdict: TBD. The Angels may have needed Hernandez if they are going to make a wild card run but they traded a guy they got for nothing for a lottery pick minor leaguer. Madero has a 5.53 ERA across 3 levels and 57 IP so far in 2017. Way too early to know if this trade will yield anything of value. If it doesn’t and the Angels just miss a wildcard spot - this could end up a bad deal for the team.