clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

WeekEnd HaloLinks: Eppler doubles down on Deadline Day

New, comments

Billy Eppler boldly announces to Baseball that he is all in for a playoff spot in 2017 by grabbing Justin Upton from the Tigers and Brandon Phillips from the Braves. We say goodbye to the great guy that is Cameron Maybin, and hello to more offense.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Off days are always such slow news days, especially when it's an off day for 1/3 of Baseball. It always makes it tough to find something fresh and of interest to write about and stir up some conversation.

Yesterday was not one of those days. Yesterday was a day when the season made a major pivot.

What it WAS, though, was a day when it was nigh impossible to find anything other than two things being published.

Billy Eppler took advantage of just enough farm depth and just enough desperation in Detroit to swing a huge upside in left field, by upselling Grayson Long (and another low-level farm hand to be figured out later) for hot-hitting slugger Justin Upton. With a roster spot needing to be cleared, Eppler sent Cameron Maybin through the waiver wire and let him go to the Houston Astros.

Welcome, Justin Upton.

Then, right about when all the initial excitement had started to settle down and we were just getting used to the new outfield makeup, Eppler doubled down and shook up the infield, sending Minor League catcher Tony Sanchez to Atlanta in exchange for Brandon Pjhillips. The deal in progress was first reported by Jon Heyman. Brandon Phillips, with a no-trade clause, had to dwell on the idea for a little while. The cost was Tony Sanchez.....PLUS the Angels pay Phillips his $500K trade bonus. And then, when we get tot he off season and Phillips becomes a FA, the Braves may try to get him back. I know we all have high hopes for Kaleb Cowart, but there is this little factoid:

Welcome, Brandon Phillips.

There are 31 calendar days left in the regular season, and the Angels get 3 of them off. They are just off the edge of the playoffs, and have gotten there with one of the very worst offenses in Major League Baseball. This won't make the Angels one of the very best offenses, but it should boost them into the middle of the pack, which should be enough for lots of optimism over these final 4 weeks. The curse of Josh Hamilton has officially been put to rest. Its' game BACK on!

Have the first ever No-More-Joshin'-Around Links:


______________________________
A Little Bit of Angels News

So here we are. The BIG QUESTION, of course, is where will we see Upton when his first lineup card is published? All sorts of post-publication Mike Scioscia psychoanalysis will be in play, for sure. Bandwagoners need to be educated here. Ever since Scioscia saw his career come to an end with the arrival of new wonder boy Mike Piazza, his entire career as a decision-maker has been one of choosing the veteran over the rookie, facts be damned. Well, as it happens, both Upton and Phillips are veterans. Only Kaleb Cowart is a loser here..........

But there are Upton takes aplenty, some even with suggestions. Let's run the bases: FanGraphs (where the Angels are still "not good").........RotoGraphs (where the Angels are...Good?)..........The LA Times (I can read today, since yesterday I was at my limit)..........Keith Law (for ESPN Insiders)..........OC Register (only because, I suppose, they get to talk to real LAA execs)..........Sports Illustrated (because it gives them something to publish other than swimsuit models)..........

Here's one way to look at it. About 18 months ago the Tigers took Justin Upton off the FA market. They found themselves so far on the wrong side of that market that they allowed themselves to get fleeced in order to shed the payroll liability they signed up for in the first place. If you can't hunt with the big dogs, don't get off the porch.........

In an alternate universe, what would life had been like had Albert Pujols signed with one of the other suitors back in 2011 and NOT with the Angels? Well, in those realities THOSE would be the teams that would not have that current superstar. Which begs the question: what superstar is that the Angels do NOT have because they DO have Albert Pujols?..........

Garrett Richards will be activated this weekend. There is even an outside chance that Richards starts as early as Monday, which would be against the Oakland A's. Do yourself a favor and wait for it to happen, and then take Richards one inning at a time before getting all excited..........

The Angels are in Arlington this weekend. Angel Killer #1, Adrian Beltre, is suffering hamstring issues and might be avoided. Angels Killer #2, Cole Hamels, is on the mound tonight. What the hell is it with Hamels? Did somebody in Anaheim kick his dog one time or something? He get booted off a ride at Disneyland? Looking at his career splits (small number alert!), the opponent against which he enjoys the lowest SLG percentage against is LAA. Same with Batting Average. OBP against is pretty low, too, so the Angels also own the worse OPS. AND one of the lowest BAbips, AND the lowest tOPS+. And he has one of the best WHIPs against us. Because of all that, he really prefers pitching in Angel Stadium...........Tomorrow's pitcher - A.J. Griffin - is not that much better...........And Sunday's Martin Perez is more in the same vein..........

Meanwhile, looking at Justin Upton's career splits (another small number alert!), his game don't play as strongly versus the AL West. Out of 30 possible opponents, his SLG against the Rangers comes in at 30th. Against the A's it's 27th. and against the Mariners it's 25th. Houston, though, he feasts there (4th best). He doesn't like playing in Arlington (29th worst SLG) or Oakland (26th) or Seattle (22nd). And he is not too fond of Houston (19th) or Anaheim (14th), either............

We all should have expected Alex Meyer to end up on the DL, just as all have been panicking at the idea of Fernando Salas sneaking his way back into the bullpen on the 25-man roster. Both of those things have happened. And now, for The Gripping Hand, we will have Scioscia inserting Salas into games where he will crater the amazing bullpen stats this crew has craftily built up over the season...........

______________________________
Josh Mayhood's Library of Mike Trout Hagiography

Mike Trout's Wednesday game was, as you might expect, somewhat historic. Considering that we live in The Age of K's, I would say it was more than even that.......

Barstool Sports does have a point..........

______________________________

Everywhere In Baseball

Justin Verlander, who was about to be traded to Houston, and then nixed the deal using his no-trade power, ended up getting traded to Houston after all. Normally I wouldn't give a shit about what some team does that is 327 games ahead of in the standings, but the Halos have to go through 6 games against Houston to cap a WC slow, and it's possible the Angels will now have to deal with Verlander twice to get there. They faced him once this year already, winning 4-1 back on May 14th. They have been doing about 50/50 against him over the past few years........

Sad news for absolutely nobody, Pete Rose is canned by FOX Sports. Can't be having a lying pedophile on camera representing. Nothing wrong with a lying gambler and philandering womanizer, but a pedophile? Nope. No way...........

As the season winds down, we enter that part of the year when the whispers about managerial job security start to creep into the national consciousness..........

The Minnesota Twins have a little magic going for themselves too. Over in Minneapolis, they call it The Chicago White Sox. the Twins are done with CWS, though. They do have 7 games left with a gutted Detroit team, but everything else is a contention..........

Cameron Maybin: "A VERY good defensive outfielder...". That comes to us from Richard Justice, MLB columnist (10 second mark). I really like Maybin, but no...........

Next Friday, the Brewers had the chance to catch the Cubs napping, perhaps literally, and steal a much-needed Win in their effort to snag a WC slot. The Cubs have a night game on Thursday, in Pittsburgh. Friday games at Wrigley are traditionally set for early afternoon starts. The Cubs want time to travel, sleep, show up rested. The Brewers want none of that and the original schedule was on their side. So the Cubs changed it. Now all hell is breaking loose.  Keep in mind that this is not the first time this season that the Brewers have called out the Cubs for shenanigans..........And some people find this all to be boring..........

Final game between the Astros and Rangers at The Trop: Astros win 5-1 in front of 3,385 paid. That makes the total paid attendance for the 3-game emergency set = 12,993 humans. None of whom would have been paying Diamond Club rates with preferred parking..........

ESPN, somewhat disappointed in the results of their myth-making of a Northeastern rookie baseball player out of Aaron Judge, has decided to move on and start their myth-making of a Northeaster rookie baseball player. Either Andrew Benintendi or Rafael Devers, whichever one satisfies their urge............

Here is our 2017 post-season schedule. Things could get dicey in our household at the end of October. I have already sunk thousands of dollars into a long trip to Salem, Mass for Halloween.........

______________________________

The Duffle Bag

A flock of birds refuses to stop flying around the infield, and halts a baseball game.......Justin Verlander, left behind on the railroad platform broken-hearted..........The Angels are not "in" on Otani. What? Is there some kind of crime committed to just take a look?..........NetFlix has a documentary out, recounting the story when a guy managed to escape wrongful prosecution for murder because he was at a Dodgers game, as proven by the filming of an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm............Not just ONE triple play in a game, but TWO. Both 5-4-3.......Tim Tebow WILL be back next season. And as long as Tebow is playing Minor League Baseball, you all know what THAT means:

______________________________

Jordan Serena Destiny Watch

On a day of so much incredible LAA news, it was determined that we fans could not handle the added overload of a Jordan Serena appearance, so he was given the night off. The 66ers, handicapped for our benefit, won anyway 5-3.......

______________________________



A little Off Topic, but in parting I share this news update concerning my oldest, and the HH member who brought me to this site more than a decade ago. When you read this article about the skeleton crew at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston who remained on duty through Hurricane Harvey and kept things going, your very own RubixsQube was one of the people on the JWST team they are writing about. By the time you read this, he will be out of Texas. But he got some very cool photos.