The December 10, 2015 edition of Los Angeles Angels news is a Winter Meetings postmortem of sorts, including the addition of yet another fourth outfielder option, a quintet of Rule 5 draftees getting selected, and more…
MWAH Says: The club’s biggest move of the Winter Meetings wasn’t even a guaranteed contract. Gentry effectively takes over Collin Cowgill’s spot on the roster (for about the same money), bringing a similarly strong glove but much more upside at the plate. The 32-year-old has struggled to stay on the field the last two seasons, which explains why his MLB contract is a non-guaranteed one. If he’s not healthy by the end of spring and/or not performing, the Angels can leave him off the active roster and his $1 million deal gets either negotiated down or he elects for free agency.
MWAH Says: Pretty weird selections for the Angels in the MLB phase of the draft. Both Guerra and Choi were free agents when the winter started—Guerra until this past Monday!—meaning the Halos had the opportunity to sign both players without surrendering two spots on the active roster like they just did. I don’t know either. In the Triple-A phase, stockpiling relievers was the name of the game, as LHP Ariel Ovando, RHP Blayne Weller, and RHP D.J. Johnson got picked up. Of the five, I give Choi the best chance of snagging a spot on the Opening Day roster. His stiffest competition right now is Efren Navarro, who’s OK but pretty uninspiring. Ovando, 22, is probably the most intriguing, as he just converted to pitching in 2015 and proceeded to strike out 14 per nine in 21 innings of Rookie ball.
MWAH Says: Welp, there goes my 2016 choice for “guy who takes most of Cesar Ramos’ LOOGY innings.” O’Grady was solid at two levels (AA & AAA) this past season, so I’d give him a pretty good chance of sticking in Cincinnati’s bullpen as a low-leverage guy. Bummed that the Angels didn’t protect him from the draft. Hope it doesn’t come back to haunt them.
MWAH Says: Ughhhhhhh. How is this still a thing now, in the second week of December??? Could he not lay out specific parameters, like, a month ago? Moreno seems to be an expert at tying the hands of his own front office, whether it’s mandating moves the GM would rather not make, vetoing moves the GM would really like to make, or being non-committal about what funds are available. By not giving Eppler a direct “yes” or “no”—even one qualified for certain players—Moreno is potentially backing the team into a corner. There are only so many veteran bench types they can add to the fringe of the roster to bide time. Pretty soon, the best guys will be gone and desperation will start to kick in. And we know how that goes.
MWAH Says: Eppler reportedly calls Scioscia via Bluetooth every morning as he commutes in from Laguna Beach. So much potential podcast time gone to waste. Sad. Sincerely, though, I think it’s great they’re so adamant about maintaining constant, open communication. The early (re-)hires of Ron Roenicke and Bud Black were obviously an olive branch, and now that initial goodwill will hopefully carry over into a strong relationship between manager and GM. Whether you believe Scioscia is calling the shots or not, it’s beneficial to everyone to have the front office and the dugout working in simpatico.
MWAH Says: I’m hopeful the Angels are one of those “other teams”, because man the market for infielders is thin now that Neil Walker, Brett Lawrie, Asdrubal Cabrera and Ben Zobrist are taken. Matsuda, 32, is known as a strong defensive third baseman (4 Gold Gloves) with an OK bat. He’s a free agent, so he should come much cheaper than any posted NPB player. Really, just anything to avoid throwing money at Daniel Murphy would be great.