After an average season, but some would say disappointing 85-77 season some big questions going into the off season would be, “Who is going to be the GM?” and “Who will play left field?” Not soon after the season concluded the Angels would name Billy Eppler to the GM position. One of the first moves he made in early November would be a really big trade that would be headlined by fan favorite and #1 prospect SS Erick Aybar and RHP Sean Newcomb to the Atlanta Braves for 2013 and 2014 gold glove winner SS Andrelton Simmons. At first look you might think to your self what were the Angels thinking. Aybar was a fan favorite and face that’s been there year in and year out. When you see Newcomb as part of the trade too and he was going to be the next big left-hander in the Majors after stating last season in single-a ball and just blowing through it. Then getting the call up to AA and dominating the end of the season there. After you look into Simmons and his years in ALT you realize that this kid (26 years old) can flat play defense. Offensively he is right around where Aybar was. Simmons will definitely be felt defensively more then anything else.
The second big roster move Eppler made in a trade was to get 3B Yunel Escobar from the Washington Nationals for RHP Trevor Gott. Escobar is more then likely going to replace David Freese who the Angels lost to FA. The power numbers definitely go to Freese but Escobar has a better batting ave. that is around .300. I think that was a big issue with the Angels last year. You have players that had huge power numbers (Trout 41 HR/ Pujols 40 HR) but both players had fewer than 100 RBI’s because no one was able to get on base for them to get in consistently. The Angels were 6th in HR’s in the AL last year. But was dead last in BA. and 13th in OBP. among AL teams.
The last move and biggest question mark would be what they do in left field. Left field was a complete black hole for the Angels. They used ten different players for that position trying to find the right answer. With a lot of free agents on the market this off-season everyone thought the Angels and the 7th highest payroll at 146 million dollars everyone thought they would pick up one player for that huge gap in left field. As the off-season went on more and more players came off the board. As for now the Angels have a LF by committee with Graig Gentry and Daniel Nava. Gentry’s last team was the Oakland A’s where he just played 26 games and only had 50 at bats. Nava last played for Boston Redsox and Tampa Bay Rays for the 2015 season. He played in 60 games and 139 at bats. Both not use to full time playing time.
My option is that it is unfortunate that we couldn’t get a big name player to fill the LF position. At the end of the day I think it was the right move to pass on those players for the money they wanted. Its great to get players to fill the gaps on the team but when you have to over pay for them and they don’t produce the way you need to it can set your team back years at that position.(Hamilton) Like I said early left field was so bad last year and we still where in it up to the final days and only finished 3 games back of the division and 1 game back of the final WC spot. If we can do anything better then last year it will be a plus. We don’t need left field to play great, we just need that position to play better. The bar is pretty low so I would like to think it is possible for improvement.