Los Angeles Angels GM Billy Eppler Has Big Job Ahead.

Apr 7, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons (2) poses with the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year award with general manager Billy Eppler (left) and manager Mike Scioscia (right) during a MLB baseball game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 7, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons (2) poses with the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year award with general manager Billy Eppler (left) and manager Mike Scioscia (right) during a MLB baseball game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The Los Angeles Angels have some holes to fill this winter and they have entrusted general manager Billy Eppler to build a better mouse trap for 2017.  This won’t be a very easy task with the lack of pitching depth and money.

The Los Angeles Angels will try to fill there major holes especially second base, left field, and the bullpen. So let’s look at each one of these categories and see what are the possible solutions to fill the holes.

Second Base

The Angels started 2016 with incumbent Johnny Giavotella holding onto the job by a thread.  Giavotella had a strong Spring and seemed to have improved one of his biggest weaknesses which was his defense.  However by mid-season the Angels patience with Johnny G. had grown thin.  When Giavotella went through a prolonged batting slump the Angels decided to make a move and DFA’ed Giavotella and then outrighted him to Triple-A Salt Lake and he was never heard from again.

More from Halo Hangout

In the last two months of the season the Angels went with a three-headed monster at second base.  Cliff Pennington and Gregorio Petit platooned for a time and then the Angels recalled prospect Kaleb Cowart. Cowart has been an Angels top prospect at third base for the last couple of seasons, but had shown the ability to hit consistently in the majors.

So with none of the three aforementioned players setting the league on fire the Angels are looking for answers to fill the second base void that many felt has existed since Howie Kendrick was traded to the Dodgers during the winter of 2014.  The Angels could choose to have Petit, Pennington, and Cowart battle it out in 2017 Spring Training, and see who is the last man standing.

Another option which like the first is not a popular one is to try and form a platoon at second.  They could either go with Cowart or Pennington for the lefty part of the platoon.  Petit would most likely be the right-handed side of such a platoon.

The final option would be to make a trade or try to find a free agent within the Angels budget.  This seems to be most popular option, but will the Angels choose to spend money on this position is the question.

Possible options are Martin Prado who can play both second and third.  Neil Walker was a trade target of the Angels last year but a deal was never done.  Walker could be risky as he underwent season-ending surgery on his back.  A final outside the box option would be Justin Turner.  Turner has played third for the past couple of years for the Dodgers, but he has play second base for multiple years in his career.

Want your voice heard? Join the Halo Hangout team!

Write for us!

Left Field

The next hole Eppler needs to fill is the left field spot.  The last two seasons the Angels have tried to get by with smoke and mirrors using a lot of untested talent and a few old guys as well.  The results have been abysmal.  The Angels have had the worst production in the majors from the left field spot both of the last two seasons.  So I would call this a major priority.

The options could be another platoon maybe with Jefry Marte and Rafael Ortega. This would be an upgrade from the past two seasons for sure, but still not what most people want. Another option is to just ride with Jefry Marte who had a breakout season in 2016.  His defense is the only question mark.  They could keep Ortega to be a late inning defensive replacement and start every now and then depending on how Marte is doing.

More from LA Angels News

The other options are either a trade or free agency.  There are some big fish out there in the free-agent market.  Yoenis Cespedes is out there again Carlos Beltran and Dexter Fowler could also be attractive options.  Andre Ethier of the Dodgers could be an option as could Yasiel PuigJosh Reddick is another option who could be a good fit in Anaheim.  A popular choice is for the Angels to bring AL Home Run champion Mark Trumbo back.  Trumbo could be a great fit, but he will be expensive.

Starting Pitching

As for starting pitching the Angels will probably be content to go with what they have right now with two pitchers coming back in 2018 in Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano. What the rotation could possibly look like if the Angels stand pat and everyone is healthy is the following.

#1 – Garrett Richards #2 Matt Shoemaker #3 Tyler Skaggs #4 Ricky Nolasco

#5 Alex Meyer, Daniel Wright, or Nate Smith.

So what  could the Angels do to bolster the staff or least provide some depth is to sign a pitcher like a Jered Weaver or Jhoulys Chacin who could take the #5 spot in the rotation putting Alex Meyer and/or Daniel Wright in the bullpen.

The other options are looking to pick up a pitcher in the free agent market which is very thin this year.  Because of lack of quality pitchers in the free agent market you most likely going to overpay for some marginal talent. The top option are the 37-year old crafty veteran Rich Hill.  The marginally effective Jeremy Hellickson, or the inconsistent Ivan Nova. None of these names will excite anyone.  This is why Weaver and Chacin might be worth pursuing instead.

The other option is to pursue a trade. Eppler did a great job getting a top prospect in Alex Meyer plus a decent pitcher in Ricky Nolasco for the inconsistent Hector Santiago.  Can Eppler pull off another heist this off-season,  we will find out.  He could use a number of players as trade bait such as Kole Calhoun, or Yunel Escobar that could fetch a decent starting pitcher maybe two if you’re lucky.  However, this may open up another hole on the Angels roster which they cannot afford to do.

Next: Angels Injury Updates

Honestly I would be surprised if the Angels trade Kole Calhoun with nothing in the cupboard to replace him with.  Escobar is more of a possibility as the Angels could put Jefry Marte at third if Escobar were traded.  So as I first stated at the beginning of this story, Billy Eppler and his staff have a lot of work to do this off-season, but this is why he gets paid the big bucks, right?