Success outside of Free Agency
When Eppler is allowed to work the way he wants to his success is second-to-one. His success with working the trade market is already notable as I mentioned before and his eye for valuable waiver wire pieces stands at the top of the game. His ability to build a prominent and talented farm and promote a progressive developmental system saved the Angels long-term outlook in quite a number of ways.
Building the farm went far beyond securing the future in terms of prospects, it also secured the future of Mike Trout because of the fact that he loved the outlook of the promising farm system that he could play with for more than a decade to come. The value of prospects such as Brandon Marsh, Griffin Canning and the future superstar Jo Adell go far beyond their own personal value because they kept Mike Trout wanting to stay in Anaheim.
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In fact you could make the argument that the last few years of drafting have been the most successful in the history of the team because those drafts secured Mike Trout.
The Eppler magic doesn’t end there; not only did he draft with a level of competency we haven’t seen with the Angels in a long time (if ever), not only did he entice Mike Trout to stay here for life, but he also attracted one of the most intriguing free agents in a long time in Shohei Ohtani.
It’s not often you get to cover multiple spots with one player at an All-Star level unless it’s a multi-positional player, yet being able to secure All-Star starting pitching and an All-Star bat in one player. That’s bigger than a “once in a lifetime” signing, that’s a “once in a century” type signing. People may complain that he can’t secure prime starting pitching, but he literally did that last year by snagging the youngest, cheapest, and most talented pitcher on the market.
Let’s not forget the foresight Eppler had in preparing for Scioscia’s departure by hiring Brad Ausmus to work inside the organization as a special assistant to the GM and become acclimated with the system for a full year become putting on the manager uniform.
Eppler is the type of GM that prepares for today, tomorrow, and tomorrows tomorrow, this organization hasn’t had talent or intellgence with their GMs on this level in ever possibly. The fact that the Angels are still competing for a 2nd Wild Card spot with the starting pitching in such shambles is a testament to the leadership, patience, and his skills in developing deep player-manager relationships.
This Angels team being spear-headed by Eppler and Ausmus offers the such strong promise that you could argue this team can is more promising than the 2002 Angels squad, all we need is a couple of ace pitchers and we already have one on his way back in Shohei Ohtani.