The October 27th, 2011 edition of daily news for the LA Angels including Angels begin to narrow the GM search, Friedman still hasn't ruled himself out, Oppenheimer no longer a candidate and much more...
The Monkey Says: This is a bit surprising because Oppenheimer had been gaining steam in the media and was generally considered a more viable option than Eppler. At least the Angels are starting to cull the candidates now which should put them on track to make a hire in time for the start of free agency.
The Monkey Says: This is actually fairly important. There is no real reason for him to keep his name in the mix if he is just going to turn them down. The longer he delays an official decision, the more likely it becomes that he will jump ship to the Halos. Combine this story with the one about Eppler and it makes me wonder if maybe these are related developments. I'm sure this is just a wild conspiracy theory, but perhaps Friedman has already quietly decided to take the Angels' president job and the remaining interviews are for a GM that will work under Friedman. I mean, they haven't even interviewed all their candidates yet and still think they are going to make a hire in the next week. It just doesn't add up. Of course, this theory kind of falls apart because one would think Friedman would want to hand pick his GM and he can't really do that without being involved in the interviews.
The Monkey Says: Again, how can they be days away from their decision when two prime candidates haven't even been in for an interview. Evans has been a GM before but has been out of the game for a number of years so he, as well as Levine, would both be the type that might be willing to serve as Friedman's top lieutenant.
The Monkey Says: Ng officially interviewed yesterday and could be an interesting fit since she has shown a great handle for the business side of the GM position. She, not unlike how Andrew Friedman has Gerry Hunsicker, would need a strong baseball person as her AGM to support her.
The Monkey Says: This is a scary thought until you consider the following: 1) Bowden is an idiot 2) Almost every single Angel GM candidate has been considered a frontrunner at some point, including the recently rejected Oppneheimer 3) Bowden is probably being fed some misinformation to throw people off their scent, as they like to do, which Bowden gobbled right up because he is an idiot.
The Monkey Says: Allow me to debunk this debunking. This goes beyond the "meddlesome Scioscia" theory, which is a valid concern, but is not entirely a bad thing because, you know, he is a GREAT manager. He isn't perfect, but savvy GMs will recognize that they are inheriting a manager who consistently gets the most out of his team. You can't get that in a lot of places. As for the payroll, that is only a major concern in 2012 as the budget clears up considerably after that. If a GM candidate believes they have long-term leeway, the constraints in 2012 should be of little concern. I almost don't even want to dignify the second team in LA bit. Whatever the pecking order is doesn't matter since the LA-OC market can clearly support both teams. In the rare case the Dodgers and Angels both vie for a player, it will come down to money 99% of the time, not team prestige. Show me an example of a free agent going to the Yankees for less money than the Mets were offering because the Yankees ware the top dog in NYC.
The Monkey Says: Saxon misses the point entirely here. We can argue up and down about Bane's production when he was with the Angels but it is besides the point because that is not why he was let go. Bane even admitted himself that the primary reason he was run out of town was because he did not get along with Tony Reagins at all, likely because Bane was upset he wasn't promoted to GM instead of Reagins. You can't bring back a guy who got fired for being insubordinate to his boss under the assumption that he will probably get along better with the new guy.
The Monkey Says: This is not the "real" ROY voted on by the baseball writers. This is a vote by MLB players instead, which is a nice feather in Trumbo's hat since it shows how much respect he has earned. However, writers will realize he had a .291 OBP, making him a longshot to win the real award.
The Monkey Says: Really? They couldn't find anyone else. Bell is barely even a real big leaguer and Thompson can't even convince his own manager to use him. How are either of these guys on the list for people to call for this little barnstorming trip?
The Monkey Says: The specific quote is "I think it's pretty safe to say that he's the best hitting, best catching, Italian catcher named Mike in the last 20 or 30 years that I know of." I'm as sick of the Scioscia-Napoli crap as much as anyone, but you have to admit, that is a pretty funny way to frame the argument.
Uh, CJ? Does the name Mike Piazza mean anything to you? We can't sign this guy just because of the stupidity of this statement, not because he collapsed into a bowl of Jell-o in the post-season.
So, Mark Saxon is once again going to try to convince us that Eddie Bane is a remarkable scout and evaluator of talent? I thought Steve Jobs held all the patents on the Reality Distortion Field™. And distorting reality isn't convincing me in this case.
It is now over seven years since Bane's first draft with the Angels. Plenty of time for even a 2004 high school player to reach the bigs (*coughmarktrumbowhoisalittlelate*). Mr. The Monkey wrote a post on October 1, 2010 giving the highlights (and lowlights) of Bane's draft history. The short recap is that the only player he drafted who is guaranteed a spot on the opening day roster of the Angels is Jered Weaver, considered by most to be a bit of an accident due to the teams ahead of the Angels financial inability to sign him and which made him Bane's very first draft pick. Sure, Bourjos, Trumbo, Walden and Conger could be with the team but many, too many, people seem Hell-bent on trading them.
I count, probably inaccurately, well over fifty Angels draft picks in the '10 draft. Due to a slight windfall that season I'll make the average Angels draft just under fifty, say forty nine. So, let's see…forty nine times seven drafts equals three hundred and forty three picks. I'll include Trumbo and Walden as "made its" even though they'd never have been there if the team had other warm bodies to turn to because I'm not going to include some names who might be there but haven't proven they still belong and could go either way (There's a good chance Mike Trout will start the season at Triple A and, let's face it, other first picks have not exactly reached superstar status.). And God bless Nick Adenhart but he could have just as easily flamed out, á la Tyler Chatwood.
For the sake of this argument, though, I'll count all four of those picks as starting the season with the Angels: one who made it, one who looks pretty well assured of making it (Bourjos) and two who are "sortas" who may or may not have a useful major league careers but are on the team due to lack of other options. Hmm, *maybe* four out of three hundred forty three total picks? I don't know. Is that above or below league average? If it's below then I'd say it was one of Reagins' better moves to dump him like his name was GMJ. If it's above league average then the league is in trouble. I realize most picks don't work out for anybody and a good number of them only work out after they've been traded a time or two. But these four encapsulate the sum total of his brilliance as of 4/12. I'm thinking we should shoot a little higher with our expectations.
I like your theory about Friedman having quietly accepted the job and think it's actually quite plausible. Maybe Oppenheimer wasn't "cut" by Arte, but took himself out of the running because he was told that he may not have as much autonomy as the GM as he would like because the Angels planned on hiring a strong and active president. Eppler, on the other hand, might still find the GM job attractive since he has less experience/seniority in the world of baseball FO execs and wouldn't mind less autonomy if he could gain experience as a GM. And maybe Arte and Carpino have run the list of potential GMs by Friedman already and were told by him which ones he would be willing to work with. I don't see Friedman bringing people with him from the Rays FO and causing a brain drain there due to his loyalty to Sternberg.
I've read a little more on Eppler. There's not much info about him out there but I'm beginning to warm to the idea of him joining the organization. He is the person who Cashman (whose specialty is administration) relies on for advice on which major league free agents to sign and which major and minor league players to trade for. The Yankees have traded well (Swisher, Granderson), and signed some fairly cheap FAs who paid nice dividends like Russell Martin, Freddy Garcia, and Bartolo Colon. Sounds like the perfect complement to Friedman, whose skill-set is more on the analytical than scouting side.
I hate to sound like I'm bagging on Mark Trumbo. I love the guy and hope the Angels keep him as insurance for Morales, either as starter or major fill-in after they cut Abreu. Maybe even an extended tryout at third, he's got the arm and I'll do anything to get Callaspo bumped out.