L.A. Angels Insider 2015-2016 Offseason Tracker: Murphy, Freese, DeJesus, Molina

David Murphy of the Los Angeles Angels. Courtesy of the LA Times
David Murphy of the Los Angeles Angels. Courtesy of the LA Times.

Welcome to the LA Angels Insider Offseason Tracker! The five-day window to negotiate with Angels players will be eligible for free agency has begun! Wonder if they will work something out with David Freese. Do they need another starting pitcher? How much bullpen help do they need? Is Carlos Perez ready to be the new every day catcher? There are needs in left field, third base, and catcher that definitely need to be addressed. How much pitching they need is up in the air. But we’ll find out soon enough.

Friday, November 6
  • The Angels did not offer third baseman David Freese a qualifying offer on Friday. This was no surprise, given that Freese is mainly a solid average-to-above average player at the hot corner, although he deepened the bottom of the Halos’ batting order when healthy. There is every possibility Freese will re-sign, but he has enough value to test the free agent market and receive significant offers. The one problem the Halos are facing is that if Freese walks, there is a very, very thin third base market out there. As of right now, unless Billy Eppler pulls a rabbit out and acquires an Evan Longoria-type, the best option is to bring Freese back.
  • David DeJesus had his $5 million dollar option declined by the Angels. This is no surprise either. And I don’t think I really need to go into detail about this one.
  • Former Angels catcher Jose Molina was hired by the organization as catching coordinator. Jose was the Halos backup catcher to his brother Bengie from 2001-2007. Molina will instruct the Angels’ minor league catchers, aiding in the club’s quest to improve it’s system. The Angels have to had the same high-quality catching tandem since the Molina Brothers. But young backstop Carlos Perez is showing similar promise. Molina will be a source of elite instruction for Angels catchers.
Wednesday, November 4
  • David Murphy’s $7 million dollar option was declined, and will instead pay the left-handed hitting outfielder a $500k buyout. The Angels acquired Murphy on July 28 from the Cleveland Indians for minor-league infielder Eric Stamens. In 48 games for the Angels, Murphy slashed .265/.281/.400 with 5 home runs and 23 RBI over 162 plate appearances, playing almost exclusively against right-handed pitchers.
  • The Angels may try to bring Murphy back at a lower salary. The only thing standing in their way, besides other offers, would be that Murphy is 34, and that his career stats stats show he’s much better against righties. That would mean the Halos would still have to rely on yet another platoon bat in left field in 2016.
Tuesday, November 3
  • Former Major League starting pitcher Charles Nagy is now the Angels’ new pitching coach. The announcement was made on the evening of Monday, November 2. Nagy, a former All-Star with the Cleveland Indians in the mid-to-late-1990’s, recently helmed the Arizona Diamondbacks pitching staff. The former righty was also the Halos’ AAA pitching coach in 2006-2007. So there’s a past connection which probably helped both parties with this decision. He will be replacing Mike Butcher, who was recently dismissed as pitching coach.
  • Reports have been flying in about the likelihood of assistant hitting coach Dave Hansen being promoted to hitting coach. This seems to make a lot of sense, as Angels hitters are familiar with Hansen. The former Dodger lefty pinch-hitting specialist has worked hands on with the club’s offense the last two seasons, and reported to primary hitting coach Don Baylor, who was recently let go along with Butcher on the same day.


Here is the remaining offseason deadline schedule:
  • Nov. 7: Players are eligible to sign with any team they choose.
  • Nov. 13: Deadline for players to decide on qualifying offers. Deadline: 5pm ET.
  • Nov. 9-12: General Managers Meetings in Florida.
  • Dec. 2: Non-tender deadline.
  • Dec. 7-10: Winter Meetings in Nashville.
  • Dec. 10: Rule 5 Draft.

We will have updates as more stories develop!

Angels acquire SS Andrelton Simmons from Braves


New Angels general manager Billy Eppler makes a bold move to shore up the shortstop position long term by acquiring the two-time Gold Glove winner today.

Angels send SS Eric Aybar, SP Sean Newcomb, SP Chris Ellis and cash for the 26 year old Simmons and C Jose Briceno.

Andrelton Simmons Highlights: http://youtu.be/wtlakXaCDdU

Angels will miss Aybar in the clubhouse but the impending free agent was noticeably a step slower on defense and it was unlikely the Angels would want to give the 32 year old the 4 year deal he will seek.

Simmons is still a work in progress offensively but his last two seasons are virtually the same as Aybar.

Losing top pitching prospect Sean Newcomb could haunt the team but he was not expected to be in the Halos rotation in 2016. If Newcomb finds his command Atlanta will have themselves a fine starter.

Familiar Story from Dogertown

Questions surround future of Mattingly after Dodgers’ exit
(via http://thesco.re/theScore_app )


Is this the future of baseball? The game is now going to be run by three guys in a luxury suite running algorithms based upon nighttime ballpark effects during a half-moon with 27% precipitation in the air? I’m not against advanced statistics at all. They are helpful and interesting and need to be embraced. They should help inform a managers decision in certain situations but beyond that they’re still just suggestions and educated guesses. The Dodgers didn’t lose because Donny Baseball wasn’t taking orders properly. That’s like saying the Angels placed 3rd behind Texas and Houston because they didn’t shift enough. No, the answer is the 2015 roster was just not as good as 2014’s. That was obvious from the start. LA ran into a hot Mets team and shit hapens. GM’s need to worry about improving their ballclubs and less time trying to play real-life Strat-O-Matic with their coaching staffs.

Billy Eppler Is the Angels New GM

during a baseball spring training workout Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011, at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
during a baseball spring training workout Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011, at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

The wait is finally over! Former New York Yankees Assistant GM Billy Eppler will be hired as the Angels’ new GM.

Here’s a statement from Arte Moreno and Eppler!

The Angels may be in good hands.