We're a few days away from free agency really opening, so it's not surprising that the biggest offseason news in Yankeeland is still coaching and front office staff-related. The Yankees just announced their new pair of hitting coaches for 2016 earlier this week, and prior to that they officially replaced the departed Billy Eppler by announcing that Tim Naehring is the new VP of Baseball Ops. The impact from those moves won't be felt until next season, but one move that could have an effect earlier is the departure of Eppler. He's settling in as the new GM of the Angels, with a new batch of concerns about building and rebuilding a roster to help get that club back to the playoffs. Coming from the position he was in with the Yankees, having heavy involvement in both the Minor and Major League parts of the organization, I can't help but wonder if that may influence some of the moves he tries to make this offseason.
We see it all the time when there's a new regime change. The new GM in town is always going to bring in a few guys from his previous organization who he was high on when he was there. There's going to be a whole bunch of players who are going to become MiL free agents and non-tender candidates in the near future, and outside the current Yankee braintrust, the person who knows the most about those Yankee players is Eppler. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Angels sign more than a couple former Yankee guys this offseason and I wouldn't be surprised to see them take a Yankee player in the Rule 5 draft if New York leaves somebody that Eppler liked unprotected.
Not that this is going to be any kind of pilfering of top talent or hurt the Yankees in a major way next year. If the Yankees are willing to let MiL guys sign with Anaheim, chances are they didn't see those guys having much of a future in their organization anyway. Nothing wrong with letting your org depth herd thin itself out in a situation like this. If one or two of them go on to do big things in Anaheim, so be it. That's baseball. Some guys get their chances in different ways. Who knows? Maybe losing a few players will make it easier to fill MiL rosters and make assignment decisions when that time comes next year.
As far as the potential for some trade activity between the Yanks and Angels this offseason, I suppose it's fair to say that Eppler being in place there doesn't hurt the chances of a deal coming together, but I wouldn't go as far as to say it helps. There simply isn't a good match of wants, haves, and needs between the 2 teams. Of course the Yankees would take Mike Trout, but Eppler isn't going to trade him and there's not really anybody after him who I think the Yanks would be interested in.
Never say never, and we'll find out more as the offseason progresses. But I'm more interested in seeing who, if anybody, Eppler tries to snag from the Yankees on smaller deals and how those losses effect their MiL plans for next year. He has to have a few guys in mind and I'm just curious to see who they are.