Some rumblings from around the AL West…
- “We are a point where we feel complete with our club,” Angels GM Billy Eppler tells MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger, as the Halos feels they made enough short-term additions to be able to compete in 2019. The club was cautious about not dealing any of its top prospects from a farm system that has undergone a major rebuild in recent years, and Los Angeles didn’t splurge on any long-term free agent commitments. That said, the Angels’ focus on short-term signings “wasn’t scripted,” as Eppler put it. “There were some players that we engaged on and made offers to that would’ve been multi-year commitments. Those didn’t work out for a couple different reasons. But shorter-term deals work in a variety of ways — they keep you flexible, and they keep you open to doing things both during the season and in succeeding seasons.” Some type of a reload was necessary for the team, given both the sorry state of the Angels’ minor league pipeline just a few years ago and the number of ill-fated big contracts that didn’t pan out. Still, the Angels are on something of a clock to get back into contention, given that Mike Trout is only under contract for two more seasons.
- Matt Chapman provided an update on his health status in the wake of offseason thumb and shoulder surgery, telling reporters (including the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser) that he’ll be in the lineup when the Athletics begin their season on March 20 in Tokyo. The third baseman could miss a few early Spring Training games as he recovers, however, noting “it’s hard to say when everything will be a full go.” Chapman expressed some regret at waiting until December to undergo his shoulder procedure, as he said the joint was giving him some discomfort during the season but he thought some downtime would correct the issue. While the A’s will certainly be cautious about their star during the spring, it doesn’t yet seem Chapman is in any danger of missing any regular season action.
- Outfield prospect Kyle Lewis was invited to the Mariners’ big league Spring Training camp, a positive development for Lewis after an injury-plagued start to his pro career, TJ Cotterill writes for Baseball America. The 11th overall pick of the 2016 draft, Lewis has already undergone two knee surgeries, limiting him to just 711 plate appearances and 165 games over two-plus seasons. These injuries and a not-unrelated relative lack of production (.258/.328/.430 slash line in the minors) have caused Lewis’ prospect stock to drop, though the 23-year-old is entering a season healthy for the first time. “He’s missed so much time, but we feel better today than we’ve ever felt with his work and his progress. Most of us who have been around Kyle, we really don’t have a lot of concern about the ability. It’s the health,” Mariners farm director Andy McKay said.