good thread and responses so far. Instead of quoting various posts I figured I would try to encompass several in my post
I think the Lester example of grabbing that last piece to make a team good is a poor one. The cubs were coming off a 73 win season when they signed him. They were pure potential and uncertainty. They signed him as a statement in anticipation of having a rotation anchor that would allow them to perhaps get to .500 or perhaps slightly better. They literally rebuilt their entire lineup outside of Rizzo over the next year and a half. A huge component of which came from their stellar farm. My point in bringing this up is that the Lester move made sense for the cubs at the time, but there was zero sentiment that they were one player away. Sometimes shit just clicks.
Second, farms system turning around overnight because of a couple high draft picks are a thing of the past. You know why? Because it was never the high draft picks that turned the systems around. Yes, it helped, but it was more about selling off valuable parts like what the white sox have done AND it was making big splashes in the international market. Several teams took advantage of the uneven playing field. The cubs were one of them. That option just isn't available anymore. The international market has been evened out. So the only way to truly build a farm in short order is the fire sale. And then you are 3-5 years away from being a contender assuming you made good choices. We all know that this will not be an option for the halos any time soon.
Third, do we really have that many holes to fill? What team has an above average player at every position? The achilles heel of the halos the last couple of years have been injuries to their pitching staff. Ask yourself what a healthy staff, Upton in LF and Todd Walker at 2b would have done for this team? Sorry, but that's not only a playoff team but we'd be competing for a division title.
At the end of the day, Eppler has to figure out what his assumptions are. Does he assume recovery of Richards, Shoe, Heaney, Skaggs, Trop, Meyer? Does he assume progression or regression of JC Ramirez, Parker Bridwell, Key Middleton, Cam Bedrosian? Does he assume rebounds from Calhoun, Valbuena, Cron, Pujols? Does he assume contributions from the farm starting next year? From guys like Long, Barria, Hermosillo, Thaiss, Ward, Lund, Fletcher? There is a lot of risk management there.
I think Eppler sees a ton of potential. I think he sees a green light to spend up to the CBT threshold. I think he'll look for another Simmons type deal to fill 2b or LF and LF has much greater opportunity. Like a Yelich or Ozuna. I think it's going to cost a lot and we aren't going to be thrilled about what we're giving up. I just hope it's not Jones because he's going to be an all star. But if we can get Yelich or Ozuna for Thaiss, Long, and a couple others, I would be thrilled. He's also going to bring back Pettit and add a couple other pen parts. I am also predicting a Josh Harrison trade. If he can't get the young OFer he wants, he might sign Upton (who will absolutely opt out btw) and that won't be a bad move. Because we are a middle of the lineup bat away from beating Houston next year. Their lack of deadline moves crushed that team's spirit and they are going to lose the heart and soul of that team when Altuve becomes a FA.
The Angels aren't a couple years away. They are good luck from being a division winner and bad luck from needing to rebuild. I am not saying they should trade the farm to mortgage the future but they should spend money this off season to fill LF and maybe 2b.