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Volume 24 No. 218
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MLB Franchise Notes: Angels GM Billy Eppler Lauded For Offseason Moves

In California, Jeff Miller writes it is "nearly impossible" to find "anything for which to blatantly criticize" Angels GM Billy Eppler for. This offseason, he "went 4 for 4 with the game-winning, bottom-of-the-ninth extra-base hit." The Angels retained LF Justin Upton, traded for 2B Ian Kinsler, signed SS Zack Cozart and landed coveted free agent Shohei Ohtani. It would be "difficult to improve upon what Eppler has done, particularly since the Angels still aren’t exactly bloated with the assets usually needed to bolster a big-league roster." Miller: "Eppler is deserving of the backslaps and high-fives that no doubt have been greeting him in the hallways of the Angels’ front office" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 12/18).

SIGN ME UP: In Philadelphia, Matt Gelb noted the Phillies spent $92.25M last week, "capped by" the $60M deal they signed 1B Carlos Santana to. The Santana deal is an "example of an unproven team signing a veteran player to a sizable contract to provide credibility with other free agents, leadership in a young clubhouse, and a middle-of-the-order presence." The Phillies have "planned a great deal around the free-agent class that hits the market" after the '18 season (PHILLY.com, 12/16).

TALK IT OUT: On Long Island, Marc Carig wrote the Wilpons for years have "shown little willingness to level" with Mets fans. With the club "on the brink of squandering a window to compete for championships," the Wilpons "seem content to continue their blackout." An organization’s culture "flows from the top." But rather than "reach for transparency, the Wilpons seem content to hide." They "never talk about money." Carig: "Whether it’s arrogance or simply negligence, they have no problem asking fans to pony up the cash and never show the willingness to reciprocate" (NEWSDAY, 12/17).