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OC Register: Angels fire GM Billy Eppler after fifth straight losing season


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Billy Eppler will not return as Angels general manager after five years that didn’t include a playoff appearance or even a winning record, the club announced.

The Angels decided not to bring Eppler back for the final year of his contract, which included a one-year extension the team had granted him over the summer without announcing it, according to a source.

“The Angels Organization would like to thank Billy for his dedication and work ethic over the last five years. We wish him and his family all the best,” club president John Carpino said in a statement.

Carpino and owner Arte Moreno are expected to hold a video press conference on Wednesday, along with Manager Joe Maddon.

Eppler did not immediately return a message after the news on Sunday.

Eppler’s dismissal was not a surprise, considering the team’s struggles.

The Angels were 332-376 in Eppler’s five seasons, including a disappointing 36-44 record in 2020.

The Angels were 80-82 in both 2017 and 2018, and in 2017 they had a shot at the playoffs until their 158th game. This season they were eliminated in the 58th of 60 games.

Eppler, 45, came to the Angels after spending 12 seasons in the front office of the New York Yankees, finishing his tenure as their assistant general manager. He was a part of the front office when the Yankees won the World Series in 2009.

The Angels announced his hiring the day after the 2015 season ended, a few months after Jerry Dipoto abruptly resigned.

When Eppler took over, the Angels had the worst farm system in the majors, by all accounts. They also had Mike Trout, and had missed the playoffs by one game in 2015, so the Angels weren’t in position for a normal tear-down.

Eppler made a significant trade in his first six weeks on the job, sending the organization’s top two pitching prospects — Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis — as part of a package to land Andrelton Simmons.

After that, though, the organizational philosophy that Eppler followed was clear. The Angels wouldn’t trade any premium prospects, to allow the farm system to regenerate. But they also wouldn’t take a step back by trading established major leaguers around Trout to regenerate the system.

That left the Angels to attempt to improve on the margins, by trading away less significant big leaguers for undervalued prospects, or scouring the waiver wire.

Eppler connected on acquisitions like Martin Maldonado, Hansel Robles, Brian Goodwin, Tommy La Stella and Dylan Bundy. Otherwise, Eppler’s trades were mostly inconsequential, with no deals that hurt significantly.

They also could go after free agents, but those moves generally didn’t work well in Eppler’s tenure. The Angels, who didn’t get their money’s worth on the Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton deals, avoided the mega free agents unless the situation was just right, and most of the multiyear deals they offered to players like Gerrit Cole and Patrick Corbin were rejected.

The only two multiyear contracts Eppler gave to free agents were three years to Zack Cozart and seven years to Anthony Rendon. He also gave a one-year extension to Justin Upton, who could have opted out of the four years he had left when the Angels got him from the Detroit Tigers.

The one year-deals — Trevor Cahill, Matt Harvey, Julio Teheran, Cody Allen — were mostly failures, although not failures that carried long-term impact.

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