Following the conclusion of the Angels season-ending series sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers, they announced the dismissal of General Manager Billy Eppler. The Angels completed the 2021 season with a record of 26-34, missing the post-season for the sixth straight season. Eppler, hired before the 2016 season, has been the club’s general manager for the past five seasons and the Angels have finished below .500 each of those seasons.
The club released a statement following Sunday’s 5-0 loss to the Dodgers stating, “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.”
The forty-five-year-old Eppler was hired by the Angels as general manager on October 4, 2015, following the firing of previous GM Jerry DiPoto the previous July. The first three years losing seasons under Eppler’s leadership led to the stepping down of long-time Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia followed by an ill-fated one-year managerial stint with Brad Ausmus before hiring Joe Maddon this past off-season.
Under Eppler’s tenure as Angels general manager, the Los Angeles acquired Gold Glove shortstop Andrelton Simmons, successfully recruited Shohei Ohtani, re-signed Mike Trout, and signed top offensive free agent Anthony Rendon this past winter. Still, Billy Eppler’s inability to land a front-line starting pitcher for a club that was reeling with significant arm injuries to their staff led to a series of losing seasons for the Angels. All this despite having the widely regarding best player in the game, Mike Trout, in centerfield and the heart of the Angels line-up.
The Angels were viewed as leading candidates to land Gerrit Cole this past off-season before his signing with the New York Yankees. The Angels in turn, quickly reached an agreement with Anthony Rendon which seemed to stem largely from Angels’ owner Arte Moreno’s conversations and fondness of the former Nationals star. Many are not surprised by this move as rumors have been swirling of the club’s interest in former Marlins and Red Sox general manager Dave Dombrowski and others.
Now, the Angels will enter the first day of their off-season in the midst of finding a replacement for Eppler as the club looks to improve the club through free agency and trade market this winter. Many high-profile free agents including Trevor Bauer and J.T. Realmuto would appear to be logical targets the Angels as they look to end their post-season drought next season. Whoever replaces Eppler as the Angels general manager will have the luxury of seeing the end of the 10-year Albert Pujols multi-million dollar albatross of a contract following the 2021 season. Still, the expectations will remain high to build a championship club around the core talent of Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, Shohei Ohtani, and youngsters Joe Adell and David Fletcher in the coming years.
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