Los Angeles Angels: Billy Eppler has responsibility to fix pitching staff

Billy Eppler, Los Angeles Angels, (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Billy Eppler, Los Angeles Angels, (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Angels can’t afford to waste another season of their superstar players’ primes because they can’t figure out their starting pitching.

If you’re a Los Angeles Angels fan, you’ve said this before. In between throwing something at your television screen, you’ve muttered the words. All offseason, you opened up Twitter on your phone, pulled down to refresh your feed, and repeated the same curse while waiting for news about a marquee signing.

No, it’s nothing new that I am saying in this article today. The Angels need to improve their pitching staff. Tell me something I don’t know. But the reason why I am writing this piece is to make clear the consequences of doing nothing.

The Halos find themselves at a unique point in franchise history. They have missed the playoffs for five consecutive seasons. They have not won a playoff game since 2009. They are coming off a disappointing 72-90 season. You would think the cupboard would be pretty bare right now, save a few prospects netted from drafting higher up the board.

Instead, the Angels head into 2020 with arguably three of the very best all-around players on the planet in Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, and Anthony Rendon. That is a core that wins you championships and might anchor one of the best lineups in franchise history.

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On top of that, the back of the bullpen is actually pretty good. For a relief corps that was second in the majors in innings pitched last season, meaning a lot of opportunity for an inflated ERA from middle relievers, the Angels ‘pen finished middle of the road as a group in 2019. The key pieces are returning in 2020.

It all comes back to the starting pitching.

And General Manager Billy Eppler is hoping to get lucky. He’s counting on the low-risk/high-reward additions of Dylan Bundy and Julio Teheran (even Matt Andriese), along with the return of Shohei Ohtani, and improvement by Andrew Heaney to bolster his staff. As with all teams entering Spring Training, a story can be written about how everything can perfectly come together. For Angels fan who have witnessed similar pitching staffs over the past few seasons, it’s hard to believe that.

Eppler needs to remain active on the phones this season to add a legit starting pitcher (or two) before it is too late. The Angels have plenty of room under the luxury tax threshold to add salary.

It would be irresponsible for this front office to waste away another season of Mike Trout’s prime, another season of Shohei Ohtani’s unique two-way prime, and a season of Anthony Rendon on the front-end of his expensive contract.

The Angels can’t let a 4-5 night from Mike Trout at the plate go to waste because their starting pitcher can’t get out of the 4th inning.

Next. Angels Bounce-Back Candidate: Justin Upton

It’s time to put the best core in baseball on a championship roster.