Angels Rumors: Is Billy Eppler a lame duck as Halos GM?
By Kyle Franzoni
Per reports, Los Angeles Angels general manager Billy Eppler may not have the power to make any significant moves at the trade deadline.
As the MLB trade deadline approached, the Los Angeles Angels stand as one of the most attractive sellers on the market. They have arguably the most sought-after starter and several key veterans that could be available.
But will they be allowed to make a move?
Speaking on MLB Network this morning, Joel Sherman of the New York Post assessed the Angels as one of the most obvious sellers at the deadline. However, he also questioned whether Billy Eppler would have the power to make a move.
"“There is probably not a general manager on thinner ice, right now as Billy Eppler,” said Sherman. “The question will be, is he allowed to make big trades that involve starting pitchers that will be needed next season.”"
That’s a fairly significant cloud hanging over the Angels at such a pivotal time in the season.
The team is a tough read, as they have a significant core to contend in 2021 (and arguably should have in 2020) and may decide to hang on to resources to build around. The presence and salaries committed to guys like Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, Shohei Ohtani, and more would indicate that the Angels are not going to completely tear things down.
However, the nightmare of what 2020 has become also created a stigma on this roster. Up front and center is the ongoing inability of Eppler to add significant help to the rotation, essentially wasting some of the best years of Trout’s career and creating confusion as to why the team would sink so much money into Rendon without first attending to the starting staff.
With his contract expiring at the end of the season, Sherman asserts that Eppler may not be given the ability to make the moves that play out long-term. On the other hand, would you want a lame duck GM tearing down the roster either?
That all puts the Angels into a tough bind. At 9-21, they are not contending in 2020 and as such, they would typically be selling. However, the team is not going to get the MLB-ready pieces it wants for the chips they have to flip, essentially making trade now a cost-cutting maneuver to re-hit the market next winter That makes any acquisitions at the deadline a likely long-term move, but if the Angels are not ready to rebuild, such a move becomes moot, especially with the uncertainty to how the market will play out.
In the eye of this storm, you have Billy Eppler, whose tenure will be defined by failed pursuits to land Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, and other impact arms. What you’re left with is a bloated, but effective lineup that is constantly playing from behind.
Given the outcome of 2020, it is doubtful that Eppler is retained as the team’s general manager and the Angels will be looking for their fifth GM in the Arte Moreno era.
We’ll just have to wait and see what pieces will be left for the next man up when the dust settles on Monday’s deadline.