The Los Angeles Angels appear to be focused on one candidate to potentially replace Billy Eppler as the team’s general manager.
During his five year regime at the helm of the Los Angeles Angels, Billy Eppler has largely been a disappointment. Brought in to return the team to glory following the implosion under Jerry DiPoto, the Halos have instead become proof-positive to what happens when you cannot build a pitching staff.
Now, with one week left in the 2020 regular season, the speculation has begun swinging to the end of the Eppler Era. The current general manager is in the final year of his contract and based on results on the field, he’s likely a lame duck just playing out his final days in office.
With that said, it’s only natural for some speculation to be starting to spill out as to Eppler’s potential replacement. In fact, it appears there may already be a favorite in the clubhouse before the race has even officially began.
According to both Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic and Bill Shaikin of the LA Times, the Angels are most definitely moving in a new direction upon completion of the season. At that time, they are expected to make a quick play to land Dave Dombrowski for the general manager role with the club.
Dombrowski last served in a major league front office in front office in 2019, when a year out from winning a World Series in Boston, the Red Sox parted ways with him in September. He did bring a World Series to Boston in 2018, but several high-profile trades (Chris Sale, Craig Kimbrel and free agent signings both depleted the farm system and weighed down Boston’s financial obligations throughout his tenure.
That trader mentality has also played a huge role in his previous positions as General Manager of the Detroit Tigers and the then-Florida Marlins, albeit in different scopes. However, it should be noted that the Angels don’t necessarily have the organizational depth to pillage to work big-name trades, as DiPoto already saw to a heavy teardown in that department.
While he has questionable grades in terms of his long-term success with franchises, Dombrowski has brought short-term rewards to the teams of which he’s served at the helm. His teams have won two World Series titles, four league pennants, and reached the postseason nine times in 30 years.
In the terms of connections to the Angels, Dombrowski once served as the Director of Player Development for the Montreal Expos. The General Manager at the time was Bill Stoneman, who would be let go in 1989 to clear room for Dombrowski. Stoneman would resurface in a similar role in Anaheim nearly 10 years later and carried the crown until 2007, winning the a World Series with the Angels in 2002.
While Arte Moreno and the Angels may opt to move quickly to find a replacement for Eppler, the addition of Dombrowski would seem like an odd pairing. Dombrowski has a love for serving as both the President of Baseball Operations and General Manager, showing a love to have total say in player transactions. For his part, Moreno has inserted himself into many player-personnel decisions in the past, and it’s hard to imagine the pair not butting heads on decisions.
The Angels have five games remaining in the 2020 season, and their season ends on the road in San Diego and Los Angeles.