The Los Angeles Angels dismissed general manager Billy Eppler a week ago but will be deliberate in hiring his replacement.
The Los Angeles Angels hired Billy Eppler as the team’s 12th general manager on October 4, 2015, just hours after the team’s regular-season ended. In looking for Eppler’s successor, the team has plans to take a little more time.
In speaking with the media on Wednesday, including Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, Angels’ president John Carpino noted that the team intends to be more deliberate in the hiring process and not rush to hire Eppler’s replacement. While he acknowledged that the team could hire someone sooner, the team appears to be targeting Thanksgiving as an end date to their search.
In all fairness to Eppler, the team’s courtship of the now-former general manager wasn’t an overnight affair. Eppler was hired to replace Jerry Dipoto, who had resigned on July 1, 2015, after a very public fallout with then-manager Mike Scioscia. Eppler, who had previously interviewed for the job in 2011, immediately became a frontrunner in 2015 and ultimately landed the job.
While the Angels don’t appear to be in any hurry to fill his shoes, that doesn’t mean that the team isn’t doing their homework and lining up candidates. One name has become prominently mentioned in the rumors of purported candidates, with Dave Dombrowski already being labeled an early favorite. Other candidates include Josh Byrnes, Dan Jennings, De Jon Watson, and Logan White, according to Maria Torres of the Los Angeles Times.
The Angels could also look at some of the candidates they interviewed prior to Eppler’s hire, including Tony LaCava and Chris Gwynn. Ross Atkins and Mike Hazen were also part of that group but are currently holding that role with the Blue Jays and Diamondbacks respectively.
Needless to say, there is a solid pool of potential options for the Halos. However, the biggest hurdle will continue to be owner Arte Moreno. Since Moreno took ownership of the Angels in 2003, the average length of tenure, the team has had four general managers, with only Bill Stoneman lasting more than five seasons in the role.
In the past, Moreno has preferred up-and-coming stars in the front office, likely showing his desire to remain involved with all baseball decisions. However, he may need to accept a candidate that will look for more autonomy in personnel moves. Byrnes, Dombrowski, and Jennings will undoubtedly demand it.
The Thanksgiving timeline will give the team time to assess its candidates thoroughly and have a new general manager in place before the Winter Meetings, currently scheduled to begin on December 9th.