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Sunday, September 27, 2020

Los Angeles Angels fire GM Billy Eppler after five seasons

The Los Angeles Angels will have a new general manager next season.

The Angels fired Billy Eppler on Sunday afternoon after five seasons with the organization, the team announced. Eppler’s contract was set to expire at the end of the season.

“The Angels organization would like to thank Billy for his dedication and work ethic over the last five years,” president John Carpino said in a statement. “We wish him and his family all the best.”

Eppler was hired by the Angels after the 2015 season. The team failed to reach the postseason or compile a winning record under his watch. They went just 332-376 in his five years, and finished this season with a 26-34 record after a 5-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday — their third-straight.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 27, 2020 at 06:21 PM | 23 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels, billy eppler

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   1. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: September 27, 2020 at 06:42 PM (#5979197)
Maybe they hire someone really great, but Eppler deserved better.

The decision-maker the Angels need to replace, but cannot, is Arte Moreno.
   2. ramifications of an exciting 57i66135 Posted: September 27, 2020 at 07:51 PM (#5979214)
maybe they'd enjoy a lightly used matt klentak?
   3. Jeff Francoeur's OPS Posted: September 27, 2020 at 09:11 PM (#5979233)
Albert Pujols, PAs in Postseason

2001 - 2011
321 PAs

2011 - 2020
13 PAs
   4. cardsfanboy Posted: September 27, 2020 at 09:38 PM (#5979243)
Albert Pujols, PAs in Postseason

2001 - 2011
321 PAs

2011 - 2020
13 PAs


For the amount of money that Albert is making playing for the Angels, I doubt that the post season money matters, but at the same time, it would be interesting to see how much Molina has made in the post season since Albert left in comparison.
   5. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 27, 2020 at 10:06 PM (#5979277)
The decision-maker the Angels need to replace, but cannot, is Arte Moreno.
’Managing ownership‘ is part of the GM job. Some have a better situation than others, and some perform better at this aspect than others.
   6. Bhaakon Posted: September 27, 2020 at 10:56 PM (#5979291)
Sometimes the only way to manage ownership is declining the job offer.

But, of course, no first-time hire would do that. It's essentially career suicide.
   7. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: September 28, 2020 at 01:05 AM (#5979299)
Sometimes the only way to manage ownership is declining the job offer.

But, of course, no first-time hire would do that. It's essentially career suicide.


This is it exactly. My guess is that Arte has preferred the first-timers because he could exert plenty of control over them, since they would be grateful for the job opportunity.

GMs during Arte's ownership:

- Bill Stoneman - holdover from the Autry/Disney era. Retired in 2007.

- Tony Reagins - First timer from within the organization - was head of player development. Complete yes-man who was in over his head. This was the period where things began to go downhill organizationally as Arte gave Mike Scioscia a lot of power and kept a lot for himself as well.

- Jerry Dipoto - First timer who was a heavy analytics guy (very much a different type from Reagins). Did some good things and not so good things, but was undoubtedly hamstrung in how much he COULD do. His lack of authority to implement his vision throughout the organization eventually drove him to quit mid-season.

- Billy Eppler - First timer whose background was in scouting (again, a different mindset than Dipoto). Like Dipoto, did some good things and some not so good things, but was also seemingly limited by the power and resources at his disposal.

The Angels need someone who can convince Arte to spend money on more than just the major league roster. It's not that they need an overhaul of their various baseball operations departments (scouting, development, analytics); they need someone to actually build those departments after Arte has left them with skeleton crews. It's kind of a wasteland.

I don't know who that guy is. Dombrowski certainly has the experience and track record to be able to demand more control. But my worry is that he simply declines the job offer when it's clear that Arte's not going to give him the reins. Dombrowski's career won't be torpedoed by saying no to the Angels.
   8. DFA Posted: September 28, 2020 at 02:04 AM (#5979304)
I wonder if Dan Duquette gets an interview.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: September 28, 2020 at 03:24 AM (#5979307)
We'll rrade you Theo Epstein for Mike Trout and $150 M. OK, we'll throw in Kimbrel.
   10. McCoy Posted: September 28, 2020 at 07:27 AM (#5979309)
It's not career suicide.
   11. McCoy Posted: September 28, 2020 at 07:32 AM (#5979311)
I took a job that I should have turned down and it killed my career with a company I had put significant time in. If I had said no I wouldn't have been sidelined or pigeonholed. My champions wouldn't have abandoned me but I thought I had to take the job because the chance was put in front of me.

In fact numerous highly valued people turned down jobs at the place that killed my career because they correctly identified they shouldn't take the job.
   12. Shredder Posted: September 28, 2020 at 10:29 AM (#5979341)
I can't really say firing him is he wrong decision, but I can't really find much fault with just about any of the things that he did that would make me want to fire him. Obviously the on-field results are lacking, but when he took over, they had absolutely nothing in the farm system, and they had basically Garret Richards as a potential front of the rotation guy on the mound. He made positive deals for young pitching, but pretty much everyone who strung together more than a few decent innings during his tenure ended up going under the knife shortly thereafter, or dead. No one is going to survive that run of luck. A lot of Angels fans like to whine about the gambles he took on Harvey, Cahill, and some others, but who cares about one year deals? He had very little flexibility, and pretty much had to try and catch lightning in a bottle. He leaves with only two players signed to long term contracts, and those are their two best players. If any of the momentum they showed over the last month indicates actual improvement (Heany, Canning, Walsh), and if Adell and Marsh pan out, they're actually set up pretty well for the foreseeable future, and shouldn't need to blow up the farm system to compete, but they have a pretty terrible owner when it comes to player management.

I had hopes that they'd sneak in with the expanded playoffs this year, but with a schedule that included almost half its games against three teams that averaged over 100 wins last season, it was gonna be a tough mountain to climb.
   13. Rally Posted: September 28, 2020 at 11:03 AM (#5979352)
Is it time to worry about the development of Jo Adell?

Maybe we can chalk it up to a young player who wasn't ready being thrown into the mix because there were no minor league games for him to get development time. But his final stat line looks eerily similar to a failed Angel prospect of a decade ago:

Adell: 161/212/266 31 OPS+, 132 PA
B Wood (as an Angel): 168/197/259, 22 OPS+, 494 PA

Brandon Wood did not have TWO in-play flyballs bounce off his glove and over the fence for homers. But if he had played deeper, I'm sure he would have.
   14. Rally Posted: September 28, 2020 at 11:06 AM (#5979354)
Small sample size, because it's 2020 and there are no big samples, but this does not look good:

Adell, OPS by month
August: .505
Sept: .437

At least his K rate went in the right direction, from 47% to 41% in September.
   15. Bhaakon Posted: September 28, 2020 at 11:41 AM (#5979365)
I took a job that I should have turned down and it killed my career with a company I had put significant time in. If I had said no I wouldn't have been sidelined or pigeonholed. My champions wouldn't have abandoned me but I thought I had to take the job because the chance was put in front of me.


There are 30 MLB GM jobs, total. Even fortune 500 CEOs have more potential openings to chose from than that. Turn down offers and you'll find yourself not getting interviews in a hurry.
   16. Shredder Posted: September 28, 2020 at 11:59 AM (#5979370)
Small sample size, because it's 2020 and there are no big samples, but this does not look good:


220/281/390, 135 PA, 89 OPS+
In roughly the same sample size, Trout was pretty crappy during his first ML stint too. Not quite as bad, but he also coming directly off nearly a full season of minor league ball before making the majors, instead of a makeshift extended spring training. He was also two years younger, so factor that in, I suppose. Adell is not Trout, but I don't think there's a need to panic just yet.
   17. Rally Posted: September 28, 2020 at 12:06 PM (#5979373)
Trout struggled by the standards he would set, but even as a 19 year old he was a good player. I wasn’t prepared to panic, I know he’s young, lacks experience, and it’s a terrible situation. But given the level of crapitude he’s debuted at, and that he’s so far not even showing modest improvements, I’m starting to panic.
   18. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: September 28, 2020 at 01:05 PM (#5979385)
Trout struggled by the standards he would set, but even as a 19 year old he was a good player. I wasn’t prepared to panic, I know he’s young, lacks experience, and it’s a terrible situation. But given the level of crapitude he’s debuted at, and that he’s so far not even showing modest improvements, I’m starting to panic.


And with Trout, there were flashes of greatness and no real red flags. His plate discipline wasn't where it would eventually be, but it also wasn't egregiously bad. Meanwhile, he looked fantastic in the field and on the bases.

Adell has looked like someone who started playing baseball a year ago and doesn't know how to use a glove yet. Trout's 22% K-rate in his cup of coffee looks like Tony Gwynn compared to Adell. One homerun popping out of your glove and over the wall is a fluke. Two, though? With other balls popping out of his glove that should have been caught? There were other plays in the outfield where he messed up or couldn't communicate properly.

I'm also not ready to write Adell off, but there are alarm bells sounding in my head and they're getting louder.
   19. McCoy Posted: September 28, 2020 at 01:16 PM (#5979387)
If you're talented you'll get offers. Sure if you wait 25 years and let the industry pass you by you won't get an offer. But again, if you're talented and not a complete arsehole people will give you chances.

In terms of companies think about bonuses to keep execs for companies facing bankruptcy. They do that because they know trying to get someone to become an exec in that environment is next to impossible.

I've seen some CEO searches and plenty of people turn down bad opportunities.

Sure if somebody offers me a chance to run Apple and I think I'm qualified to do so I'm not going to turn it down because their board is tough if I'm hacking away as a relatively unknown VP somewhere. But if I'm considered the next hot CEO I don't have to accept the next CEO job that gets offered to me or else.
   20. Rally Posted: September 28, 2020 at 02:09 PM (#5979399)
Curious where Adell ranks among worst debut seasons. He's at -1.5 WAR. Since 1920, that is 36th worst. But he's done it in only 38 games played. Jose Guillen at -3.3 is the worst. At least Guillen developed into a useful player. His 267/300/414 batting line doesn't stand out as horrible, merely less than you want out of a corner outfielder. But this was the late 90s, with offensive levels super high, and Guillen has a TZ defensive rating of -28. Which is probably too harsh, just given the outlier nature of it, but I don't have any better data to recalculate it. After that season he was a solid defender until he got old and lost a step.

Adell's DRS is -3, and that seems if anything extremely generous to him, given that we know he turned 2 outs into homers. Then again, Statcast has him at -3 as well. I recall him being worse than that, but maybe he made some good catches in between when I last saw his rating and his second HR allowed against the Dodgers.

BTW, Trout's WAR is nowhere near the leaders thanks to an awful DRS, but Statcast has him at perfectly average this year.
   21. Zach Posted: September 28, 2020 at 05:16 PM (#5979446)
Sometimes the only way to manage ownership is declining the job offer.

But, of course, no first-time hire would do that. It's essentially career suicide.


I was actually in that situation once, and managed to make the right call.

It didn't help that they actually wanted me to take a pay *cut* compared to the postdoc I was coming off of (a chilling thought).

It was mostly the feeling of: "Right now, my biggest problem is that I don't have a job lined up. But if I took this job, my biggest problems would all revolve around the fact that I took this stupid job and don't have a good way out of it."

That's a bad trade!



   22. Walt Davis Posted: September 28, 2020 at 05:31 PM (#5979451)
A -3 in statcast is like a -15 in DRS. (I only slightly kid)

It's certainly bad enough to start worrying. Obviously any number of kids have turned that around -- e.g. Javy Baez at 169/227/324 with 95 Ks in 229 PA at 21 -- to become decent hitters but even more haven't. And of course in Javy's case, we're talking about an excellent defender (eventually at SS) where a high-K 102 OPS+ is just fine. (We will not notice that Javy basically repeated that this year.)

It was only 131 PA but Adell also "struggled" on his promotion to AAA last year. His "pattern" (over 3 seasons!) has been to take a step back upon promotion then hit the next season but 264/321/355 and a 33% K-rate at Salt Lake City in the PCL in the AAA gopher ball explosion season is not good. He followed that with a solid but unspectacular AFL performance (111 PAs, not nothing) with an improved K-rate. But we're now at 6 HR in his last 374 PA with 127 Ks across AAA/AFL/MLB.

Still it has thet promising aspect that nobody would have let him flail so hopelessly if they didn't think he has the talent to make it. Hopefully it is just this weird season and being rushed.
   23. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: September 28, 2020 at 06:24 PM (#5979463)
And of course in Javy's case, we're talking about an excellent defender (eventually at SS) where a high-K 102 OPS+ is just fine. (We will not notice that Javy basically repeated that this year.)


I think even more in Javy's case, he has some of those intangibles that when you watch him play make you think he was born on a baseball field. He may not always execute, but his "baseball IQ" seems really high, to use a cliche.

Adell displayed very little of that. The pieces I've read indicate that he's a very hard worker, so maybe he works out some of the kinks by getting a ton of reps in, but one assumes he's been doing that for years. And he STILL can't catch a fly ball in the outfield. It's not encouraging.

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