After five losing seasons in five years, Billy Eppler is out as general manager of the Angels. The team announced on Sunday that Eppler was fired, with one year remaining on his contract.
Sunday’s loss gave the Angels a 26-34 record in the abbreviated 2020 season, the .433 winning percentage the worst for the franchise since 1999.
The press release from the Angels touted some of Eppler’s deals, including signing Anthony Rendon, trading for Andrelton Simmons, and extending Mike Trout through the 2030 season. But that no pitching moves were mentioned really tells the whole story.
The Angels allowed 5.35 runs per game, ranking 13th in a 15-team American League. That continued a downward trend after finishing sixth, eighth, and 10th in the previous three years.
Eppler this offseason did acquire two pitchers. On one end of the spectrum, Dylan Bundy, who was acquired by trade for four minor leaguers, was fantastic, and earlier Sunday was named the Angels pitcher of the year. But Eppler also signed Julio Teheran to a one-year, $9 million deal as a free agent. Teheran posted a 10.05 ERA in 31⅓ innings, a season derailed early by a positive COVID test during summer camp and torpedoed throughout by poor performance.
In five years under Eppler, the Angels finished in fourth place in the division four times and second once. They posted a 332-376 record (.469), with no winning seasons.
“The Angels Organization would like to thank Billy for his dedication and work ethic over the last five years. We wish him and his family all the best,” Angels president John Carpino said in a press release.
Other perspectives on Eppler’s ousting:
- Would the Angels pivot to Dave Dombrowski, asks Ken Rosenthal at The Athletic.
- Eppler was quietly extended for the 2021 season earlier this year, notes Maria Torres at the Los Angeles Times.
- The Angels never pitched well enough to win, writes Fabian Ardaya at The Athletic.
- After the Simmons trade, Eppler tried to improve on the margins, writes Jeff Fletcher at the Orange County Register.
- Alden Gonzalez at ESPN on the move.
- Joe Maddon after Sunday’s loss addressed the firing: