Eppler, 46, most recently served as GM of the Angels from the 2016 to 2020 seasons.
Prior to joining the Angels, Eppler was a rising star in the Yankees’ front office, working under Brian Cashman.
Eppler’s Yankees and Angels tenure
A native of California who played college baseball, Eppler began his MLB career as a scout with the Colorado Rockies in 2000.
Eppler became a scout for the Yankees in 2004, and was gradually given increasing responsibility over the Yankees’ scouting operations before being promoted to assistant GM in 2012.
Following his stint as the Yankees’ assistant GM, Eppler was hired as the Angels’ GM after the 2015 season.
During Eppler’s time in Los Angeles, the Angels signed Mike Trout to a 12-year extension, signed two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani, traded for Andrelton Simmons, and signed Anthony Rendon.
But despite the many big-name additions the Angels made during Eppler’s tenure, they finished below .500 and out of the playoffs during every season Eppler was at the helm, with their highest win total being 80 (in both 2017 and 2018).
The Angels fired Eppler after the 2020 season, and he had recently taken a job helping to run the baseball division at WME (William Morris Endeavor Entertainment).
The impact Arte Moreno had on Eppler’s job
While Eppler took the fall after the 2020 season for the Angels’ struggles, there is a belief that owner Arte Moreno was to blame for much of what went wrong.
In a Los Angeles Times article written shortly before Eppler’s ouster in 2020, Bill Shaikin wrote that part of the problem was that Eppler wanted to have a “process-driven” approach when building the organization, while Moreno’s win-now mandates made that close to impossible.
Additionally, Shaikin noted that Eppler inherited a “barren” farm system, a manager he didn’t choose, and a front office that “had not yet embraced analytics,” and cited a source who was complimentary of the job Eppler did.
“I think pretty highly of Billy Eppler,” the source said. “I think people in the game believe that Billy did this the right way. It feels like Billy tried to bring a process-driven approach there.”
Another source said that the investment from ownership below the major league level was lacking.
“In scouting and player development, they have not done a very good job,” the source said. “That amount of investment, on a relative basis, is not that great.”
Joe Maddon on Eppler
The Angels hired Maddon after the 2019 season.
And while Eppler and Maddon worked together for only one season, Maddon was very impressed.
“I thought we worked great together,” Maddon told MLB.com in 2020. “From the moment I met him, I thought to myself, ‘This is a straight-up guy, absolutely straight up.’ He’s one of the most honest people I’ve met in this industry. Great talent evaluator.”
Source: Yahoo Sports