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Angels hire Billy Eppler as general manager

Brian Cashman, Billy Eppler, Joe Girardi

Billy Eppler, the Yankees’ director of professional scouting, chats with GM Brian Cashman, left, and Manager Joe Girardi during spring training in Tampa, Fla.

(Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press)

The Angels hired Billy Eppler as general manager on Sunday and signed him to a four-year contract, a deal that could extend his tenure in Anaheim beyond that of Manager Mike Scioscia.

The Angels will introduce Eppler at a news conference Monday afternoon in Anaheim. Angels owner Arte Moreno, President John Carpino and Scioscia are expected to be in attendance.

Scioscia’s 10-year contract expires after the 2018 season. Eppler’s contract extends through the 2019 season. Neither of the two previous general managers hired by Moreno, Tony Reagins and Jerry Dipoto, had a contract that outlasted Scioscia’s.

Eppler, 40, is a New York Yankees assistant general manager who was a finalist for the Angels job when the team hired Jerry Dipoto after the 2011 season. He was also a finalist for the Seattle GM job that went to Dipoto last week.

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Dipoto resigned from his Angels post on July 1 amid renewed friction with Manager Mike Scioscia. Eppler has long been considered the front-runner to replace Dipoto, but the Angels wanted to wait until they or the Yankees were out of playoff contention to announce it.

He is not expected to join the Angels until the Yankees, who play the Houston Astros in Tuesday night’s American League wild-card game, are eliminated from the playoffs.

Eppler is a San Diego native who pitched at the University of Connecticut before an arm injury ended his playing career. He began scouting with Colorado in 2000 before being hired by the Yankees as a scout after the 2004 season.

He was promoted to pro scouting director after 2005 and to assistant GM after 2011. Eppler interviewed for the San Diego GM job in August of 2014 and was a candidate for the Arizona GM job last September but declined to interview.

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“He checks all the boxes,” longtime Yankees GM Brian Cashman told the New York Daily News last year. “He’s got the analytics side checked off, he’s got the administrative side checked off, and he’s got the scouting side checked off. He’s got the leadership side checked off because he’s a great communicator.

“They’re all equal. Very few people possess all those strengths and those qualities. He does, in my opinion. He’s built a great reputation that he’s earned, and we’re lucky to have him. He’s an important piece of my pyramid.”

Eppler is believed to have edged out Josh Byrnes, the Dodgers’ senior vice president of operations, for the job. There has been speculation the Angels might hire Byrnes and Eppler, with Byrnes serving as a vice president, but a source said the Angels plan to hire only a GM.

This could be a busy winter of transition for the Angels, who have four potential free agents in third baseman David Freese, catcher Chris Iannetta and outfielders Matt Joyce and Shane Victorino. Decisions must be made on whether to pick up options on outfielders David Murphy and David DeJesus.

Upgrading a rotation despite potential budget constraints will be a challenge with $40 million of the 2016 payroll devoted to right-hander Jered Weaver, who had a career-worst 7-12 record and 4.64 earned-run average, and left-hander C.J. Wilson, who underwent season-ending elbow surgery in August.

And, of course, the new GM must forge a healthy working relationships with Scioscia, who is baseball’s longest-tenured manager and wields more power than most managers, and hands-on owner Arte Moreno.

“There are some very tangible things that need to be done,” Scioscia said. “I’m looking forward to sharing our insights with whoever is in that position, because like most baseball teams, I don’t think there’s a manager or coaching staff that doesn’t know the players better than anyone in the organization. We want to move forward.” 


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