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Eppler out, Dombrowski possibly in for Angels

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The Angels have fired general manager Billy Eppler, and are reportedly pursuing veteran g.m. Dave Dombrowski

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MLB: AUG 30 Red Sox at Angels Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

MLB Rumors: Billy Eppler is out as Anaheim Angels general manager, and Dave Dombrowski is, per multiple reports, being courted by Angels owner Arte Moreno as a potential successor.

This is just the latest bit of drama in the ongoing saga of the Angels management issues under Moreno. Eppler was hired away by the Angels from the New York Yankees, where he was assistant general manager, after the 2015 season. Eppler was generally seen as someone who was a solid g.m. candidate, but whose ability to do his job would potentially be hindered by the presence of Moreno, as well as long-time manager Mike Scioscia.

Scioscia departed after the 2018 season, and was replaced by Brad Ausmus, who had been a special assistant to Eppler the previous season. The Angels went 72-90 under Ausmus in 2019, after which he was fired and replaced by Joe Maddon. Despite landing Anthony Rendon in the 2019-20 offseason, the Angels went 26-34 in 2020, and Eppler has now been let go.

Ken Rosenthal has a story over at the Athletic about the Angels and their pursuit of Dombrowski, who has a long and storied career as a general manager, but who also was let go by the Boston Red Sox in September, 2019, reportedly in part due to concerns about Dombrowski’s management style being insufficiently detail-oriented. Rosenthal notes that Moreno’s hands-on style and desire to be involved in baseball decisions would make an old hand like Dombrowski, who is used to calling all the shots, a difficult fit.

But Moreno has a history of spending to get what he wants, regardless of fit — see, e.g., Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton — and it may be that Dombrowski, at this point of his career, is willing to let an owner meddle in baseball decision making if there’s a big enough payday for him. Or it may be that Moreno is indicating a willingness to cede control, finally, so long as the person who he cedes control to is a big enough name with enough skins on the wall.

How this shakes out is something for Rangers fans to keep an eye on. I’m not sure that Dombrowski has the magic touch to succeed in Anaheim where so many before him have failed, and I would be more worried as a Ranger fan if the division rival Angels were going after another up-and-coming Eppler-type (or if they had just kept Eppler) than I am about the possibility of them landing Dombrowski.