Eppler, 40, was a scout with the Colorado Rockies from 2000-2004, and went on to join the Yankees following the 2004 season, as a scouting director. He was later named the assistant general manager to Brian Cashman, who serves as the Yankees GM and Senior Vice President. Eppler was a finalist for the Angels GM position in 2011, when the job was handed to Jerry Dipoto, who resigned from the position this July. Eppler was also named runner-up for the San Diego Padres GM position last off-season.
On Saturday morning, a source close to the Angels announced that none of the internal candidates given an interview would receive the job - leaving Angels assistant GM's Matt Klentak and Scott Servais, along with Director of Pro Scouting, Hal Morris, in their current positions. Other external candidates interviewed were Mike Hazen (Red Sox Assistant General Manager), Tony LaCava (Blue Jays Assistant General Manager), Josh Byrnes (Dodgers Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations), Ross Atkins (Indians Vice President of Player Personnel), and Chris Gwynn (Mariners Director of Player Development). Hazen fell out of contention when the Red Sox gave him a promotion to General Manager.
Conducting the interviews were Angels owner, Arte Morno and President, John Carpino. From the moment of vacancy, it seemed that the former scout, Eppler, would be the best fit and most desired acquisition to the Front Office. Eppler is known for his scouting abilities, using traditional and analytical statistics in viewing value in potential acquisitions.
The Angels used their former GM, Bill Stoneman, as an interim GM when Dipoto stepped down the first of July. Stoneman made multiple trades that allowed the team some situational leverage with platoon players, Shane Victorino, David Murphy, and David DeJesus.
The Angels were eliminated from postseason contention on Sunday afternoon, falling to an 85-77 record, one game out of the second wildcard spot. With their season ending, an announcement is permitted to be made. Eppler will have the immediate challenge of upcoming contract negotiations with Chris Iannetta, David Freese, Shane Victorino, David Murphy and multiple others.
Another challenge for Eppler will be a decision on whether to keep manager, Mike Scioscia, at the helm. Scioscia has been with the Angels since 2000, and has led the Angels to a .547 winning percentage for 16 years, putting himself in the top 25 all-time in managerial wins. Scioscia also led the Angels to their first World Series title in 2002, along with six division titles.
Taylor Blake Ward is a Senior Publisher for Scout.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.