The Angels have begun the early stages of their general manager search, as club president John Carpino said Wednesday they have already started to compile a list of potential candidates but that they don’t plan to rush their decision after parting ways with GM Billy Eppler on Sunday.
Carpino wants the Angels to have a new GM in place by Thanksgiving, which is a bit late in the offseason calendar, but said they are flexible and will make an earlier hire if they find the right candidate or candidates for the job. The club has not ruled out hiring a president of baseball operations and a general manager, but it’s too early in the process for the Angels to say which way they are leaning. It’ll be a collaborative process that includes owner Arte Moreno, Carpino and special assistants Tony La Russa and Bill Stoneman.
"The decision with Billy was literally made over the weekend, so I'm really just beginning that process with Arte, getting a large list together and trying to narrow it down,” Carpino said. “It's not going to be a rush. Ideally, to have someone in place -- just call it Thanksgiving -- would be a good timeframe for us, but we're going to go through the process and interview as many candidates as it takes to get the right person for the job."
Carpino also explained the rationale for the Angels moving on from Eppler despite giving him a one-year extension in July. The Angels never had a winning record in Eppler’s five-year tenure and decided after another losing season to go in a different direction. The extension was given to Eppler to give him some security to relieve him of lame-duck status, and Carpino said they don’t regret that decision.
“It was a business decision,” Carpino said of firing Eppler. “We're in the business of winning baseball games, and we just didn't win enough over the five-year period.”
The Angels will look around the league to see how other front offices are organized, and they are open to a full revamp of their front office. Assistant GM Jonathan Strangio is serving as club's de facto GM, and the Angels are in the process of examining their entire front office. Carpino was blunt in his assessment of the organization, as the club hasn’t made the postseason since 2014.
“Obviously, we're not doing it the right way,” Carpino said. “We're not winning games. So something is not right in our organization. So we have to look at it. You have to look in the mirror to find out. I don't think you should be egotistical enough to think that everything's fine and we're just gonna have a general manager here that comes in and we're going to keep all the systems the same. Because there are things in here that aren't working.”
A few early candidates for the job are veteran executive Dave Dombrowski and Blue Jays senior VP Tony LaCava. But Carpino said they prefer to keep their list of candidates private. He added that the club is open to hiring someone without previous experience as GM, but it does appear the Angels are more likely to hire someone who has prior experience running the baseball operations side.
“I think we're open to everything,” Carpino said. “Experience is one factor. Scouting is a factor. Player development is a factor. Roster construction is a factor. Communication is a factor. I think you take all of those attributes that GM's have and look at it and find out who the best person is.”
The Angels are still working on what their payroll will look like going into next season but Carpino said he believes the club has the resources to continue to improve the roster. The Angels are not going to rebuild, as they are looking for a GM who can add talent to a roster that already includes veteran players such as Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, Shohei Ohtani, David Fletcher, Andrew Heaney and Dylan Bundy.
"We have the base of a strong team," Carpino said. "We're not that far away. A couple of right decisions being made and we're playing this week instead of being here in front of you, which doesn't make any of us happy."