Eppler mulling all options for front-office staff
New Angels GM wants a group to work well together moving forward
First-year general manager Billy Eppler, who recently watched both of the Angels' assistant GMs depart for high-profile gigs over a 48-hour stretch, is still "keeping an open mind" when it comes to structuring his new front-office group.
Scott Servais, who ran scouting and player development the last four years, was announced as the Mariners' manager on Friday and will once again work under Jerry Dipoto. Matt Klentak, essentially Dipoto's right-hand man since November 2011, was named the Phillies' GM on Saturday.
"We've lost two very talented baseball people that brought unique experiences and a resume to this organization," said Eppler, who also watched special assistant Tim Bogar be named Servais' bench coach on Monday. "That's no doubt going to be felt throughout a number of departments. We'll move forward as we continue to discuss and have conversations with people that we recognize as having the chops to work in our front office, and lead and contribute to our departments moving forward."
Eppler -- introduced as Angels GM three weeks ago -- is still gathering information on personnel and said his primary goal is to build a front-office staff that will "work well together moving forward."
"That's my main objective," said Eppler, who has solicited help from the likes of pro scouting director Hal Morris, director of player development Bobby Scales, director of baseball operations Justin Hollander and longtime manager Mike Scioscia, among others.
There's no universal blueprint when it comes to structuring a front office, and Eppler doesn't necessarily have one, either. Tim Naehring and Jay Darnell, the Yankees' most trusted scouts, are under contract and aren't expected to leave the Bronx. Yankees director of pro scouting Kevin Reese could be a fit as an assistant GM with the Angels, as can Morris, who interviewed for the GM vacancy after Dipoto resigned.
But Eppler hasn't had much time to narrow it down.
"Essentially, I'm keeping an open mind and just trying to talk to as many talented people as I can," said Eppler, who didn't reveal specific candidates. "And as I identify the people and their strengths, those pieces will just fit organically, without kind of walking in with a blueprint or a set way that we're going to attack it."
Eppler also has some work to do with the Major League coaching staff, after announcing a couple of weeks ago that hitting coach Don Baylor and pitching coach Mike Butcher would not return to their previous roles. The rest of the Angels' coaches -- mainly bench coach Dino Ebel, third-base coach Gary DiSarcina and first-base coach Alfredo Griffin -- have been told they're returning, but Eppler said he and Scioscia are "still discussing specific roles" for the staff.
Dave Hansen is expected to be promoted to hitting coach, after spending the last two years working as Baylor's assistant, and the Angels have already begun to interview prospective pitching coaches.
Potential candidates could include Mike Maddux (the longtime Rangers pitching coach who's soliciting offers from other clubs); Rick Honeycutt (part of a Dodgers coaching staff that's free to listen to alternate offers); Bud Black (former Angels pitching coach who is a finalist to be Nationals manager); and Steve McCatty (recently dismissed as Nats pitching coach).
Eppler's wife and son recently moved into a temporary home in Southern California. They're just starting to settle in.
The same can be said about Eppler's overall familiarity with the Angels' organization.
"No question," Eppler said. "And in all transparency, that process, at least in my world, takes greater than one year to do."