Discover more from Just Mets
Report: Billy Eppler resigned amid MLB investigation
Eppler is being probed for allegedly improperly using the injured list during his tenure as GM of the Mets
Just when you thought the Mets news cycle might end for a while, we all remembered what team we were following.
On Thursday, Billy Eppler resigned from his post as Mets GM, citing the need for a clean slate for new team President of Baseball Operations David Stearns as the club moves forward following a disappointing 75-87 season in 2023.
But not all was what it seemed.
Shortly after the announcement on Thursday, the New York Post reported Eppler actually resigned after he was made aware of an investigation against him into what has been termed as improper use of the injured list.
What does that mean?
It’s not clear exactly what this investigation entails or the context in which he is being investigated. Some injury list placements seem awfully convenient at times for clubs when a player is underperforming, unpopular or a club needs to get a fresh body onto the active roster, specifically with the pitching staff and/or options which might not be available for a player. They can use a nagging injury to gain approval to place a player on the injured list, even for the minimal amount of time.
But this isn’t limited to the Mets, and if there’s an actually injury, even a minor one which a player could otherwise play through, it’s kosher to use the injury list. I always say roster management is a part of the craft a GM requires in this sport, especially over a 162-game season with few off-days to take advantage of.
That is not meant to excuse inappropriate use of the process, of course. It’s just a part of the game.
It’s also possible the injury list could be used to manipulate service time and gain other kinds of competitive advantages, at which point the rules of the injury list might be abused.
There’s no way to really know at this time the nature of the investigation, and Eppler could come up clean when the dust settles. But apparently it was serious enough for Eppler to quit on the spot rather than stay in his post and weather the storm. It could always be bigger than simply a probe into his use of the injured list as well.
So, it would be unfair to speculate on the behaviors of Eppler in his role as the club’s general manager without more information, that which neither the club or the league are willing to elaborate on at this time.
The resignation - on its surface anyway - made perfect sense for both Eppler and the Mets. As I wrote yesterday, Eppler was in an awkward position coming from a position where he was wielding the power to control the on-field operation to being a subordinate in such decisions. He had publicly stated he had no problem being in that role once Mets owner and CEO Steve Cohen was able to find a new President of Baseball Operations, but that still might have been lip service to the public. After all, he can’t take the job knowing the owner is still looking for a boss for him and say publicly he wanted that job instead.
As such, I am still not surprised the resignation happened. I am certainly surprised about this investigation, of course.
In the end, this marks yet another tumultuous end of a tenure to a club executive for the Mets. Eppler succeeded Sandy Alderson as the club’s GM, who succeeded Zack Scott following his suspension and ultimate dismissal following a drunk driving allegation (for which he was acquitted). Scott was hired to replace Jared Porter, who was dismissed for inappropriate sexual behavior.
All of this succeeded the Brodie Van Wagenen and Mickey Callaway eras, the latter of which has been suspended indefinitely for his own allegations of inappropriate behavior.
So much for an era of stability and calm under Steve Cohen.
In addition to the need to identify and hire a new manager and the majority of a field staff, Stearns will now be charged with finding a new General Manager and what will likely be a surrounding supporting cast around that new hire. All of that will probably need to happen by Thanksgiving and ahead of the Winter Meetings in early December. There are numerous procedural days on the calendar in between, including but not limited to the player/team option decisions (five days after the World Series ends), official start of free agency (immediately after the World Series ends), and the non-tender deadline (mid-November).