Report: Mets finalizing deal to make Billy Eppler their next General Manager
New York's long search for a new executive has come to an end, according to reports.
The search is finally over: The Mets are set to finally name a new general manager, agreeing to terms with Billy Eppler to fill that seat, according to Jon Heyman. Eppler would become the 15th general manager (non-interim status) in club history.
Eppler will have control and final say in baseball operations, per SNY’s Andy Martino.
The Athletic first reported the Mets made a formal offer to Eppler late Monday afternoon.
Eppler, 46, most recently served as general manager for the Angels after a long tenure with the Yankees under Brian Cashman. He began his baseball operations career as a scout with the Rockies in 2000 and joined the Yankees in 2004. Cashman made Eppler the director of the Yankees professional scouting department in 2005 and served in that role until Cashman promoted him to assistant general manager, a role he served from 2011-2015.
Eppler left the Yankees after the 2015 season to become the general manager of the Angels and built the club’s analytics department, but was let go following the 2020 season. During his tenure with the Angels, the club went 332-376, a .469 winning percentage, and did not reach the postseason in any of the five seasons he oversaw the club.
In September, Eppler joined William Morris Endeavor, a talent agency based out of New York, Beverly Hills, Nashville, London and Sydney.
Eppler has a strong reputation with analytics, the origins of which date back to his work with the Yankees since 2005. But while the Mets might view Eppler’s background as a missing asset to their emerging analytics department, his underwhelming tenure with the Angels casts a shadow behind him as he returns to a lead baseball operations role following a year’s hiatus. It has been suggested by some, however, that the presence of owner Arte Moreno and state of the team following Jerry Dipoto’s term as GM in Anaheim left Eppler in a difficult position.
It is also fair to note that Eppler did hire former Mets manager Mickey Callaway in his final season with the Angels, who is now banned from baseball through 2022, and was the GM when Tyler Skaggs passed away after being supplied with opioids by a team employee.
The road to Eppler was a rocky and controversial one for the Mets, as he’s set to become the fourth different general manager since Steve Cohen bought the club from the Wilpons last November. In that time, they let Brodie Van Wagenen go, hired Jared Porter (fired for sexual harrassment), and Zack Scott (fired for a drunk driving arrest) for the role.
From the outset of Cohen’s ownership, Sandy Alderson endeavored to hire a president of baseball operations first with visions of that individual hiring a baseball operations staff, including a general manager. But that endeavor has once again proven fruitless, leaving Alderson to hire a general manager himself and a likely seat at the decision-making table, a place he has publicly stated he’d like to avoid in most cases. There have been multiple reports suggesting that the Mets may dip their toe back into the search for a president of baseball operations search next offseason, when they will yet again target Brewers president David Stearns whose contract may be up at that time. It may or may not be worth noting that Eppler and Stearns are close friends.
Eppler — once the deal is completed — will be thrown right into the fire, immediately being tasked with finding a new field manager and full coaching staff (aside from pitching coach.) He must also navigate free agency amidst an unbalanced payroll which will pay around $130 million to only seven players currently under contract, and uncertain labor relations between the league and the players union with the current collective bargaining agreement expiring on December 1st.
Looking forward to seeing Eppler in his new position as Mets GM. He seems to have checked all the needed boxes and he is experienced in upper management so he should be able to run the baseball side of the Mets with minimum input from Alderson. Hopefully, the even bigger hire, President of Baseball Operations occurs next year with the singing of David Stearns.