In an unexpected turn of events, Billy Eppler stepped down as the general manager of the New York Mets, and sources confirm that he is now under Major League Baseball's investigative spotlight. The specifics of the investigation remain undisclosed, but a preliminary report by the New York Post suggests potential mismanagement of the injured list.
The departure of Eppler from the Mets' leadership came merely days after David Stearns was appointed as the team’s president of baseball operations. Over the past two seasons, Eppler played a pivotal role in steering the Mets’ baseball operations. However, the club has refrained from commenting due to the ongoing investigation.
Mets' Leadership Shake-Up Continues
This change at the helm is the latest in the Mets' restructuring phase after their unexpected fourth-place finish, despite previously held World Series hopes. Following this trajectory, team owner Steve Cohen made the bold decision to let go of manager Buck Showalter earlier this week, emphasizing the freedom for Stearns to select his managerial team.
Eppler, in a team-released statement, shared his perspective, "In wanting David to start on a fresh note, it was in everyone's best interest for me to step down."
There were hints of potential collaborative efforts between Stearns and Eppler. The former, with an extensive resume including roles with the Milwaukee Brewers, Houston, and Cleveland, mentioned, "Billy and I have built a camaraderie over the years. From transaction discussions to broader industry topics, I have always valued his insights, especially considering his vast experience in New York." But, with Eppler's swift exit, those expectations were short-lived.
Eppler’s baseball journey has seen various roles. Starting with the Colorado Rockies between 2000-2004, he later joined the New York Yankees, rising through the ranks from director of professional scouting to assistant general manager. His stint as the Los Angeles Angels' GM from 2015 to 2020 ended with his dismissal after five subpar seasons. Despite this, the Mets showed faith in him with a four-year contract in late 2021.
Under his guidance, the Mets secured significant assets like ace Max Scherzer and outfielder Starling Marte, propelling the team to 101 wins in 2022. Yet, despite a promising start, the 2023 season saw them dwindling, culminating in a 75-87 finish.
Stearns, optimistic about the diverse perspectives within the team, said on Monday, "Having individuals from varied backgrounds and training can be our strength. Embracing and respecting these differences will only drive our success."
The MLB community now eagerly awaits the outcomes of the investigation, while the Mets seek to rebuild and refocus.