Hiring Billy Eppler as GM is a ‘salvage’ for Mets Leadership

There are plenty of reasons to be encouraged by the hiring of Billy Eppler, who was finally introduced on Friday as the Mets’ new general manager. As a professional scouting director, he helped win a World Series for the Yankees. As general manager, he signed Shohei Ohtani for the Los Angeles Angels. At 46, he’s young enough to appreciate the value of data, but old enough to honor the instincts of spies.

“I just got back from an MLB owners meeting, and I can tell you: just people praise the hiring,” said Mets owner Steven Cohen, who is relaunching the organization. again after a challenging first season, said the field.

“I mean, people come to me from all over saying we have a real, well-known, respected expert in the industry. So I’m very pleased. Look, I’ve spent a lot of time on this, and as I often say, I have a day job. So it’s a relief to have someone I feel really good about. “

Cohen, a hedge fund billionaire, made two stupid investments last year. He fired the general manager he hired last fall, Jared Porter, after it was revealed that Porter once sexually harassed a female reporter. Interim Superintendent, Zack Scott, was fired this month after being arrested late summer for drunk driving.

A protracted job search in which Cohen and the group’s president, Sandy Alderson, failed to convince several prominent candidates, ended with a four-year contract for Eppler, who had a reputation for integrity. What he doesn’t have, however, is a winning track record as a general manager.

Even with stars like Mike Trout and Ohtani, the Angels have had a losing record in each of Eppler’s seasons (2016 to 2020). When asked about it on Friday, Eppler outlined the challenges he inherited: overpaid players on long-term contracts, sharing a division with the stocked Houston Astros, Outbreak of grass injury, barren farm system.

“The lack of depth gave us the freedom to fill a lot of holes on the roster,” explains Eppler, “and when you’re thin at that depth, any injuries you get actually send you falling through the ice. . ”

Trauma and lack of depth are also familiar issues for the Mets, and Cohen acknowledged on Friday that the answers may not come from within.

“Our budget today, without even signing anyone, is about $185 million or so,” Cohen said. “If we find the right kind of talent, perhaps dealing with other clubs or free agents. We don’t really have much in the farm system to supplement what we need.

“So it will require spending perhaps, and that is what will happen. And I’ve let Billy know that I’m ready, with the right deals and the right free agents, to go and get the players we need.

“We want to compete, don’t we? We want to win our division and be in the knockouts and go deep into the knockouts, right? So we had to create a team capable of doing that. “

Of course, Cohen was also willing to spend last season, and the Mets get very little from their highest-paid newcomers. Short-distance rider Francisco Lindor, starter Carlos Carrasco and James McCann’s catcher all works well below expectations and Lindor is just getting started 10 years, 341 million USD contract.

Rotation is a pressing concern. Noah Syndergaard was leave it to the angels (one year, 21 million dollars) in free agency. Marcus Stroman, the only Mets player healthy and reliable all season, is a free agent. Ace Jacob deGrom missed the second half with an arm injury. Taijuan Walker and Tylor Megill fade in August and September.

“I looked at the roster and definitely wanted to tackle pitching,” Eppler said, referring to Syndergaard’s departure. “We’ll also entertain things out in the yard and things that entertain in the yard.”

So the Mets need pitching, on-court, off-court – and also a new manager. The manager Eppler hired with the Angels, Brad Ausmus, was present; he served a year before the team’s owner, Arte Moreno, replaced him with Joe Maddon. Eppler gave no hint as to his possible options, but said it would be a collaborative decision.

“Billy will report to me, but we’ll definitely consult each other,” Alderson said, outlining the Mets’ chain of command. “But I hope Billy will lead this operation. I will be available as a resource, and over time, what I expect is Billy will have more latitude immediately. ”

Initially, the Mets were looking for both the president of baseball operations and the general manager, before limiting the search to one person. Alderson, who turns 74 next week, said the Mets could still revisit that plan next winter, giving Eppler a productive year to prove he can run the division.

“Steve and I will look at that at the end of the season and Steve will make a decision on which direction he wants to go,” Alderson said. “But Billy has so many opportunities here to build himself and grow and influence that decision a year from now.”

Eppler worked for the Yankees under George Steinbrenner, so the threat of a Twitter attack from Cohen is unlikely to embarrass him. Yes, Cohen said, he will keep tweeting because the fans seem to like it, but he emphasizes the importance of delegation.

“You’re going to interfere in every decision, it’s not going to work,” Cohen said. “At least, that’s how I run my other businesses, and that’s done well. And I hope to run it the same way here.

“And it was a kind of plan. You won’t fix everything the first year. I call it a little treasure hunt: as you go through the organization, you find things that you need to fix. That’s what I was looking forward to, joining an under-resourced organization, and we’re in the process. We made progress last year. ”

That progress isn’t always apparent on the pitch, as the Mets pant in the space to finish 77-85. Now Eppler must do what he couldn’t do in Anaheim: build a winning team – and fast. The freelancer knows where to find him.

“Last night, I started getting a lot of text messages from agents,” Eppler said. “And I replied to a lot of them saying, ‘You’ll hear from me today.'”

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/19/sports/baseball/billy-eppler-mets-gm.html Hiring Billy Eppler as GM is a ‘salvage’ for Mets Leadership

Jake Nichol

Jake Nichol is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Jake Nichol joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: jakenichol@24ssports.com.

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