While the New York Mets wanted a new Chief of Baseball Operations This month, your ideal candidate combined the acumen of scouts with an analytical mindset and, more importantly, a familiarity with the big-market atmosphere of New York City.
Billy Eppler checked those boxes for the Mets, who on Monday went on to name the former Angels general manager as their 15th full-time general manager in franchise history, according to a source:
The Mets did not confirm the deal because it is not official yet, but a source said the two parties were working on the final details of the contract and completing a background check. Once that work is done, Eppler should become GM as soon as this week.
Eppler, 46, comes to the Mets from William Morris Endeavor, a relatively new talent agency looking to break into the baseball market. But unlike former Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, Eppler is not a life agent who goes to the other side of the negotiating table.
He has spent most of his career at the helm of the office, primarily as the general manager of the Angels from 2015-20 and as a scout and executive for the Yankees from 2004 to 2015.
In Anaheim, Eppler was best known for the outstanding contracts he negotiated, including his successful bid to lure Shohei Ohtani to the Angels despite his inability to outperform other teams in that quest:
Eppler also signed Mike Trout to a record 12-year, $ 426.5 million extension and Anthony Rendon to a seven-year, $ 245 million free agent contract. But he signed a crowd of veterans to smaller deals that didn’t work out for the Angels, who finished fourth in four of GM’s five seasons.
Eppler also hired former Mets manager Mickey Callaway as his pitching coach after the Mets fired Callaway, who subsequently lost his job with the Angels due to allegations of sexual misconduct. The Angels fired Eppler after the 2020 season.
Prior to his time in Anaheim, Eppler worked as a scout, director of scouting and deputy general manager for the Yankees, learning from veteran general manager Brian Cashman.
In terms of baseball, his experience is complete; Eppler was prominent in the scouting community during his time with the Yankees, while he was well regarded for his efforts to build an analysis team during his time with the Angels.
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Both markets also gave Eppler significant experience dealing with the media crush that will await him in New York. As in the Bronx and Anaheim, Eppler will lead a Mets team with a lot of money at their disposal, under one owner, Steve Cohen, who has expressed a desire to do whatever it takes to win. However, it remains to be seen exactly how much autonomy Eppler will have in Flushing.