The longest and most turbulent executive search in recent memory looks like it is finally reaching its conclusion. After getting turned down or denied access to interview over a dozen candidates, the Mets are reportedly finalizing an agreement to hire former Angels GM Billy Eppler as their new general manager. They had reportedly offered him the job late Monday evening.
The former Angels GM had been on the Mets’ radar for a while, dating back to when the Mets discussed a potential advisory role with him earlier in 2021. He was not among their top choices to head their baseball operations at the start of the search, but the Mets maintained interest in him throughout, as they were repeatedly turned down by other candidates. Eppler had recently been hired by an agency, William Morris Endeavor, as a business partner to their baseball division.
In the early 2010s, Eppler was considered a rising star in the industry for working his way up the Yankees’ front office from a scout in 2004 all the way to Assistant General Manager under Brian Cashman in 2012. He held that position until 2014, and was hired to be the GM of the Angels after the 2015 season.
In five seasons under Eppler, the Angels never had a winning record. Eppler was able to sign big-ticket free agents like Justin Upton, Anthony Rendon, and Shohei Ohtani, and successfully extended Mike Trout. However, he was unable to surround that crop of players with enough talent to ever muster a winning record. The Angels struggled to develop players under Eppler, particularly hitters, which was one of the main reasons why he was let go following the 2020 season.
For an organization looking to improve their hiring practices and clean up their corporate culture, Eppler does not come with a clean track record in this regard, either. He joins Sandy Alderson as being another executive that hired Mickey Callaway despite his well-known reputation in baseball of being a sexual harasser, and he employed Communications Director Eric Kay, who supplied Tyler Skaggs and other players with oxycodone, which led to Skaggs’s untimely passing in 2019.
Eppler was offered the job over the other leading candidate, former Nationals AGM Adam Cromie, who seemed to be the favorite as of roughly a week ago. Eppler is also considered to be close friends with David Stearns, whom the Mets are eyeing as their future target for President of Baseball Operations. In the meantime, Eppler will likely lead the baseball operations in conjunction with Alderson.