When the Mets season ended on October 3, I was excited. Some may look at that as ridiculous because Mets baseball would be over until April, but I was excited because I expected the next era of Mets baseball to begin shortly. Especially after the last two months of the 2021 season.
I knew there would be a process, but I expected that with Steve Cohen aboard and the budget the next General Manager would be able to work with that someone big was coming to New York. I was excited to see the next big time executive to come to the New York Mets.
Yet, here I sit on November 15, just two weeks from a pending labor strike and finally, it looks like the Mets have hired someone who will make baseball decisions. It’s the furthest thing from an ideal situation. Billy Eppler, the man who spent five years as the General Manager of the Los Angeles Angels and under his watch the team never had a winning season, is now the General Manager of the New York Mets, according to reports.
To say I am jumping out of shoes for this hire would be a major exaggeration. However, it could be worse. Prior to Eppler’s time in LA, he was thought of as the next big General Manager who worked for close to a decade under the careful watch of Brian Cashman. Cashman has won four World Series in his 22 years as the General Manager of the Yankees and he’s a great person to learn from. Eppler’s time in the Bronx was thought to help prepare him for the big time. He went to a big market team for a half of a decade and failed. Nothing else really matters.
He did do some good things in LA. Signing Shohei Ohtani and convincing Mike Trout to stay long term in LA were positive things. He was able to sign slugger Anthony Rendon to a major contract. However, the pitching was never good enough in LA and he failed.
Yet, he’s still the same guy who was thought of so highly when he was in the Bronx and I do believe in second chances. There are some General Managers who have been fired from jobs before who succeeded in their next role.
No matter what way you feel about the Billy Eppler hire, it is someone who has been in baseball the last five years and someone with legit front office experience. There’s no doubt that his time in LA raise some red flags, but after the Mets were denied multiple interviews and dragged this hiring process almost to the week of Thanksgiving, Billy Eppler is a decent hire. Had you told me on October 4, that he would be the man making key decisions for the Mets, I would have been disappointed, no question. But in the grand scheme of things, they hired someone who has some really good experience and was looking for a second chance. After a rough month, he was the best of the rest.