Billy Eppler is finalizing an agreement to be the new general manager of the New York Mets, sources confirmed to ESPN’s Jeff Passan on Monday night.
The deal with Eppler ends a lengthy — and much publicized — search by the Mets for a new GM.
The team fired acting general manager Zack Scott on Nov. 1, two months after he was arrested on charges of drunken driving. Scott was promoted to the role in January when Jared Porter was fired after fewer than 40 days on the job following revelations he sent sexually explicit text messages and images to a female reporter in 2016 while working for the Chicago Cubs.
Speaking last week, Mets president Sandy Alderson said several candidates to fill the job were unable to get permission from their current clubs to interview, while others had declined because they were too comfortable personally or professionally where they were.
Alderson had said he believed the biggest impediment in the club’s dragging search was the spotlight created by the New York market.
That, though, shouldn’t be a problem for Eppler, who has long ties to the city.
Born and raised in San Diego, he began as a scout with the Colorado Rockies before joining the Yankees in a similar role in 2004. For the next 11 years, Eppler graduated from scout to scouting director to assistant GM under Brian Cashman and built a solid reputation throughout the industry, leading to several GM interviews before he landed the job with the Angels.
He was GM of Los Angeles for five years until being fired at the conclusion of the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season.
During his time in the role, Eppler signed Shohei Ohtani, negotiated Mike Trout‘s second extension, helped lure Anthony Rendon and executed major trades that landed Justin Upton and Andrelton Simmons.
But the Angels suffered through losing seasons in all five years under Eppler, largely because of a deficient pitching staff. The only manager Eppler hand-selected, Brad Ausmus, was fired after the team lost 90 games in 2019, a year marked by the sudden death of Tyler Skaggs.
Eppler, 46, was hired with then-manager Mike Scioscia heading into the final three years of his contract and was let go after Joe Maddon concluded his first season as manager, even though his option for the following season had been picked up.
The Angels’ depleted farm system made some gains under Eppler’s watch, notably with the drafting of Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh. But Eppler, like Jerry Dipoto before him, struggled to toe the line between building sustainability and winning immediately, a task he will undoubtedly take on with the Mets.
After sitting out the 2021 season, Eppler was poised to enter the agent world — the same one that produced former Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen. Eppler was announced in September alongside Jim Murray and Michael Stival — formerly of Excel Sports Management — as new partners at WME who would lead its baseball representation business.
MLB Network first reported that Eppler and the Mets were closing in on a deal.