Mets' General Manager Resigns Amid MLB Investigation into IL Misuse


The New York Mets find themselves in a state of transition as the team's new era kicks off with a surprising turn of events. On Thursday, Billy Eppler, the Mets' General Manager, tendered his resignation amidst an ongoing inquiry by Major League Baseball (MLB) into alleged improper use of the injured list during the 2023 season, as revealed by sources to The Post.

While MLB confirmed the existence of the investigation, specific details regarding the nature of the alleged infractions have not been disclosed. The league was alerted to potential abuses of the Injured List through an anonymous letter, according to an inside source. As part of the inquiry, MLB intends to conduct interviews with several Mets staff members.

The potential repercussions for the Mets, if any, remain uncertain at this time. Eppler's decision to step down was motivated by a desire to prevent becoming a distraction to the newly appointed David Stearns administration, who took on the role of President of Baseball Operations.

Eppler had not yet engaged with MLB officials as of Thursday evening, but sources indicate that he is expected to fully cooperate with the investigation. The practice of placing ostensibly healthy players on the Injured List can confer a competitive advantage to a team, allowing them to maintain control over players rather than risk losing them to other organizations.

This development comes just three days after Eppler stood alongside Stearns at a press conference introducing the new head of baseball operations. Although the two expressed anticipation for their collaboration, Eppler will not be continuing his tenure as the Mets' leader.

In a statement released by the Mets, Eppler remarked, "I wanted David to have a clean slate and that meant me stepping down. I hope for nothing but the best for the entire Mets organization," declining further comment.

Stearns, while not quoted in the press release, joins owner Steve Cohen in acknowledging Eppler's contributions. Cohen stated, "Billy Eppler led this team through a 101-win season and postseason berth last year and he will be missed... On behalf of the Mets organization, we wish him all the best."

Eppler's departure marks another abrupt exit for a Mets official. Prior to his role, Sandy Alderson transitioned from team president to special advisor in early 2023. He played a pivotal role in Eppler's appointment, emphasizing an exhaustive vetting process to avoid repeating past mistakes.

Eppler succeeded predecessors Jared Porter and Zack Scott, both dismissed due to off-the-field incidents. Porter's departure stemmed from prior allegations of sexual harassment, while Scott faced legal trouble following a drunken-driving arrest.

Before them, Mickey Callaway, Mets' manager from 2018-2019, was suspended and placed on MLB's ineligible list for inappropriate conduct involving female reporters.

Eppler's hiring in November 2021 came after an extended search for a president of baseball operations. He made an immediate impact, orchestrating significant moves in the free agent market, notably securing Max Scherzer. The team achieved success in 2022, though this season presented greater challenges culminating in a trade-deadline sell-off to rebuild the farm system.

Eppler's strength in the international market was evident in acquisitions like Shohei Ohtani during his time with the Angels and Kodai Senga with the Mets. Notably, he will not be present for the upcoming offseason, during which Ohtani is set to become a free agent, and Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto will enter the open market.

It was widely anticipated that Cohen would eventually appoint a higher-ranking official above Eppler. Despite public assurances of contentment with his role, the events leading to Eppler's resignation unfolded swiftly, leaving the Mets' leadership structure in a state of flux.

Stearns, in reflecting on their working relationship, stated, "Billy and I have had a really nice relationship going back years as competitors... I have a lot of respect for the experience he has in this game, the experience he has in New York and I am looking forward to working with him." Cohen emphasized his commitment to building a robust management team within the organization, highlighting the complexity of baseball operations and the need for a strong administrative foundation.