Five takeaways from Billy Eppler’s inaugural press conference
Mets general manager Billy Eppler joined owner Steve Cohen and team president Sandy Alderson virtually from his home in California to meet and speak to New York media for the first time.
Eppler joins the Mets after five years as general manager of the Los Angeles Angels and having already spent a decade in New York with the Yankees organization.
Here are five takeaways from Eppler’s inaugural press conference:
1. Verification process
Billy Eppler was the only candidate the Mets offered the GM position. With the Mets’ own hiring history and what happened with the Angels during Eppler’s tenure as general manager, questions have arisen as to how the Mets made the decision of the to hire.
“We did our due diligence,” Alderson said. “It’s an organization, Billy is just one person in this organization. We have verified this in several ways. We’ve talked to a lot of people who were in the organization at the time, talked to baseball folks, and we’re incredibly comfortable with Billy and his decision-making, ethics and integrity.
Eppler opened up about hiring a former Mets manager Mickey callaway.
“The industry in general, as Sandy and Steve mentioned, has a vetting process that has evolved and we have this greater resource because of that,” Eppler said. “In general, the Angel organization has been questioned and answered. There is nothing more specific that I can add today. Just that the industry verification process has evolved.
2. The chairman is possible
The Mets have failed to hire a president of baseball operations for a second season and are not closing the door on hiring one next season, with Eppler remaining in the role of general manager.
“There is an opportunity here, for at least a year, to establish yourself to grow to the point where we may not even be able to look in a year for an additional person or an additional person above the role of CEO,” said Alderson. “We’ll have a year of experience and Steve and I will take a look at the end of the season and make a decision on where he wants to go. But Billy has a lot of opportunities here to settle down, grow and impact that decision a year from now. “
It has been well reported that Eppler is a close friend of Brewers president David Stearns, whom the Mets have attempted to hire over the past two seasons. Eppler also spent 10 years under Brian Cashman who could be available the next offseason.
Alderson expects to step back with Eppler in place. He will be available to Eppler for any contribution, but sees his role diminish over the year.
“I don’t expect to be heavily involved,” Alderson said.
3. Depth is the key
Eppler has learned from his experience with the Angels that the first thing a team can have is depth. The depth of the Mets was certainly tested last season with rosters including Khalil Lee, Johneshwy Fargas, and James mccann at first base.
“The lack of depth made us dive into free will to fill several holes on the roster,” Eppler said of his time with the Angels. “When you’re thin in that depth, and the wounds you take make him fall through the ice.” We had some success in 17-18 and then we would have been hit with two season-ending injuries on the pitching staff and we couldn’t recover.
With the Angels, Eppler mainly sought short-term, lower-value deals in an attempt not to double down on some of the contracts that plagued the team years later when they were down.
Cohen admitted that the Mets already have a payroll of around $ 185 million without any additions. He sees no immediate help in the farming system, which will require spending. Eppler is going to be allowed to spend to be competitive.
4. Don’t displace the best prospects
Mets fans still in shock over Brodie Van Wagenen trade to send Jarred Kelenic and Justin dunn to the Seattle Mariners for Edwin diaz and Robinson Canoe. It doesn’t appear to be repeated by Eppler.
“There is a certain strength in this farming system,” Eppler said. “From what I’m looking at, there are a number of guys who are in the top 100 prospects, but we don’t want to move that.”
The Mets would prefer to take larger free agency swings. Eppler wants to maximize his cumulative World Series odds over the long haul.
“Make decisions to maximize and strengthen those chances, and we build them over that multi-year horizon and we create sustainability. Free agent spending may be born out of more opportunities than necessities, so making those decisions is to improve organizational discipline to avoid impulsive decisions that can give up large amounts of future World Series odds in exchange for a few more wins. small right now, ”Eppler said. .
5. Change expectations
The Mets front office plans to reassess what their players are doing offensively after a year of decline for many at the plate.
“The process we will be looking at when assessing our breach is what are the underlying process parameters that somehow determine their performance and was there an element of bad luck,” Eppler said. . “Do we expect the numbers on the back of the baseball card to be the real numbers we expect from the players?” There is one element or setting for players that I tend to gravitate towards and I don’t think it’s really unique or exclusive as it’s kind of become the mainstay of baseball, but just to be a bit more. granular about it. Looking for players who are great decision makers in the batter’s box. They understand their swing decisions, and if a ball is over white, they are ready to attack it. A little more patient approach, but aggressive at the same time.