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#pounditWednesday, February 1, 2023

Articles tagged: Billy Eppler

Mets GM Billy Eppler could bring in familiar player?

Billy Eppler speaking

Jul 2, 2019; Arlington, TX, USA; Los Angeles Angels general manager Billy Eppler speaks during a press conference about the death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs before the game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Billy Eppler could be reaching deep into his bag of old connections.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported on Tuesday that veteran righty Garrett Richards could be a possibility for the New York Mets. Richards just cleared waivers after being designated for assignment by the Texas Rangers.

Eppler, the first-year Mets general manager, is familiar with Richards from their days with the Los Angeles Angels. Richards pitched for the Angels from 2011 to 2018 (with Eppler serving as the team’s GM for three of those years).

Granted, Richards is 34 now and has not looked great in a long time. Over the last four seasons, Richards has a total ERA of 4.89 and a total WHIP of 1.48 with declining velocity. But Richards, a long-time starter, is virtually a reliever at this point in his career. The Mets (though they have made some moves in recent weeks) could still use help in that department.

Ex-Mets star takes shot at team over hiring of GM Billy Eppler

Billy Eppler at a press conference

One former New York Mets player seems to think that Billy Crystal would have been a better hire than Billy Eppler.

Chicago Cubs pitcher Marcus Stroman took to Twitter this week to blast the Mets over the recent hiring of Eppler to be their new general manager.

“Just look at who the Mets hired as their GM … that tells you enough,” wrote Stroman. “His lack of awareness in his previous position is being exposed to the public now. I’m beyond thankful I’m gone from that organization. God got me!”

Stroman is referencing the trial over the death of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who died of an overdose in 2019 while Eppler was Angels GM.

Here is a screenshot of Stroman’s tweet, which has since been deleted.

Stroman, who was an All-Star with the Mets, left earlier this offseason to sign a three-year, $71 million deal with the Cubs. It is worth noting that Stroman is an edgy tweeter who oftens beefs with opposing fans and has openly blasted commissioner Rob Manfred over the ongoing lockout.

The 30-year-old clearly has no love lost for the Mets either. This is not the first time that Stroman has gone after the team in recent months.

Photo: Mar 24, 2019; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels general manager Billy Eppler at a press conference to announce a 12 year contract extension for center fielder Mike Trout (not pictured) at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

New Mets GM could make familiar managerial hire?

Billy Eppler at a press conference

The New York Mets’ new general manager may be wasting no time in plotting his first move for the team.

Former Los Angeles Angels GM Billy Eppler accepted the GM job with the Mets this week. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that ex-Angels skipper Brad Ausmus could thus be high on the Mets’ managerial list. Heyman adds that Ausmus was fired by the Angels at the behest of owner Arte Moreno. Eppler is also believed to be an Ausmus supporter.

Ausmus worked with Eppler during Ausmus’ lone season with the Angels in 2019. He went 72-90 (.444) and was fired after the year. Ausmus does have a career record of 386-422 (.478) and a division title thanks to his time as the manager of the Detroit Tigers.

As for Eppler himself, he largely failed as Angels GM. Hiring back a manager who was connected to that failure would be a rather interesting move for him as the new head of the Mets.

Photo: Mar 24, 2019; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels general manager Billy Eppler at a press conference to announce a 12 year contract extension for center fielder Mike Trout (not pictured) at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Mets hire failed Angels GM Billy Eppler

Billy Eppler at a press conference

The New York Mets had difficulty finding a new general manager, but they have finally made a hire.

The Mets are hiring former Los Angeles Angels GM Billy Eppler.

Eppler was hired by the Angels after the 2015 season was fired after the 2020 season. The Angels never won more than 80 games in a season during his five seasons as the team’s GM.

Eppler came to the Angels from the Yankees, where he was an assistant to Brian Cashman, and now he will be returning to New York.

During his time as Angels GM, Eppler oversaw the successful recruitment and signing of Shohei Ohtani. He also signed Mike Trout to a massive contract extension.

However, Eppler failed to sign, acquire or develop any pitchers of note. Pitching remained the Angels’ biggest weakness during Eppler’s tenure — an issue that was comically addressed by the new general manager in the Angels’ most recent draft.

Not only did Eppler fail to improve the team’s weak pitching, but he also seemed to do a poor job of prioritizing the team’s needs. For instance, the Angels kept signing/investing in expensive position players like Justin Upton and Anthony Rendon, all while the pitching remained weak.

Some of the Angels’ failings during Eppler’s tenure could be attributed to Angels owner Arte Moreno, who is known to meddle. It’s unclear to what extent Eppler acted based on Moreno’s desires and what were his own decisions. But the bottom line is the team did not do well during his five seasons.

Why would the Mets hire him based on all this? The Mets went through an extensive list of candidates and got turned down by numerous targets before eventually making their way to Eppler, who sought another chance to run a team. He will have his work cut out for him with the Mets, but at least he is getting another chance as a GM.

Photo: Mar 24, 2019; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels general manager Billy Eppler at a press conference to announce a 12 year contract extension for center fielder Mike Trout (not pictured) at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Ex-Angels GM Billy Eppler is becoming an agent

Billy Eppler

It wasn’t that long ago that Billy Eppler was a highly-rated front office figure in baseball. It seems now he’s given up on that line of work to move to the other side of the negotiating table.

Eppler, who was fired as Los Angeles Angels general manager in 2020, is joining William Morris Endeavor’s baseball agency, according to Robert Murray of FanSided.

WME has been trying to grow its baseball practice in recent years, and appears to believe Eppler can help do so. It’s not clear whether he’ll directly represent players or take on some other role in the agency. It’s worth noting that he has no experience in that part of the industry, having risen in baseball as a scout before becoming GM of the Angels.

The New York Mets hired a prominent agent as GM in 2018, but that didn’t end well for him or the team. There’s not a lot of precedent for what Eppler is doing, which makes it all the more intriguing.

Billy Eppler has been fired and never should have been hired in the first place

Angels logo

The Los Angeles Angels will need a new general manager after firing Billy Eppler on Sunday, finally ending a five-year mistake.

The Angels made the move with Eppler, firing him even though he had a year left on his current deal. The Angels reportedly quietly gave Eppler a 1-year contract extension over the summer, The Athletic’s Fabian Ardaya reports.

The move is long overdue from the Angels, and truthfully, Eppler never should have been hired in the first place.

The Angels had a losing record in all five seasons of Eppler’s tenure from 2016-2020. The best they did was get to 80-82.

At the time the Angels hired Eppler, they should have gone into a quick rebuild and tried to acquire some young pitching to help replace the losses of Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson, who were rotation mainstays. Instead, they wanted to compete right away despite the vast talent differences between them and the division-leading Astros. Eppler likely got the job because he convinced owner Arte Moreno that competing in the AL West was possible. That proved to be a fantasy, as the team lacked the pitching throughout his tenure as GM. One of Eppler’s first moves — trading two young pitchers for Andrelton Simmons — seemed to be proof of this misguided belief.

Eppler’s best moves were signing Mike Trout to a long-term, lifetime-type deal, and winning the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes. Beyond signing Ohtani, Eppler never built a pitching staff and even continued to spend his resources on position players despite the team’s pitching being a glaring weakness. The team acquired Justin Upton at the trade deadline in 2017. Acquiring Upton under the belief that they were contenders was proof of their delusion. Signing Upton to an extension rather than using the money in other ways compounded the error.

The Angels’ strong run from their World Series year in 2002 to their last division title in 2014 had ended, and the team was heading the wrong direction. It was obvious. The Angels hired Eppler and tried to fight the truth, but the truth prevailed, and the best they could manage was an 80-82 season. At least the Angels appear to have a real winner in mind as a replacement to get them back on track.

Shohei Ohtani signing made Angels GM fall out of his chair

Shohei Ohtani

The Los Angeles Angels had no real inkling that Shohei Ohtani was going to pick them in free agency.

In fact, Angels general manager Billy Eppler was so shocked to learn that Ohtani had chosen the Angels, he literally missed his chair when trying to sit down after taking the call from Ohtani’s agents.

“I whiffed on the chair and fell all the way to the ground,” Eppler said, via Jeff Miller of the Orange County Register. “I was just stunned. It was a pretty remarkable moment. … There’s so much adrenaline pumping. I didn’t even feel it.”

The Angels pulled out all the stops to try to bring Ohtani to Anaheim, but it sounds like they weren’t getting their hopes up. Now that they’ve got him, they can really start to look ahead and dream of what he can do for them.