Billy Eppler resigned as the New York Mets’ general manager, the team announced Thursday.
Eppler’s surprising resignation came in the middle of an ongoing investigation by Major League Baseball into improper use of the injured list, sources told Mike Puma, Joel Sherman, Jon Heyman, and Mark W. Sanchez of the New York Post.
The league is specifically investigating Eppler, and its probe remains open even after his departure from the Mets, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
The league is investigating Eppler’s use of what’s known as the “phantom” IL during the past season, Passan reports. Many teams will try and utilize the “phantom” IL by asking players who are on the back ends of the roster to accept an IL stint instead of being sent to the minors even though they’re not actually hurt. It’s not known what specific IL transactions by the Mets are being investigated by the league.
Eppler has not yet spoken to MLB investigators, but is cooperating with the league, the Post reports. He informed the Mets that he was resigning in order to avoid becoming a distraction.
The executive’s surprising decision came just three days after the Mets hired David Stearns to be the team’s president of baseball operations. Until Thursday, Eppler was to continue as GM and report directly to Stearns, who he said this week he was “looking forward to working with,” per the Post.
“I wanted David to have a clean slate, and that meant me stepping down,” Eppler said in a statement announcing his resignation. “I hope for nothing but the best for the entire Mets organization.”
“Billy Eppler led this team through a 101-win season and postseason berth last year, and he will be missed,” Mets owner Steve Cohen said earlier Thursday.
Eppler was hired in November 2021 and posted a 176-148 record during his tenure. Buck Showalter, the only manager Eppler brought aboard, was fired Sunday after New York finished the 2023 campaign with 75 wins despite boasting the largest payroll in MLB history.
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