Billy Eppler investigation, explained: Why former Mets GM resigned amid probe from MLB

First, manager Buck Showalter resigned from the Mets. Now, general manager Billy Eppler is out of New York. 

The Mets former GM announced his resignation Thursday, just days after Showalter submitted his resignation. 

Hours after the Eppler news, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that MLB was investigating Eppler for alleged improper use of the injured list. 

Eppler’s resignation came out of nowhere. He was seen just days earlier at the Mets’ introductory news conference for David Stearns, who was hired by owner Steve Cohen to run the baseball operations.

However, with news of the investigation, Eppler reportedly elected to resign rather than stick around as a distraction for the new regime. 

“I wanted David to have a clean slate, and that meant me stepping down,” Eppler said in a statement released by the Mets. “I hope for nothing but the best for the entire Mets organization.”

The turnover in New York comes after an extremely disappointing 2023 season. After bringing in aces Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander over the last year, the Mets were seen as World Series contenders. Instead, the team floundered, going 75-87 to finish fourth in the NL East and miss the postseason. 

With Eppler’s resignation, it marks yet another recent change in the Mets front office. Whoever is hired to replace Eppler will be the team’s fourth general manager since 2021. 

Eppler’s predecessors, Jared Porter (2020-21) and Zack Scott (2021), were fired for off-field issues. Eppler was hired in November 2021 but will not see a third season with the team. 

MORE: 5 candidates to replace Buck Showalter as the next manager of the Mets

Here is more on why MLB is investigating Eppler:

Why MLB is investigating Billy Eppler

MLB has begun an investigation into Eppler’s use of the injured list. 

According to Passan, the league is concerned that Eppler and the Mets created phantom injuries for players to go on the IL. This practice is not uncommon in MLB, as the league has investigated these types of incidents before, however, the punishment that goes along with these probes is unclear. 

The New York Post reported that MLB received an anonymous letter about the alleged IL abuses, and that the plan is to interview multiple Mets employees as part of the investigation. 

This season, the Mets placed 25 players on the IL a total of 28 times, according to ESPN Stats & Information. That ranked 16th in the league this season, with the Giants (46) owning the most and the Astros (14) doing it the fewest. 

There are multiple benefits to keeping a player on the IL. If a batter or pitcher is going through a bad stretch and could be at risk of losing a spot on the roster, a team will place that player on the IL, healthy or not. This allows the player to gain the benefit of service time, stay on the 40-man roster and receive an MLB salary. For the team, it has to remove the player from the 26-man active roster, but it does not have to designate for assignment or waive the player. 

In order to keep track of the validity of ailments, teams are expected to present documentation and doctor’s approval to support the injury claims when looking to put a player on the IL. 

According to the New York Post, Eppler had yet to talk to MLB officials as of Thursday night, but he was expected to cooperate with the process. 

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