February 22, 2024

MLB suspends ex-Mets GM Billy Eppler for 2024 season for improper use of injured list


Major League Baseball suspended former New York Mets general manager Billy Eppler through the 2024 World Series for improper use of the injured list, including the “deliberate fabrication of injuries,” commissioner Rob Manfred announced Friday.

Eppler resigned in October amid MLB’s investigation after he spent the past two seasons as Mets GM.

MLB said its investigation “concluded that the pattern of conduct was at Mr. Eppler’s sole direction and without any involvement of Mets ownership or superiors.”

“The Mets have been informed of the conclusion of Major League Baseball’s investigation,” the Mets said in a statement Friday. “With Billy Eppler’s resignation on October 5, 2023, and with David Stearns leading the baseball operations team, the Mets consider the matter closed and will have no further comment.”

Eppler said in a statement to The Athletic on Friday, “I cooperated fully and transparently with MLB’s investigation, and I accept their decision.” Eppler’s attorney, Jay Reisinger, declined comment.

MLB said its Department of Investigation conducted interviews with more than three dozen people and that Eppler and the Mets fully cooperated with the process.

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

Why is MLB investigating the Mets? Explaining the Phantom IL and Steve Cohen’s involvement

The Department of Investigation determined Eppler was involved with the improper use of injured list placements, including fabricating injuries, and the associated submission of documents to secure multiple improper injured list placements during the 2022 and 2023 seasons, the league said in its statement.

Eppler can seek an earlier reinstatement, which would be considered by Manfred.

Eppler’s surprising resignation in October came just days after the Mets introduced Stearns as their new leader of baseball operations. Eppler, along with other front office members, sat in the first row during Stearns’ introductory news conference. It was expected that Eppler would remain the Mets GM under Stearns. The Mets have yet to name another GM; Stearns said there was too much going on in the winter to devote the necessary time toward finding someone for that position.

Eppler spent two seasons as the Mets’ GM. In his first year, the Mets won 101 games. But the Mets disappointed on a profound level last year; despite a record-setting payroll, New York failed to make the playoffs and traded away key players such as Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander around the trade deadline.

Eppler started his Mets tenure in November 2021 after the Mets experienced turnover and turmoil in their front office. Eppler’s two immediate predecessors, Jared Porter and Zack Scott, were both fired for off-the-field issues.

Ken Rosenthal contributed reporting to this story.

Required reading

(Photo: Brad Penner / USA Today)





Source