Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that former Mets general manager Billy Eppler has been placed on the Ineligible List through the conclusion of the 2024 World Series for violation of Injured List rules.
MLB sent out a release in which it said its Department of Investigation conducted interviews with more than three dozen individuals and that Eppler and the Mets fully cooperated with the process.
It was determined that Eppler was involved with improper use of Injured List placements, including the deliberate fabrication of injuries; and the associated submission of documentation for the purposes of securing multiple improper Injured List placements during the 2022 and 2023 seasons.
Eppler can seek an earlier reinstatement, which would be considered by Manfred.
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 former GM resigned in October amid Major League Baseball’s investigation regarding the IL usage.
Eppler’s sudden departure came just days after David Stearns was named the team’s new president of baseball operations. The two had been expected to work together, with Eppler staying on in his GM role.
That plan came to an abrupt end, according to sources, when the league was tipped off about the IL allegations in an anonymous letter.
Eppler resigned after he and the organization became aware of the investigation, with sources saying that he would have been fired if he didn’t resign.
Placing non-injured players on the IL allows teams to keep those players under club control instead of potentially losing them to other organizations.
During the World Series, Manfred said, “One of my directions to the [department of investigations] people is we need to finish the Mets and then we need to figure out whether we have a bigger problem.”
Eppler spent two seasons as Mets GM and helped build a roster that won 101 games in his first season at the helm before last year’s disappointment, when the Mets crumbled despite the high-priced addition of Justin Verlander to a rotation led by Max Scherzer.
Both veteran right-handers were part of a trade deadline selloff and the season ended with Buck Showalter being replaced as manager by Carlos Mendoza.
When Eppler was first hired, he brought some stability to a front office that had been in turmoil.
He arrived in November 2021 following a lengthy search for a president of baseball operations that failed to land a candidate.
Eppler’s two immediate predecessors, Jared Porter and Zack Scott, were both fired for off-the-field issues.
In January 2021, Porter was found to have previously sexually harassed a female journalist while working for the Cubs.
And Scott, after replacing Porter, was forced out in September of the same year after being arrested on drunken-driving charges. He was later acquitted.
Prior to that duo, former manager Mickey Callaway was suspended in 2021 and placed on MLB’s ineligible list for sending inappropriate messages and pictures to female reporters.
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