Why Mets chose Billy Eppler as GM: 'He understands the challenges that New York represents'

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Billy Eppler treated art turning to side in front of Citi Field background
Billy Eppler treated art turning to side in front of Citi Field background

The Mets officially introduced Billy Eppler as the team's GM on Friday, with owner Steve Cohen and team president Sandy Alderson joining in on a news conference with reporters via Zoom.

Here's what the trio had to say about the decision, vetting process, and vision for the team moving forward.

Eppler's opening statement

"I'm tremendously excited to be here and be a part of the Mets organization," Eppler said. "I'd like to thank Steve and Alex Cohen for giving me this opportunity. In our conversations as we went through this process and this dialogue, it was evident every step of the way that they are committed to building a championship-caliber organization from top to bottom. I would also like to thank Sandy for your guidance and your support through the process. And know that I'm excited to work alongside you, getting a chance to position myself with someone with your resume and baseball acumen is something I look forward to.

"To the Mets fans, man, I cannot wait to connect with you in person. I'll take you back to my first game seeing the Mets in 2005 at Shea Stadium, it was my first exposure in person. I felt your passion; I witnessed the electricity of the environment. I'm sitting in the scout seat behind home plate, and looking around the stadium and thinking to myself, 'this is what a baseball game was intended to look like.' Just know, I look at the role of our baseball operations department as one to serve you. We realize we have a duty and obligation to you, and we will take that seriously."

Alderson's opening statement

"It's my real pressure to announce that Billy Eppler is the new general manager of the New York Mets," Alderson said. "Billy has over 20 years of experience in the game, a variety of positions including assistant general manager, general manager. Tremendous and lengthy experience in the New York market. He understands the challenges that New York represents in terms of its fans, who are knowledgeable and passionate and demanding, as well as the big stage."

Eppler's vision for Mets going forward

"As far as our vision for the Mets organization moving forward, we want to build and drive a culture that promotes an inclusive and collaborative environment that is defined by high operational standards," Eppler said. "I just want to reiterate that again I'm thrilled to be here because along with the 2009 World Series championship, this is a career highlight for me.

"To the fans, we have a sizeable list of things to do right now. From a managerial hire, to coaching staff hires, to free agency and trade market. We're going to kick it into high gear as soon as we wrap it up here today."

Alderson on vetting process

"This was not a linear process, this was not a matter of making inquiries and making offers on a serial basis," Alderson said. "Billy is the only one who received an offer from Steve and the Mets. It was an exhaustive process, we talked to many people. We're very happy that as a result Billy is our new general manager.

"Secondly, I want to talk about the vetting process in connection with our search. It also was exhaustive. It was broader, deeper than any vetting process we had ever undergone. It involved not only inquiries with respect to those in the industry, those for whom he had worked, but also those with whom he had worked with in an organization or outside of the organization, the media for example."

Cohen on the hiring process

"Well when you say pushback, I think there are lots of reasons why people decide that they're just not available," Cohen said. "They're comfortable where they are, their wives and kids are at a certain age, they don't want to move or coming out of COVID. People are still a little bit uncomfortable at this point moving to perhaps a big city given COVID concerns. That's understandable. People have contracts, right, I mean let's not forget that. Contracts are contracts.

"... What I can say is I'm really excited about working with Billy. Just to give you a little feedback, I just came back from the MLB Owner Meetings, and I can tell you that (it was) universal praise for the hiring. People coming up to me from everywhere, saying we got a real pro, well liked in the industry, well respected. I'm excited. Listen, I put a lot of time into this. Like I always say, I have a day job. It's a relief to get someone I feel really good about. Just based on our conversations I think he's going to be an easy person to work with."