Ebler, joining the Mets, embraces a return to ‘terrifying’ NYC
Embracing the bright lights of the big city, Billy Ebler promised on his first day as general manager for the Mets to pursue pricey free agents and create a permanent contender for the World Championship.
Hired late Thursday by owner Steve Cohen and team boss Sandy Alderson, Ebler was introduced Friday and charged with the responsibility of reversing a poorly performing organization emerging from back-to-back losing seasons and management turmoil that included the arrest and loss of a talented free-agency star marksman.
“I’m ready for the right deals and the right free agents to get the players we need,” Cohen said.
He estimated 2022 salaries currently at $185 million, with more spending to come.
“We’ll be able to do a little bit bigger swing in free agency,” Ebler said.
Alderson said last week that some candidates for GM have no desire to move to the Big Apple because it is “a big stage and some would prefer to be elsewhere.” Ebler, 46, has embraced what he calls “a rabid fan base” in New York.
“Big buildings. It’s scary,” he said. It makes you feel really small. But if you go and learn and develop, the city begins to educate you. I think the city teaches you patience. I think the city teaches resilience and ingenuity, and there really is nowhere else like it.”
The money will flow, Cohen and Epler said during a digital press conference. They need to replace bowler Noah Sendergaard, who has agreed to a $21 million contract with the Angels.
Ebler said, “We want to deal with the free agent market as well as the commercial one. In my conversations with Steve and Sandy, obviously we’ll have some resources behind us. So I don’t think anything cancels itself out initially here. I look at the list and I definitely want to tackle the show” .
Ebler spoke from his California home, while Cohen and Alderson sat together at Citi Field. The Mets have not won the World Championship since 1986, and since then have had three main owners (including feuding co-owners) and 11 general managers (not including the cut-offs). The manager Ebler appoints to replace Luis Rojas will be the twelfth.
Cohen bought the Mets last November. Alderson reinstated and hired GM Jared Porter, who was fired in January after 38 days for revealing sexually explicit text messages.
Zach Scott, replacing Porter as interim general manager, was sacked after he was arrested for drunk driving and after the Mets became the first team to spend up to 103 days in first and then finish with a losing record (77-85).
Ebler, a San Diego native, has been familiar with Gotham since his time with the Yankees from 2004 to 2015, when he rose to the position of assistant GM. He returned to California to become the Los Angeles Angels’ general manager, and was fired a year ago after five losing seasons. He was hired in September by William Morris Endeavor Entertainment as a partner to run a baseball player acting practice with Jim Murray and Michael Stival.
During Eppler’s tenure with the Angels, the team hired Mickey Callaway as pitching coach after he was fired as the Mets manager, and suspended Major League Baseball Callaway in May until the 2022 season after investigating allegations of sexual harassment.
Eric Kay, a former communications director for Angels, has been indicted in federal court for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance and distribute a controlled substance resulting in death or serious bodily injury, charges linked to the death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs.
Cohen said, “It’s an organization, and Billy is just one person in that organization. We checked it out in multiple ways. We talked to a lot of people who were around the organization at the time. We talked to people inside baseball, and we’re incredibly comfortable with Billy and his decision.” His morals and integrity.”
Ebler will only say that industry scrutiny has evolved.
Ebler understands that Cohen may hire Alderson as head of baseball operations over him a year from now.
“This isn’t necessarily a job for one person,” Ebler said. “If that happens, I’d welcome the opportunity because I know it’s going to be someone who looks at the world similarly, or I should say the world of baseball is similar to what I do.”
He cited the late Jane Michael, a longtime Yankees CEO, for teaching him to assess players’ focus and movement, not just relying on analytics.
Cohen said he enjoys connecting with fans via Twitter. When it comes to roster decisions, he says he’s pulling into the baseball department.
“It’s not my job to dictate who the players will be,” Cohen said. “My job is when they come to me, to say, ‘Yeah, let’s do that.'” Let’s spend on this. Let’s make this trade, I’m ok.”
Looking to the future, Eppler will help oversee an increase in front desks.
“The resources I spoke to with Steve about being able to get them here give me a really good feeling that we will be able to support some of these issues and build an overall best-in-class exploration, player development process and performance science and analysis process,” said Epler. These divisions will ultimately lead to long-term success.”
More from AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports