Billy Eppler is the new general manager of the New York Mets which means it’s his chance to put his own mark on the franchise. Whatever the first big move he makes ends up being, we’ll remember it as a Billy Eppler addition or subtraction.
One of the players Eppler will consider this winter—or at least should—is starting pitcher Marcus Stroman. Brought to us by Brodie Van Wagenen in the summer of 2019, Stroman is now a free agent and not someone I think too many people other than the perpetually optimistic believe will return to the Mets.
There are a lot of reasons for this belief. None makes more sense to me than the pettiest of logic.
Marcus Stroman could be done with the Mets because he was an old GM’s addition
We’ve seen it a lot in recent years. Van Wagenen subtracted guys brought in by the previous regime and held tightly to as many of his own additions as he could. Then, as soon as BVW left, the new front office did whatever they could to erase Van Wagenen from the franchise’s history without coming off too Soviet Russia.
While BVW traded away guys like Jarred Kelenic, Justin Dunn, Simeon Woods-Richardson, and other prospects, we saw the new stable at the top move on from BVW’s second first-round pick, Pete Crow-Armstrong, this past summer. BVW draft pick Josh Wolfe was moved in the Francisco Lindor trade as well. Since he left, Van Wagenen’s prized trade acquisition, J.D. Davis, has been on the block.
It’s petty but there has been a lot of erasing what the last regime did. Intentional or not, it could be a reason why Eppler doesn’t have much interest in bringing back Stroman.
General Managers have egos, too
We know a lot more about the egos between the ears of professional athletes than we do the executives behind the scenes. It’s understandable that someone in Eppler’s position would walk with a strut. He’s at a high level in the sports world. He has a reputation to uphold.
I know a general manager’s job is to build the best team possible—maybe throw a chair or two along the way as well. But something we see with every organization and in every sport is a process that goes into place. GMs want their team to look and feel a certain way. It’s their brand. The players they choose to decide are the red shirts and tan khakis to them as they are to whoever owns Target. Ted Target? That sounds right.
Stroman makes a lot of sense for the Mets but with Stroman’s openness about other teams, it just seems as if he’s not getting much attention at all from his former club. Could it be that he is viewed as a leftover from the Van Wagenen Reign of Error?
Just because “Stroman to the Mets” wasn’t originally an Eppler Production shouldn’t stop the relationship from continuing. And I don’t believe it’s the number one cause of this upcoming breakup for good.
For change’s sake, I suspect the Mets go in a different direction. Stroman, too, could simply view another destination more favorably. And if so, the Mets may have already started to look elsewhere.