It’s a New York Mets General Manager tradition. You get the job and you try to erase what the person before you built up on the farm. A pattern started when Brodie Van Wagenen took over. Without fail, he continually subtracted players drafted by the previous regime while holding onto his own. It could have gone unnoticed until the same thing happened under Zack Scott.
Van Wagenen eliminated countless prospects from the Mets farm system with Scott’s biggest being Pete Crow-Armstrong in the ill-fated Javier Baez deal. BVW only made two first-round draft picks in his tenure with the Mets that felt much longer than two seasons. One is already gone. Another could follow (where does Brett Baty fit in?) and so might some of those guys Billy Eppler brought to town.
The Mets farm system is more than just their own guys. At this year’s trade deadline, Eppler added some of his former draft picks from the Los Angeles Angels. Coleman Crow was one of the two pitchers the Mets acquired from the Angels in the June trade of Eduardo Escobar. Jeremiah Jackson, another former draft pick of Eppler’s, came via the Dominic Leone deal.
Billy Eppler’s fingerprints are all over the Mets farm system even through trades and there could be casualties
Eppler will no longer be there behind closed doors to tell anyone why Crow, Jackson, or even any of his other draft picks are worth keeping. Kevin Parada already looked like he was drafted to eventually get traded. Any other number of notable prospects the Mets have that were made possible by Eppler may not fit as well into what Stearns and the next general manager have planned.
Change is good for the Mets, but stability is something they’ve lacked. Under Steve Cohen, they’re about to have their third manager. The general manager seat has changed plenty as well. From Jared Porter, to Scott, to Eppler, the Mets are keeping the local nameplate store in business with all of the change.
Interestingly, Eppler may have done his best work at the 2023 trade deadline with the help of Cohen’s money. Compared to what he did at the previous trade deadline when the Mets were actually buying, he seemed to set them up much better for a future run than he did in 2022 for an ongoing one.
The ongoing investigation into Eppler’s handling of the injured list will have some factor into how we remember him. However, it’s two very different trade deadlines that’ll stand out most.
How much and how quickly will Stearns and Company try to make us forget all about him? It should come down to what they think of the players and not the man who made them Mets.
Even some of those high-profile prospects the team just brought in may not be viewed as favorably by Stearns. “Philosophy” has been a word tossed around a lot with front offices and managers these days. We’ll find out in the next few months if Stearns spins the wheel in the other direction.