The offseason is here, at least for the New York Mets, and change has already come to Flushing. David Stearns has been hired as the new President of Baseball Operations, and Billy Eppler is out as the team's general manager.
The move came as a surprise to most, as it was assumed that Eppler would be working under Stearns to usher in a new era of Mets baseball, but shortly after his resignation was announced, it came out that Eppler was under investigation by Major League Baseball for improper use of the injured list.
We can add that story to the long list entitled "That could only happen to the Mets," but if we dwelled on every LOLMets story that came out, we'd have no time for anything else. Instead, let's take a look back at some of the good things Eppler did during his time in New York.
1) Signing Kodai Senga
It's easy now, in the wake of a Cy Young-quality rookie season, to look back and say that signing Kodai Senga was a no-brainer, but the move was far from a sure thing. Many teams saw Senga's transition from Japan to the major leagues as a risky proposition, but Eppler went all-in to secure the righty's services.
Senga exceeded even the rosiest of expectations in his first year, establishing himself as a bonafide ace. His ghost fork pitch was arguably the single best pitch in the majors this year, and his control improved throughout the season.
Though skeptics worried early on that Senga wouldn't be able to handle a full starter's workload, he got stronger as the year went on, finishing with over 166 innings pitched and a 2.98 ERA.
Eppler handed Senga a five-year, $75 million contract that now looks like one of the best bargains in baseball. With Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander now gone (and incidentally, Senga outperformed them when they were in town anyway), Senga will enter 2024 as the Mets unquestioned ace and Opening Day starter.