Tagged in: hiring

New York Mets announce Billy Eppler as new GM on 4-year contract

The New York Mets finally found a general manager, hiring Billy Eppler in a move revealed Thursday night following their long and ridiculed search.

Eppler was fired as GM of the Los Angeles Angels a little more than a year ago after five unsuccessful seasons. But he landed the same position with the Mets after a recruiting process that became the butt of jokes while dragging on for more than six weeks since the 2021 season ended.

Eppler gets a four-year contract to become the 16th general manager in Mets history and their fifth head of baseball operations in 13 tumultuous months. He will be introduced by the team Friday via Zoom.

With an uncertain offseason already underway, his return to New York marks a major step toward restoring stability in the front-office structure under owner Steve Cohen and team president Sandy Alderson.

“I’m so thankful to Steve and Sandy for what I consider an opportunity of a lifetime,” Eppler said in a statement. “We have a lot of work to do and will systematically begin to work towards our goal of building a perennial winner.”

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The 46-year-old Eppler was GM of the Angels from 2015 to 2020, overseeing five consecutive losing seasons.

The team went 332-376 (.469) under three managers, with a rotating cast of supporting players around Mike Trout and Albert Pujols.

Unable to provide enough pitching, an aggressive Eppler did land some big fish for Los Angeles with the help of owner Arte Moreno’s checkbook. He lured two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani to the Angels and signed free agent third baseman Anthony Rendon to a $245 million, seven-year contract. Trout got a $426.5 million, 12-year deal.

“Billy has the experience, character and respect of the baseball community that will allow him to attract the players and front office talent to lead the Mets forward,” Cohen stated. “He is a leader who has worked in two of baseball’s biggest markets and his talents and personality will move us closer to my goal of sustained success.”

Although the Angels didn’t win much under Eppler, he boosted a previously barren farm system with several prospects now making an impact on the big league level, including All-Star slugger Jared Walsh, Brandon Marsh, Jo Adell and Reid Detmers.

“One of the most honest people I’ve met in this industry. Great talent evaluator,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said of Eppler at the end of the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. “I’m certain he’s going to land firmly on his feet.”

Two months ago, Eppler joined WME Sports as part of their baseball representation.

“Over the past two decades, Billy has been a scout and an assistant GM,” Alderon said. “He’s also more than familiar with the New York market. This uniquely qualifies him to lead our efforts going forward. He’s smart, he hustles and has a keen eye for identifying talent. He’s going to make us better. I am really pleased that we have someone of his caliber leading the Mets.”

Eppler graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1998 with a finance degree and worked in scouting and player development for the Colorado Rockies from 2000 to 2004. After that he joined the New York Yankees and became a rising star in their front office.

He was director of professional scouting from 2006 to 2011 and an assistant GM under Brian Cashman from 2012 to 2014.

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Philadelphia Eagles hiring Nick Sirianni as head coach

The Eagles are hiring Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni as their next head coach, executive vice president Howie Roseman told ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio on Thursday.

Sirianni, 39, had a long interview for the head-coaching job that began Tuesday and reportedly spilled over to the next day.

There was a sense in league circles that the race had narrowed to two candidates — New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Sirianni, who has been the Colts’ coordinator for three campaigns.

Philadelphia ended up hiring the less-heralded name but one that continued to gain steam inside the Eagles organization the more it called around about him.

The Eagles’ coaching search was done with the quarterback situation — Carson Wentz, in particular — in mind. After firing Doug Pederson, whose relationship with Wentz had soured, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said: “It behooves us as a team with a new coach, a new coaching staff, to be able to really get [Wentz] back to that elite progression.”

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Wentz, whose struggles in 2020 were described as “very fixable” by Lurie, was benched for the final quarter of the season after consistently poor play. Rookie Jalen Hurts replaced him in the lineup and provided a spark to the offense but cooled some down the stretch.

Wentz had a near-MVP campaign in 2017 when current Colts coach Frank Reich was his offensive coordinator in Philadelphia.

Sirianni was Reich’s right-hand man in Indianapolis and was the quarterbacks coach when Reich was the Chargers offensive coordinator in 2014 and ’15. The connection could hold significance for Wentz, who has a great deal of trust in Reich.

Wentz had been expected to request a trade this offseason because his relationship with Pederson was fractured beyond repair, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.

Both Hurts and Wentz are under contract with the Eagles for 2021.

Despite a rotating cast at quarterback with Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett and Philip Rivers, Indianapolis fielded a top-10 offense in two of the past three seasons. Rivers completed 68% of his passes this season for 4,169 yards with 24 touchdowns to 11 interceptions in 2020.

The Colts (11-5) concluded ninth in the NFL in scoring (28.2 PPG) and 10th in yards per game (378.1) in 2020.

Sirianni has worked as a quarterbacks coach and receivers coach since coming into the league with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2009.

The Eagles held a broad search after firing Super Bowl-winning coach Doug Pederson on Jan. 11. They interviewed Arthur Smith, Robert Saleh, Jerod Mayo, Joe Brady, Kellen Moore, Duce Staley, Todd Bowles, Dennis Allen, McDaniels and Sirianni. They also had a request in to speak with Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, sources said, but there was an agreement to wait until after Sunday’s AFC Championship Game for a potential interview.

Pederson was fired after going 4-11-1 in his fifth season with the team. He went 46-39-1 and obtained the Lombardi trophy during the 2017 season — the first of three consecutive playoff appearances for the Eagles under Pederson.

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