Billy Eppler has been the New York Yankees assistant general manager since 2011 and a major asset to the organization for almost 10 years now. Eppler was in the running to become the GM of the San Diego Padres, but the job went to A.J. Preller, who was formally the Texas Rangers assistant GM. This isn’t Eppler’s first rejection, in 2011 he finished second for the Angels GM job.
Eppler is known around the league as a great baseball mind, and people are starting to get confused about why he’s having such bad luck moving forward in his career. One suggestion that might shed some light on this situation is the fact that the Yankees have a $209 million dollar payroll. When teams are in search of general managers, they might view guys like Eppler as someone who may not be able to work with a less money. The Padres have a $127 million dollars less on their payroll, which just a little over $82 million. Texas, where A.J. Preller came from, has $81 million dollars less on their payroll; that’s a $128 million dollar payroll, but still a lot less than the Yankees. Owners and team presidents want guys who can reel in talent, without giving out $25 million dollar contracts. They need to know that the person they are hiring can compile a group of players that can play team baseball and win games, while staying within a budget.
People may not see this argument as viable, because they may believe that a good baseball mind can succeed building a good team, no matter the money; but baseball is changing. New methods are being used, and as much as people hate to hear this, sabermetrics are slowly taking over. Teams that like to spend a ton of money, such as the Yankees, need to make sure their front office is staying up to date on the recent changes.
Baseball knowledge will always be the most important quality of a general manager. But the most important thing a general manager and other team officials can do today is expand their knowledge and stay up to date on the new baseball revolution.