Former Los Angeles Angels and New York Mets general manager Billy Eppler has been placed on MLB’s ineligible list for improper use of the injured list during this time with the Mets, MLB announced Friday. Eppler’s ineligible period is effective immediately and will end following the 2024 World Series. It is essentially a one-season suspension.
“I cooperated fully and transparently with MLB’s investigation, and I accept their decision,” Eppler said in a statement (via the New York Post).
The investigation found “the pattern of conduct was at Mr. Eppler’s sole direction and without any involvement of Club ownership or superiors.” MLB considers the matter closed.
In October, Eppler stepped down as Mets GM amid a probe that the team had misused the injured list under his direction. The league’s statement says the investigation revealed the “deliberate fabrication of injuries (and) the associated submission of documentation for the purposes of securing multiple improper Injured List placements during the 2022 and 2023 seasons.”
Essentially, Eppler was found to have used the “phantom” injured list, a practice in which healthy players are placed on the injured list for roster flexibility purposes. For example, a team could put a pitcher on the “phantom” injured list when he is out of minor league options and they don’t want to expose him to waivers. That keeps the pitcher in the organization but off the active roster.
Eppler spent the last two seasons with the Mets following a five-year stint with the Angels from 2016-20. The investigation into his improper use of the injured list and associated discipline is related to his Mets tenure only.
The Mets used the injured list 28 times in 2022 (10th most in baseball) and 25 times in 2023 (11th most in baseball).