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Report: Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler considered favorite for GM job with Padres

Aug 4, 2014, 10:14 PM EDT

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After a lengthy search, the Padres are reportedly closing in on their choice for Josh Byrnes’ replacement as general manager.

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Padres “appear to be focusing most closely” on Yankees assistant general manager Billy Eppler, who now looks like the “probable frontrunner” for the gig. Rangers assistant general manager A.J. Preller, Red Sox assistant general manager Mike Hazen, and MLB’s senior VP for baseball operations Kim Ng are the other finalists for the position.

Eppler joined the Yankees in 2004 and served as director of pro scouting from 2005-2011 before being promoted to his current position with the club. In addition to his extensive front office experience, he’s a San Diego native.

Scott Miller of Bleacher Report wrote yesterday that the Padres could make a decision on their next general manager this week.

  1. eshine76 - Aug 4, 2014 at 10:35 PM

    I heard him give a lengthy interview on MLB Radio back in the spring and was very impressed by him. Very bright and with a great balance of scouting / sabermetrics.

  2. slappymcknucklepunch - Aug 4, 2014 at 10:35 PM

    Let me guess,is Eppler a Boras client?

  3. 4d3fect - Aug 4, 2014 at 10:39 PM

    So, Kim Ng not a qualified member of the good ol’ boy network?

    • autmorsautlibertas - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:03 PM

      Kim Ng does not have qualifications and experience equal to Mr. Eppler’s.

      • slappymcknucklepunch - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:09 PM

        No sadly,she has two assets that they think she does not need,and is lacking two they think she does,hence”old boy’s network”.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:12 PM

        Because she has 3 more years experience as an Assistant GM than him, plus 2 years overseeing transactions for the AL and 3 in a senior VP position in MLB (which he does not). You must mean she doesn’t have a dingus.

      • fearlessleader - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:39 PM

        Hi, autmorsautlibertas. I’d love to read your evidence that Kim Ng is less qualified than Billy Eppler. Would you care to share?

      • Paper Lions - Aug 5, 2014 at 8:08 AM

        I’d love to hear how Ng is more qualified than anyone else.

        FWIW, she has no “practical” baseball experience in scouting or player development. Most teams are looking for someone that can combine scouting and development with a sabermetric approach for understanding. For a highly competitive job like a GM, lacking a particular critical background component is probably important.

        I am not more willing to assume Kim Ng is the most qualified because she’s a woman than I am to assume she is not because she’s a woman.

        Obviously, a person with her skill set could surround themselves with people that complement her strengths, but if there are others that are better candidates because they lack that weakness….

      • historiophiliac - Aug 5, 2014 at 8:22 AM

        Paper, she does have player development experience. As for the scouting business, Dave Dombrowski never worked in a scouting department coming up and he was clearly qualified for a GM job. GM’s don’t run the scouting department — they have folks that do that. Scouting is only part of what teams do. There are multiple paths to the top job and they don’t all require time in scouting. I don’t think the Mets’ GM has scouting experience either.

      • fearlessleader - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:05 AM

        “I am not more willing to assume Kim Ng is the most qualified because she’s a woman” — where on earth did this come from? No one has said any such thing.

        Do some research and read what Ng’s colleagues have said about her. Spoiler alert: They think she’s one of the brightest minds in the game, and one of the most qualified people in the business for a GM job. The patronizing tone of some of the commenters on this page simply does not match the respect with which actual baseball people speak of her.

      • Paper Lions - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:15 AM

        She does?

        Where? She has always work exclusively in front offices for MLB teams, usually in an analysis capacity. Which is fine, but everyone says the thing she doesn’t have is any practical experience in the game, including scouting or player development. Maybe that is just an excuse, I don’t know…but it is 100% true. Like you. I have approximate zero information about the actual bona fides of any of the applicants.

        I don’t know if she is getting a fare shake or not….but I do know that there are dozens of people with as much or more experience as she has that never get a single interview for a GMs job. I love to rail against the GOB network as much as anyone, but I’m not going to jump to that conclusion here when I have essentially zero information.

        There are plenty of open minded and progressive people in baseball. I haven’t any of them say they thought she was getting “passed over” and should have landed a GM job by now. I’ve seen people in the media and fans say it, but again….they know essentially nothing about the actual qualifications of any of the applicants.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:32 AM

        paper, please note in the linked article, it specifically states that under Ng the Dodgers were recognized for improved scouting and player development.

        http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/la/community/executives/ng.html

      • fearlessleader - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:36 AM

        On Ng’s lack of practical experience (from an article on sabr.org):

        “In addition to handling arbitration cases, Ng’s duties include negotiating free agent contracts, conducting trade talks, overseeing pro scouting—the department that compiles the information [Dodgers GM Ned] Colletti uses to make decisions on trades or free agent signings—and running Campo Las Palmas, the Dodgers’ academy in the Dominican Republic. During the season, a typical day for Ng includes getting an update on the organization’s minor league teams, dealing with transactions ( placing a player on the disabled list, calling up a replacement, etc.), and making calls to player agents. The rest of the time is spent evaluating players.”

        On the same topic (from a Yahoo Sports article):

        “How about the candidate whose past several years as an MLB executive have been spent knee deep in the madness of international baseball, who has traveled the pitted roads where the prospects are, who has sorted through the politics there, who has stared down the belligerent men whose very futures rested on less MLB interference, not more? The candidate who has negotiated contracts and trades, prepared arbitration cases, run a farm system, overseen pro scouting and run advanced analytics. The candidate whose clean and solid reputation is thick with the men who run the game, play the game, scout the game, analyze the game and sell the game. How about that candidate? And what if that candidate were Kim Ng? Conversations with baseball officials generally conclude with two points regarding Ng and her chances of becoming baseball’s first woman general manager: She is ridiculously qualified. It probably won’t happen.”

        Ned Colletti on Kim Ng:

        “As I told her [after the Padres interview]: ‘This is no longer up to you. You’re prepared. You just need the opportunity and someone to believe in you and give you a chance. It’s beyond her control at this point. She’s done everything she can to put herself in that position. She deserves the opportunity and it will take someone willing to give her the opportunity to make it happen.”

        An anonymous scout, asked whether she could do the GM job:

        “I don’t have any doubt. Take away the gender. What’s the problem here? I think there are all the people who think, ‘She can do it. But what if I’m wrong?'”

        Joe Torre on hiring people to work with him in his new position with MLB:

        “Kim was the first one who came to mind.”

        And again from the sabr.org article:

        “Her peers say she has paid her dues and has done everything to prove that she is capable of leading a major league team.”

      • historiophiliac - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:36 AM

        And, she ran day-to-day operations for the team.

  4. tfbuckfutter - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:14 PM

    So the guy in charge of developing a bunch of super overrated prospects is number 1 on your list?

    I’m sure that will work out how you expect.

    • historiophiliac - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:16 PM

      At least he’s not a woman.

      /shudder

      • tfbuckfutter - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:22 PM

        I’d let a woman run my front office*

        *that’s what I call my pants

        But I wouldn’t let a woman run my baseball team*

        *that’s what I call my toolshed

      • historiophiliac - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:23 PM

        No one believes you have a toolshed.

      • tfbuckfutter - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:27 PM

        You got me.

        That is also what I call my pants.

    • jbo29j - Aug 5, 2014 at 8:21 AM

      He was a Pro scout from 2005-2011, and was promoted to another non-prospect related position, so no not really. I mean all this was in the article.

      Also the Yankees don’t have more overrated prospects than any other teams.

      • tfbuckfutter - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:35 AM

        Hahaha.

        Ok.

      • sportsdrenched - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:36 AM

        Hey, the Royals resemble that remark!

      • jbo29j - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:44 AM

        Some comeback….

        http://www.royalsreview.com/2011/2/14/1992424/success-and-failure-rates-of-top-mlb-prospects

      • tfbuckfutter - Aug 5, 2014 at 12:45 PM

        “For the population of top prospects, I used Baseball America’s top 100 prospect lists from 1990 to 2003.”

        Well played.

        #relevant

      • jbo29j - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:51 PM

        Do you not know what a Pro scout is? And Yes it is relevant as it shows that their prospects don’t get hyped due to their market, unless of course their market changed since 2003. Maybe the change in evaluation is due to them changing parks.

        Either way this is all irrelevant to Eppler’s actual job with the organization.

  5. randygnyc - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:16 PM

    Let’s hope this is the start of a pipeline to the Yankees to bleed off the padres upcoming talent.

  6. mianfr - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:54 PM

    Don’t you mean the favorite to be fired by the Padres’ within six months?

  7. lukedunphysscienceproject - Aug 5, 2014 at 12:08 AM

    How about we keep Eppler and you can have Cashman.

  8. mikhelb - Aug 5, 2014 at 12:25 AM

    Eppler definitely has the inside there, while Kim Ng would be good, Eppler does have more experience being at the front of a department in a team. Sure Ng has more experience as #2 to the GM but Eppler also has experience at drafting, while Ng has been in charge of trasactions of players she might never heard of. But hey! If a woman doesnt get a job it HAS to be sexism, a man could NEVER get a job over a woman withouth sexism. Ugh.

    • fearlessleader - Aug 5, 2014 at 12:30 AM

      No, mikhelb, but when a qualified woman is passed over again and again while her colleagues repeatedly praise her experience and her skills as among the finest in the field, then yeah, sexism probably has a little something to do with it.

      • empresssudol - Aug 5, 2014 at 12:44 AM

        Exactly. .

        Also:

        ” If a woman doesnt get a job it HAS to be sexism, a man could NEVER get a job over a woman withouth sexism.”

        Yeah. NO ONE SAID THAT AT ALL. This straw man is ridiculous and really needs to stop.

        The comment above is correct. It’s an all too familiar thing in any field. She’s been super qualified for a GM job for nearly a decade, to the point where just about anyone else in her position, experience, and qualifications would have been hired already (perhaps to multiple jobs by now), well less experienced people are continuously given shots that she’s passed over for. This isn’t even about Eppler in particular, it’s about the same song and dance playing out AGAIN. And it’s tiring to go through again. Every time she interviews, everyone raves about her skills and qualifications, but it never means anything. And with how ‘good ole boy’ we know front offices to be.. it’s not hard to figure out why.

      • Paper Lions - Aug 5, 2014 at 8:16 AM

        She hasn’t been “super qualified” to be a GM for over a decade. She has only FO experience, no practical baseball experience at all. When going up against candidates that have both, it is hard to say she has ever been the most qualified. When you want someone with experience doing both A and B. A person that has been doing A for 20 years as opposed to someone that has done A for 5 years and B for 10 years is not more qualified.

        While it is true that she could have the skills and hire people to complement her skill set, thus far no one has felt comfortable doing that….which doesn’t make her particularly different than a LOT of other people that work in baseball.

    • historiophiliac - Aug 5, 2014 at 12:37 AM

      Feel free to explain how more “drafting” experience would make him a better GM than her — and also how he has more drafting experience than her….and how her greater senior management experience is less valuable. Also, how is managing a department under a GM more valuable than having more experience as an assistant GM? FYI, when she was with the Dodgers, she handled transactions for players she knew because they played for her team (although what difference does that make) and she handled contract negotiations. Don’t fall off your stool reaching, dude.

      • Paper Lions - Aug 5, 2014 at 8:17 AM

        Are you saying that having ZERO practical baseball experience is not a concern when hiring someone to run a baseball team?

      • historiophiliac - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:59 PM

        Of all people, paper. That’s what makes it so disappointing. :(

      • historiophiliac - Aug 5, 2014 at 8:31 AM

        See above. I don’t know how you say she has zero practical baseball experience. She spent 17 successful years as an assistant GM…for baseball teams. I don’t know how you you don’t see that as qualified to take the next step up in management — or how he’s would be a better top executive because he was a scout. Running a team — all aspects of it — is not the same thing as scouting. You are dismissing other necessary skills that she has out of hand.

  9. 950003cups - Aug 5, 2014 at 1:51 AM

    As a life long Yankee fan, I have no shame when I say “Billy who?????”

    • gloccamorra - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:06 AM

      No need to feel ashamed. Most people don’t know who’s in their favorite team’s front office, and some don’t even know who the GM is. Hell, some Padres fans don’t even know the Padres were sold a couple years ago – they think the Jeff Moorad group is still in charge, minus Moorad himself.

  10. genericcommenter - Aug 5, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    If he’s so good, the Yankees should try to hire him.

  11. socalcpa7 - Aug 5, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    No!!!! Don’t hire a guy who’s team hasn’t done squat in years!!! Go for the Rangers asst GM

    • gloccamorra - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:33 PM

      You can’t judge a front office candidate by what the team has done over the previous few years. That was the result of what scouts, farm directors and GMs did years before that, leavened with a little owner interference here and there.

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