By this midway point of the season, New York Mets general manager Billy Eppler probably has some questions to answer. Here’s an intriguing one: How do you parley having $100 million more in financial resources than any of your competitors into a fourth-place standing?
Eppler has experience in that respect. As general manager of the well-heeled Los Angeles Angels between 2016 and 2020, he signed Justin Upton, Shohei Ohtani and Anthony Rendon and re-signed Mike Trout for 12 years, yet only once brought his club home higher than fourth.
But is it fair to blame the Mets disappointing 36-45 record on Eppler and the Mets front office moves?
Grading the New York Mets at the midway point of the season
What follows is a mid-term assessment of Eppler’s personnel decisions since the conclusion of the 2022 World Series with a particular focus on the extent to which those decisions have helped or hindered the Mets’ performance.
The standard of measurement in Wins Above Average (WAA), a variant of Wins Above Replacement (WAR). For this purpose, WAA is preferable because unlike WAR, it is zero-based. That means the sum of all the decisions made by Eppler impacting the 2023 team gives at least a good estimate of the number of games those moves have improved (or worsened) the team’s status this season.
A team’s front office impacts that team’s standing in five ways. Those five are:
1. By the impact of players it acquires from other teams via trade, purchase or waiver claim.
2. By the impact of players it surrenders to other teams in those same transactions.
3. By the impact of players it signs at free agency or extends.
4. By the impact of players it loses to free agency or releases.
5. By the impact of players it promotes from its own farm system.
Here’s how Eppler stacks up by those five yardsticks.