Buck Showalter has high praise for Billy Eppler.
The Mets manager compared his general manager to the late architect of the Yankees’ late-1990s dynasty during an interview with Mike Francesa.
“Billy has been a pillar of work and diligence and caring,” Showalter said on the WFAN legend’s latest BetRivers podcast. “It’s been fun to work with Billy every day. We share a passion. … He reminds me in given moments of a young Gene Michael so much.”
Michael was the Yankees’ general manager from 1991-95. During his tenure, the organization stuck with Bernie Williams, traded for David Cone and Paul O’Neill and developed Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera. He then worked in scouting from 1996 until his death at age 79 in 2017.
Eppler spent a decade with the Yankees earlier in his career and worked closely with Michael. And Showalter was the Yankees’ manager under Michael, of course.
The next few weeks before the Aug. 2 trade deadline will be big for Eppler. The Mets are expected to be aggressive buyers as they aim to win their first World Series in 36 years (including a potential bid for Nationals star Juan Soto). They need a bat, some bullpen help and potentially a starting pitcher. A strong performance by Eppler could also end any thought to hire a baseball operations czar ranking above him in the front office hierarchy.
“He worked under Gene’s guidance early on, and he loves Gene and and the time he spent with him, the wisdom he gained from him,” Showalter said. “But Billy’s his own guy, he’s his own personality. He’s a good listener, but at the end of the day he’ll make the tough decisions. It’s been such a blessing for me to just have to worry about managing the 26 players and put them on a good path.”
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]