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Padres GM Search: Billy Eppler

Padres interview a San Diego native from a big market team for the open GM position.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Padres are up to 4 total interviewees for the General Manager position with the fourth being New York Yankees Assistant GM Billy Eppler. Eppler may have some extra incentive to go after the position. He is from San Diego and attended the same high school as fellow San Diego native Carlos Quentin. He also worked as a scout with the Padres back in the early 2000s before moving on to the Yankees organization as the Assistant Director of Player Development. In 2005 he was promoted to Director of Professional Scouting and then ascended to Assistant GM after the 2011 season.

It is difficult to pin down exactly what Eppler brings to the table, but for a broad idea you can go to the Yankees media guide description of assistant GM Brian Cashman "in all areas of Major League Operations including player acquisitions, roster composition and management, staffing and personnel decisions, and player contract negotiations. In addition, he oversees all phases and personnel in the Yankees’ Major League and professional scouting departments both domestically and internationally." Based on that description one can assume that Eppler has acquired experience of the last 3 years that would make him a candidate for promotion to General Manager, but it does not help him stand out versus some other candidates. However, that mystery should not necessarily be a strike against him.

Going back to a 2009 New York Times article there is a quote "As important as he has become, Eppler tries to work in the background. He gives interviews only with Cashman’s approval. The batting practice pitcher, Japanese interpreter and chiropractor have biographies in the Yankees’ media guide. Eppler does not." It would seem the Yankees have kept their star assistant as a secret weapon of sorts. The rest of the article has glowing recommendations from Cashman and former Yankees GM Gene Michael. It also mentions that in Joe Torre's book Eppler is referred to as the "stats guru" and a caricature on par with the Moneyball movie's Peter Brand. It goes on to talk about how Eppler is not really that guy. The Yankees actually have had stats guys, but Eppler himself is just well-versed in stats and well rounded according to another executive.

Another interesting part of the story in the article is how Eppler came to be a Yankee. Apparently there was a fracturing in the organization where many of the operations were run from Tampa (like scouting) and many from New York (like running the major league team) and the accountability was non-existent. Cashman hired Eppler to run the Pro Scouting department and fix this fractured. Bring in accountability. While the Yankees are best known for making big money signings like C.C. Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann in the years Eppler has been with them, you get the impression that he may take more pride in being able to find the diamonds in the rough mentioned at the end of this piece. The Alfredo Aceves', Brian Bruney's, Dan Giese's, Edwar Ramirez' and Jose Veras' that fill out the team. That sort of dumpster diving could come in handy in San Diego, or at least the processes that help find them would.