We now know that new Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman will be introduced on Friday at 11 a.m. PT at Dodger Stadium, and perhaps by then we will have a better idea of his plans. But until I hear otherwise, I will assume Friedman will hire a general manager to work with him.
We already looked at former Nationals' assistant general manager Bryan Minniti, now a free agent who "could surface soon in a prominent role," per Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, who mentions the Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Rockies as possible landing spots.
Another potential candidate might by Yankees assistant general manager Billy Eppler.
Eppler has been with the Yankees for 10 years, including three as assistant general manager. In addition to helping general manager Brian Cashman with just about everything, Eppler oversees the Yankees pro scouting department both domestically and abroad.
Cashman just signed a three-year extension with the Yankees, and Eppler has interviewed elsewhere before. He was in the mix for the Angels' general manager job in 2011 and interviewed for the Padres' job in 2014. He was a candidate for the Diamondbacks' GM job this year, too, but declined to interview in September.
Eppler is just 38, one year older than Friedman, and is highly thought of throughout baseball. When the Padres hired A.J. Preller as GM, an executive told Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, "The whole industry is shocked" that Eppler didn't get the job.
"Oddly, I’m not upset," Eppler told Feinsand. "Maybe if I did something and had a misstep, I would be disappointed in myself. I think the baseball gods didn’t feel like it was my time to leave the Yankees."
In a 2012 interview with CNN Money, Eppler described the evolution of scouting:
Nowadays, there’s so much information, it’s more about managing that information. It’s really never one person making the call; it’s always a mixture of opinions.
We look at it similar to different methods of evaluating equity in a company. The quantitative analysis in baseball might be more in line with the technical analysis that’s used on Wall Street. It focuses on the actual performance of the player. But you also need to know how to use some of the more subjective aspects like body, speed, strength, and age. Both areas are extremely valuable for developing the overall picture.
Eppler went to high school in San Diego and was a pitcher at the University of Connecticut. He worked in the scouting department with the Rockies for five years before joining the Yankees.
"He checks all the boxes," Cashman said. "He’s got the analytics side checked off, he’s got the administrative side checked off and he’s got the scouting side checked off. He’s got the leadership side checked off because he’s a great communicator.
"They’re all equal. Very few people possess all those strengths and all those qualities. He does, in my opinion. He’s built a great reputation that he’s earned and we’re lucky to have him. He’s an important piece of my pyramid."