I didn’t rat out Billy Eppler in Mets’ phantom IL scandal

Sandy Alderson was not a fan of former Mets general manager Billy Eppler, but he denied being the one who sent an anonymous letter to Major League Baseball tipping them to a scheme to fabricate injuries in order to create roster spots. 

The former Mets team president addressed the topic during the latest episode of “The Show with Joel Sherman and Jon Heyman.” 

“Was I a big fan of Billy’s? No, but that’s separate apart from anything else,” Alderson said. “As far as I’m concerned, I don’t think Major League Baseball ever determined who wrote the letter. And there were things in that letter that I was unaware of. So the short answer is no.”

Sandy Alderson denied sending a letter to MLB detailed Billy Eppler’s phantom IL practices. Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Eppler was suspended earlier this year by MLB until the conclusion of the World Series after a four-month probe confirmed that the baseball exec had improperly placed players on the IL while deliberately fabricating injuries during his tenure as Mets general manager. 

An anonymous whistleblower believed to be a Mets employee provided the league with injury-related records that forced MLB to launch an investigation, which Eppler was fully cooperative with. 

Eppler resigned as Mets GM on Oct. 5 which was the same day that the investigation became public. 

“If I had wanted to communicate with the commissioner’s office, I would have communicated directly to Dan Halem, the commissioner, people I’ve known for 20 or 30 years,” Alderson said. “From my standpoint, I thought that issue was behind the Mets, behind us and had no reason whatsoever to write such a letter. But anybody that knows me knows that’s not the avenue I would have pursued.”

Alderson rejoined the Mets organization as team president in 2020 after Steve Cohen bought the ballclub and he helped hire Eppler for the general manager role in November 2021.

Eppler was suspended for all of 2024 after an MLB investigation. for the NY POST

Alderson held the team president position until he stepped down in September 2022. 

He said during the podcast appearance that, while he didn’t want to get into details, he was aware of Eppler’s phantom IL practices while he was with the Mets and that he did do things to stop it. 

Depending on who you ask, the opinions vary on how widespread the phantom IL practice is in Major League Baseball. 

Eppler stepped down as GM of the Mets hours before news of MLB’s probe. Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

Alderson said that he had done it once in his 40-year career as a baseball executive and it occurred back in the 1980s. 

“I can tell you the player who was involved. I felt terribly about it and never did it again,” he said. “It is not in my view a common practice and to the extent it is a common practice it shouldn’t be.  Clearly there are gray areas with respect to the injured list and there are judgment calls that need to be made. But in some cases, and not focusing exclusively on what happened with the Mets, the injured list was being used improperly, has been used improperly around the league from time to time. But what disappointed me more than anything else was the reaction to this in the media, which is to say nobody was terribly upset about it, nobody thought it was something that didn’t happen all the time. 

“And actually, the only person I saw who reacted that way was Zack Scott, who does his own little podcast. But in any event, it’s not something that I think is widespread and it shouldn’t be, so Major League Baseball took action where it thought it needed to.”

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