Paul DePodesta

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Paul DePodesta
Paul DePodesta 2011.jpg
DePodesta speaking in 2011
Born (1972-12-16) December 16, 1972 (age 41)
Alexandria, Virginia
Nationality American
Alma mater Harvard University (1995)
Occupation Baseball executive
Years active 1996–present
Organization New York Mets
Home town Alexandria, Virginia
Website
It Might Be Dangerous... You Go First, a blog about the Padres written by Paul DePodesta

Paul DePodesta (born December 16, 1972) is the vice president of player development and scouting for the New York Mets. Formerly a front office assistant for the San Diego Padres, he was later general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers from February 16, 2004, to October 29, 2005. The year after leading the Dodgers to their first playoff win in 16 years, he was fired after the 2005 club finished with its worst record in 11 years.[1] He was the ninth general manager in the club's history since moving to Los Angeles.[2] He is also known for his notable appearance in the book Moneyball.

DePodesta is a native of Alexandria, Virginia, attended Episcopal High School ('91) and then Harvard University, where he played baseball and football and graduated in 1995 with a degree in economics.[3] He has worked for the Baltimore Stallions of the Canadian Football League and the Baltimore Bandits of the American Hockey League.

Baseball management[edit]

Early career[edit]

In 1996, DePodesta got his first baseball job with the Cleveland Indians, where he spent three seasons. He served as an advance scout for two years and, in his final month with the club, was appointed special assistant to General Manager John Hart.

In 1999, he joined the Oakland Athletics organization as an assistant to general manager Billy Beane. DePodesta was a key figure in Michael Lewis' book Moneyball. The book thrust the analytical principles of sabermetrics into the mainstream.

Los Angeles Dodgers[edit]

At the age of 31, DePodesta was named general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers on February 16, 2004, making him the fifth-youngest person to be named general manager in baseball history behind Jon Daniels (28) of the Texas Rangers, Theo Epstein (28) with the Boston Red Sox (now of the Chicago Cubs), Andrew Friedman (28) of the Tampa Bay Rays, and Randy Smith (29) of the San Diego Padres.

DePodesta's reliance on sabermetric principles has been somewhat controversial. He is often considered part of a new breed of front-office executives whose personnel decisions depend heavily on analysis of performance data, often at the perceived expense of more traditional methods of scouting and observation.

One of DePodesta's most notable moves was made at the 2004 trading deadline. He traded catcher Paul Lo Duca, relief pitcher Guillermo Mota and outfielder Juan Encarnación to the Florida Marlins in exchange for pitcher Brad Penny, first baseman Hee Seop Choi and pitcher Bill Murphy, in what was reportedly an attempt to pick up pieces to acquire pitcher Randy Johnson from the Arizona Diamondbacks.[4] DePodesta was heavily criticized in the local and national baseball media for this trade, because Lo Duca was thought to be the "heart and soul" of the team. The Dodgers made the playoffs anyway, with Penny developing into one of the better pitchers in the National League during his stint with the Dodgers, which lasted until the end of the 2008 season. Hee Seop Choi, however, was a disappointment, batting just .161 in 2004 and .253 in 2005, and striking out 80 times in 320 at bats. Bill Murphy was traded that year to acquire Steve Finley, who hit 13 homers in 58 games, including a memorable grand slam that clinched the division title. Lo Duca played through 2005 with the Marlins and then went to the New York Mets, Washington Nationals and back to the Marlins, making his final Major League appearance in September 2008.

During the 2004 off-season, Adrián Beltré, who had hit 48 home runs in 2004, signed with Seattle as a free agent, spurning DePodesta's offer of 3 yrs for $30 million for Seattle's offer of 5 yrs for $64 million. DePodesta signed J. D. Drew, Jeff Kent, and Derek Lowe. Drew enjoyed two productive seasons as a Dodger and then used an opt-out clause in his contract to sign a new 5-year deal with the Boston Red Sox. Both Kent and Lowe put in four productive seasons for the Dodgers and cut ties with the franchise at the end of the 2008 season with Kent retiring and Lowe signing a contract with the Atlanta Braves.

Coming off the successes of 2004, the 2005 season saw the Dodgers lose a number of players to significant stints on the disabled list. Many of the players lost to injury were expected to produce heavily for the team including J. D. Drew, Milton Bradley, Éric Gagné, Jayson Werth, César Izturis and Odalis Pérez. The 2005 season resulted in the team's worst record since 1992 and second worst since moving to Los Angeles in 1958. On October 29, 2005, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt fired DePodesta, citing his desire to see the club win and that DePodesta had not met those expectations. Reports surfaced that the real reason McCourt had fired DePodesta was his inability to find satisfactory managerial candidates to replace Jim Tracy. He was later replaced by Ned Colletti, who hired Grady Little as manager. Some have speculated that McCourt fired DePodesta in response to media criticism from Los Angeles Times sports columnists T.J. Simers and Bill Plaschke, who were vehemently "anti-Moneyball" and referred to DePodesta pejoratively as "Google Boy," and is frequently referred to as "The Fifth Highwayman."

San Diego Padres and New York Mets[edit]

DePodesta with the San Diego Padres, 2008

On June 30, 2006, DePodesta was hired as the Special Assistant for Baseball Operations for the San Diego Padres and was promoted to Executive Vice President on November 10, 2008.

On November 8, 2010, DePodesta was hired as the vice president of player development and scouting for the New York Mets by general manager Sandy Alderson, with whom DePodesta worked when Alderson was CEO of the Padres.[5]

Moneyball[edit]

When the movie Moneyball was being adapted from the book, DePodesta did not approve of the way that his character was being portrayed. The role was previously going to be given DePodesta's name and to be played by Demetri Martin, but DePodesta did not want his name or likeness to be used in the movie; instead the character of "Peter Brand" was created as a composite of Beane's deputies in Oakland, as the character is not an accurate representation of any specific real-life person.[6] However, Moneyball's director Bennett Miller has credited DePodesta for being generous and helpful in the making of the film. Brand was played by Jonah Hill, who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance.

Personal life[edit]

Paul DePodesta is married and has three sons and a daughter.

On December 13, 2012, DePodesta was elected to the Board of Directors of Sears Holdings Corporation. DePodesta has also served as a keynote speaker at numerous business conventions and has been recognized by several publications including Baseball Prospectus and Fortune Magazine, which named him as one of the Top 10 innovators under the age of 40.[7]

He appeared uncredited on several episodes of Homicide: Life on the Street.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Los Angeles Dodgers Team History & Encyclopedia". Baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 2010-11-08. 
  2. ^ "DePodesta's Dodgers Are a Work in Progress". Washingtonpost.com. 2005-08-04. Retrieved 2010-11-08. 
  3. ^ Scott A. Sherman, "Rethinking America's Pastime: The Paul DePodesta Story How a Harvard graduate turned a passion for baseball into a statistical revolution", The Harvard Crimson, May 5, 2012.
  4. ^ Jayson Stark (July 31, 2004). "Lo Duca, Mota, Encarnacion, Choi also in deal". ESPN.com. 
  5. ^ "Mets add DePodesta to rebuilt front office | mets.com: News". Newyork.mets.mlb.com. 2010-11-08. Retrieved 2010-11-08. 
  6. ^ Brown, Tim. "DePodesta refuses to be typecast in ‘Moneyball’". Sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2010-11-08. 
  7. ^ Lederer, Rich (2009-06-18). "Q&A: Paul DePodesta". Baseballanalysts.com. Retrieved 2010-11-08. 
  8. ^ Krasovic, Tom (March 30, 2008). "DePodesta now helping to build Padres structure". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved May 11, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Dan Evans
Los Angeles Dodgers General Manager
2004–2005
Succeeded by
Ned Colletti