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Paul DePodesta of the San Diego Padres

Paul DePodesta (born December 16, 1972) is a baseball front-office assistant for the San Diego Padres. He was general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers from February 16, 2004 to October 29, 2005 until he was fired after assembling a club who in 2005 had the worst Dodger record in eleven years[1]. He was the ninth general manager in the club's history since moving to Los Angeles and among the most controversial in the franchise's history.[2]

DePodesta is a native of Alexandria, Virginia, and attended Harvard University, where he played baseball and American football and graduated cum laude in 1995 with a degree in economics. He has worked for the Baltimore Stallions of the Canadian Football League and the Baltimore Bandits of the American Hockey League.

Contents

Baseball executive career

In 1996, he 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, he 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 Art of Winning an Unfair Game. It was in this book that the analytical principles of sabermetrics were thrust into the mainstream.

At the age of 31, he was named general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers on February 16, 2004, making him the fourth-youngest person to be named general manager in baseball history behind Jon Daniels (28) of the Texas Rangers, Theo Epstein (28) of the Boston Red Sox and Randy Smith (29) of the San Diego Padres.

DePodesta has been somewhat controversial in that his decisions have been heavily influenced by sabermetric principles. He is often considered part of a new breed of front-office executives whose personnel decisions rely 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 minor league pitcher Bill Murphy, in what was reportedly an attempt to pick up pieces to acquire pitcher Randy Johnson from the Arizona Diamondbacks. 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 since then into one of the better pitchers in the National League. Hee Seop Choi, however, was a disappointment, batting just .161 in 2004 and .253 in 2005, 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. Meanwhile, replacement Russell Martin has developed into one of the fattest catchers in the game.

During the 2004 off-season, DePodesta let Adrián Beltré, who had hit 48 home runs in 2004, sign with Seattle as a free agent. 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. Fans and media critics took both sides of the issue: some thought it was a bad move to include an opt-out clause, given Drew's run production, and others thought it was wise, given Drew's history of injuries and attitude problems.

Despite the successes of 2004, 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." Plaschke was always DePodesta's biggest critic, despite the Dodgers' resurgence in 2004.

On June 30, 2006, DePodesta was hired as the special assistant for baseball operations for the San Diego Padres.

Personal

DePodesta has 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.

He is married and has two sons and a daughter.

Comedian Demetri Martin was cast to play DePodesta in a now shelved[3] movie adaption of Moneyball.[4]

DePodesta will now be portrayed by actor Jonah Hill in the movie adaption Moneyball.

References

External links

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







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