The question is, can Farhan Zaidi bring the Dodgers a World Series? Not only that but “Will I be able to spell his name correctly in my articles?” That seems to be the questions I’m asking myself as the news broke on Tuesday afternoon. The Dodgers will be naming Zaidi as their new general manager later this week.
The question isn’t, “Is Zaidi sharp?” We know that Zaidi is extremely intelligent and is highly respected across Baseball. He’s considered as one of the brightest minds in the game. We’ve heard this before about Andrew Friedman, whom the Dodgers just hired as their new President of Baseball Operations. Ah the clichés of a new front office. I love it!
I can remember when Fox took over and fired everyone within a 24 hour time period. They fired GM Fred Claire, and manager Bill Russell all at the same time. Guggenheim is a lot more tactful with their approach. They waited. Bided their time.
The new front office has a distinct look to it. Ned Colletti has been moved into another role. Longtime front office guys Logan White, and De Jon Watson have left to pursue other adventures. Josh Byrnes is expected to be brought in, and Gape Kapler is rumored to be coming aboard as well. Those guys will make up the new cabinet of the Dodger’s front office.
It seems like the Dodgers are going the analytical route with this front office restructuring. Zaidi and Friedman are seen as number crunchers. They are guys that stray from the traditionalist routes. We’re really going from one extreme to the other. Former GM Ned Colletti the snake boot wearing, deal making, old school Baseball guy to the new school number crunching, data driven guys like Friedman and Zaidi. Is the Guggenheim group trying to install their own money ball in the newly restructured Dodger front office?
It is kind of looking that way. Although there is nothing wrong with having smart data driven number crunchers in the front office. It’s a great thing. These are very smart dudes. I personally would like to see more of a well balanced approach. Something of number crunching, combined with data analysis, and traditional Baseball approaches.
Zaidi was well known as the assistant GM under Billy Beane in Oakland. He served in that capacity for ten years. Zaidi and Beane built competitive clubs, but never won a World Series. Heck they never even made it to a World Series.
The history tells us that Zaidi, and Friedman are guys that get the most out of their players for the least amount of money spent. That also could mean they’re cheap. Penny pinching is a real concern here. Especially if it’s going to cost us the services of Hanley Ramirez. One of Zaidi and Friedman’s first big decisions will be about Hanley. Lowering the payroll is ok. I don’t expect the Dodgers to operate with a 240 million dollar payroll every year. But these guys need to remember this isn’t Oakland or Tampa Bay. This is the Dodgers here. Money will be available to spend.
We as writers will have to get used to the new changes. Zaidi rhymes with Tahiti. That has to be good right? When the Dodgers are playing well, we can say it’s “Zaidi time!” Or something along those lines.
There will also be times when I totally butcher his name while writing about him. Late night articles will without doubt become “Zaid”, or “Zed”, or even “Zedonia” when I’m really tired.
Can Zaidi get the Dodgers over the hump? We don’t know. Will he be better than Ned Colletti? That’s hard to answer right now, and we won’t be able to for at least the first couple of years of Zaidi’s tenure. Remember the Dodgers were good under Colletti. The club won four division titles, and made three NLCS appearances under Ned. The club was competitive, they just couldn’t get to the World Series.
But the A’s haven’t gone to the World Series under Zaidi and Beane either. Number crunching alone is not enough. It takes more than that. Does Zaidi have what it takes to get the Dodgers across the finish line? It’s going to take a long time to find out, as we embark upon the beginning of a long relationship with a new Dodger front office.