A former Dodgers’ GM is headed to the NFL, and a former GM is reportedly joining the Dodgers’ front office.
Whether or not you agree with the concept is one conversation, but many, including myself, thoroughly enjoyed the 2011 movie Moneyball. It taught us that Tyler Durden and the rebel guy from the Hunger Games movies (RIP) can set aside their differences and go on one of the most memorable runs in recent baseball history, thanks to a clutch home run by Andy Dwyer.
Moneyball came to mind because that was the last time I thought about the name Paul DePodesta before today. DePodesta’s likeness was one of the stars of the movie. His character, renamed Peter Brand, was played by Jonah Hill. Hill is an incredible comedic actor, but was nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of Brand/DePodesta.
DePodesta teamed up with Billy Beane in Oakland and helped begin the analytic movement in baseball. They looked at baseball differently than most other baseball minds at the time, and if sabermetrics and analytics are scrutinized today, imagine how much flack these guys took at the turn of the century.
DePodesta became the Dodgers’ GM in February 2004 and was fired in October 2005. His tenure with the Dodgers is hard to gauge, because he had to put up with Frank McCourt and the financial limitations. He infamously traded Paul Lo Duca and others to Miami for Brad Penny and others, in what may or may not have been an attempt to trade for Randy Johnson.
Some things never change, as DePodesta was heavily criticized by L.A. Times’ columnists T.J. Simers and Bill Plaschke for his analytical/sabermetric approach earned him the nickname “Google Boy”.
Ignore the pointless graphic, but DePodesta is making the jump from the MLB to the NFL, taking a job with one of the more poorly run NFL franchises. According to the press release, “DePodesta will be responsible for assessing and implementing best practices and strategies that will provide the organization with the comprehensive resources needed to make optimal decisions”. Which is a long about way to say he’s going to make the team smarter.
Football is becoming more and more analytical, and the Browns may not be a laughing stock for much longer, as DePodesta can usher them into the 21st century. It’s hard to tell how a baseball mind will translate to the NFL, but DePodesta really got an unfair shot with the Dodgers and could be a gamechanger in Cleveland.
In other front office news, the Dodgers added another sharp mind to their front office, reportedly hiring former Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos.
Last year, some criticized the Dodgers for not “going for it”. Their trade deadline additions were creative and inexpensive in terms of prospects, but ended up being highly underwhelming and failed to help the Dodgers at all. They could have traded good prospects for higher-impact players like Cole Hamels and decided not to. Who knows how much Hamels would have helped in the playoffs, but fair to assume he would have helped last season more than Alex Wood and Mat Latos. This FO did not go all-in last season, which is exactly what Anthopoulos did in Toronto.
CEO Paul Beeston was set to retire after last season and Anthopoulos was up for review, so they went for it. They gave up their top prospect and two others for three months of David Price and gave up Jose Reyes and three prospects for Troy Tulowitzki, and that got them exactly one round farther than the Dodgers got. Anthopoulos announced he would not return, and has reportedly been hired by the Dodgers. He was named Executive of the Year by Sporting News, receiving 21 of 47 votes from fellow GMs and assistant GMs. His position with the Dodgers is not known yet, but he’s sure to be a welcome addition.