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Saturday, October 29, 2005

L.A. Times: DePodesta on the Way Out

They buried Paul…

On the heels of a fourth-place finish and in the midst of a managerial search, the Dodgers are expected to fire General Manager Paul DePodesta, perhaps as early as this weekend, highly placed sources in the organization said Friday.

Barring a change of heart by Frank McCourt, all that is left is for the Dodger owner to meet with DePodesta and make an announcement. DePodesta did not speak with McCourt as of late Friday, although the owner and his wife, team President Jamie McCourt, were in their offices into the early evening.

Thanks to Bob T

Repoz Posted: October 29, 2005 at 01:02 PM | 285 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dodgers

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   1. GregQ Posted: October 29, 2005 at 01:21 PM (#1710312)
I really hope this is the start of a trend in LA!
   2. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 29, 2005 at 01:25 PM (#1710315)
I'll never really know how good as job DePodesta did in LA. I'll always have to look back and say it was pretty average, probably.

But I think we can agree pretty easily he didn't demonstrate abject incompetence, or anything much like it.

The decision to fire a GM after two years in which he didn't demonstrate incompetence shows, to me, very poor planning on the side of ownership. It seems like McCourt made a plan, and then changed his mind before seeing if the plan would work. And he even appears to have changed his mind based on pressure from the local media. That bodes very ill for LA's future, regardless of what you think of context-neutral statistical measures.
   3. Johnny Zen Posted: October 29, 2005 at 01:29 PM (#1710316)
It's very short-sighted, especially if McCourt is bowing to the constant drumbeat of LA media idiocy. I don't want to live in a world where Bill Plaschke has that kind of influence.
   4. Dr Love Posted: October 29, 2005 at 01:34 PM (#1710321)
Damnit. Just... damnit. I stopped caring about the Phillies because I finally had enough with the incompitience throughout that organization. Now this. Argh.
   5. OlePerfesser Posted: October 29, 2005 at 01:37 PM (#1710324)
If true, this ought to be a huge wake-up call to those who've just hired youngsters who specialize in performance analysis to be GMs.

It is NOT that statanalysis is a bad or unimportant thing. It's just ONE of the tools an executive these days ought to have, and the presence or absence of the rest of the tools (most of which have to do with leadership) have a fairly low correlation with the ranking of one's undergraduate institution.

Sure, Theo has been a big success, but he's surrounded by people who can provide some of these other tools. As much as I and others on this site give Lucchino crap, for example, he's doubtless adding some leadership savvy, as is Dr. Charles Steinberg on the PR front.

DePo didn't have that support system. If given the same environment as Theo had been, I have a feeling he'd be just as successful. It was unfair not to put him in circumstances where he could excel, and unfair to expect he'd become a leader in such a short time.

In sum, then, this affair reflects just as badly on the McCourts as it does on DePo. Maybe moreso.
   6. Marc Sully's not booin'. He's Youkin'. Posted: October 29, 2005 at 01:38 PM (#1710327)
Derek Lowe + JD Drew > Edgar Renteria + Matt Clement

Get Theo gone!
   7. bibigon Posted: October 29, 2005 at 01:38 PM (#1710328)
This is just ludicrous, to do this after one year...

I don't fire Jim Bowden in his first year as GM...
   8. bob gee Posted: October 29, 2005 at 01:59 PM (#1710344)
would philly want to hire him?

or san diego, if towers doesn't stay...?

(see alderson -> beane link).
   9. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: October 29, 2005 at 02:34 PM (#1710348)
especially if McCourt is bowing to the constant drumbeat of LA media idiocy.

Is it all of them, or just one guy?
   10. Dr Love Posted: October 29, 2005 at 02:39 PM (#1710351)
Is it all of them, or just one guy?

It's all of them, at least at the LA Times. Simers and Plaschke are of course the main culprits. But I can't say that beat writer Steve Henson has been the pinnacle of objectivity.
   11. The Final Word Posted: October 29, 2005 at 02:39 PM (#1710352)
If true, this is a great day in baseball history, well JP get your bags packed next yr, like the barber said "next"!
   12. Dr Love Posted: October 29, 2005 at 02:40 PM (#1710354)
If true, this is a great day in baseball history, well JP get your bags packed next yr, like the barber said "next"!


Who knew that Richard Griffin posted here?
   13. Flynn Posted: October 29, 2005 at 02:43 PM (#1710355)

But I think we can agree pretty easily he didn't demonstrate abject incompetence, or anything much like it.


Which would be the only reason to fire a GM after 2 years. Dumb.

Is it all of them, or just one guy?

The LA Times is leading the charge, but the entire LA media basically hates everything the Dodgers have done since the O'Malleys sold the team.
   14. 33Boots Posted: October 29, 2005 at 02:50 PM (#1710364)
Gotta love Tommy Lasorda. Right?
   15. Old Matt Posted: October 29, 2005 at 03:09 PM (#1710375)
Phillies could be bold...or not.
   16. The definitely immoral Eric Enders Posted: October 29, 2005 at 03:10 PM (#1710376)
It's not even two years -- more like a year and a half. He's had one off-season to work with.
   17. Bob T Posted: October 29, 2005 at 03:17 PM (#1710381)
The paper edition of the Times has a very large photo of DePodesta sitting in front of a laptop. It's an IBM laptop of some variety.

I see Dennis Gilbert was listed as a candidate. That would be the ultimate PR move since Gilbert is the sportswriter's pal here in L.A. But I don't know that he would actually have any idea on how to be a GM.

Kim Ng would be an extremely bold move.
   18. A Day In the Park Posted: October 29, 2005 at 03:22 PM (#1710384)
Wow, the Dodgers are just plain stupid, that's all I have to say about this.

I've posted before saying the Dodgers would be stupid to fire him, and now they did it.

So they're stupid.
   19. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 29, 2005 at 03:23 PM (#1710387)
I don't know about Kim Ng.

She seems like she has a good understanding of baseball and business, but she's getting old and we still haven't walked in the glow of each other's majestic presence.
   20. Bob T Posted: October 29, 2005 at 03:24 PM (#1710388)
But Kim Ng would present TJ Simers a challenge on how to belittle her.
   21. Flynn Posted: October 29, 2005 at 03:27 PM (#1710392)
But Kim Ng would present TJ Simers a challenge on how to belittle her.

She's a woman. You think that's hard?
   22. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: October 29, 2005 at 03:27 PM (#1710393)
I tend to agree with the trusty Ole Perfesser in #5 on this one.
   23. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: October 29, 2005 at 03:29 PM (#1710395)
In Trent Lott's words last week, she's a woman AND a minority.
   24. bigcpa Posted: October 29, 2005 at 03:31 PM (#1710399)
In all seriousness, why not fire DePo on Oct. 1st and give Tracy a 5 year deal? I can't imagine McCourt quibbled with Tracy playing Phillips at 1b. This seems to imply that McCourt reversed course in the last 3 weeks.

So show of hands on the first major roster move by the Non-Saber Dodgers. I'm going with 5 yrs/$75M to Damon. Bradley DFA.
   25. baudib Posted: October 29, 2005 at 03:31 PM (#1710400)
DePo did everything he could to get himself fired, and it was richly deserved.
   26. Bob T Posted: October 29, 2005 at 03:33 PM (#1710404)
But even The Sheriff was given more time.
   27. s.zielinski Posted: October 29, 2005 at 03:35 PM (#1710410)
Is McCourt a silly boy? Yep!
   28. bob gee Posted: October 29, 2005 at 03:41 PM (#1710417)
i think this thread needs the two johns of they might be giants to walk barefoot across the street.
   29. Bob T Posted: October 29, 2005 at 03:41 PM (#1710418)
I haven't seen this story picked up any other news organization other than the LA Daily News. The news seems to have been leaked just to those two papers.
   30. Bob T Posted: October 29, 2005 at 03:43 PM (#1710423)
DePo did everything he could to get himself fired, and it was richly deserved.

Such as the Dodgers winning the NL West in 2004 in his first season on the job.
   31. Fat Dastard Posted: October 29, 2005 at 03:43 PM (#1710425)
I think it's pretty clear that "The Final Word" is a current or former scout who's bitter about the direction of the industry. He's bashing all the new-wave execs (Byrnes, Depodesta, JP) and has claimed to know a few baseball insiders.
   32. Jeff K. Posted: October 29, 2005 at 03:44 PM (#1710428)
Ah, so The Final Word is a troll for all "sabermetric GM" hirings and firings, not just Byrnes.
   33. Jeff K. Posted: October 29, 2005 at 03:45 PM (#1710429)
Bradley DFA.

In my position speaking for the Rangers, we will gladly take him.
   34. Me And Willie McGee (Urban Bovine Knievel) Posted: October 29, 2005 at 03:47 PM (#1710432)
But even The Sheriff was given more time.


I was not!
   35. Jim Wisinski Posted: October 29, 2005 at 03:48 PM (#1710434)
This could be great news for the rest of baseball. I imagine whoever the new GM is will be told to win now at any cost and may well open up their farm system for trade bait.
   36. The Artist Posted: October 29, 2005 at 03:49 PM (#1710435)
Woo hoo! Make Fat Tommy the Gm - please!!!
   37. Me And Willie McGee (Urban Bovine Knievel) Posted: October 29, 2005 at 03:50 PM (#1710437)
Is Bradley really a candidate to get DFA'd?

Is Orel behind the whole power struggle? I really don't know the situation that well, but could he want more authority than DePo cares to give, and in an NFL type situation, they'll give him lots of off field authority initially?
   38. Mefisto Posted: October 29, 2005 at 03:52 PM (#1710438)
I think the Dodgers should hire Chuck LaMar.
   39. s.zielinski Posted: October 29, 2005 at 03:55 PM (#1710445)
This could be great news for the rest of baseball. I imagine whoever the new GM is will be told to win now at any cost and may well open up their farm system for trade bait.


A phone rings in the next Dodger's GM office. It's DePodesta, the new Phillies GM. PD says: "Zippy, I've a great clubhouse guy who can hit a ton. He will only cost you...."
   40. Fraud Cried the Maddened Thousands Posted: October 29, 2005 at 04:01 PM (#1710454)
#2 gets it exactly right. You turn over the reins of the team to a guy you believe in, he makes a series of moves that prove extremely unpopular but may (or may not) benefit the team greatly in the long run, but fire him before that's clear? Insane.

I thought before this system that DePodesta might have wanted to trade *some* of the Dodgers' uberprospects to make this year's team better in an effort to win the weak, weak west. He chose not to do that and the team was bad (though that's due to lots and lots of reasons -- injuries and the manager included). He's responsible for that decision, but I would agree that the books aren't closed on that decision.

This is very bad planning on McCourt's part... I mean, why do you let him fire Tracy if you're planning to fire him? I just don't get it.
   41. TenMinds Posted: October 29, 2005 at 04:03 PM (#1710457)
I think this is sign that we'll see Bobby Valentine as the next manager of the LA Dodgers. Lasorda is on record saying he's the guy who should get the job, talks about him like the dream candidate. Valentine is on record as saying he'd love the job and it would be a challenge of a lifetime, but that he probably wouldn't mesh too well with the current leadership. He has an out in is contract with Lotte for the Dodgers job.

Newsday reported that DePodesta had decided on Collins but that a faction in the front office (of which I imagine Lasorda was a part of) pushed for Valentine or Hershiser or someone with Dodger ties. After the Hershiser interviews, Lasorda essentially said the job requires more experience.

Obviously, Valentine was not going to be a guy that would work well with a GM trying to maintain a certain degree of control over personnel and coaching decisions.

I think some folks have fixated on Valentine as the saviour. That only happens with DePo gone. So DePo goes.

Look for Valentine to be the Dodgers manager next year (and who knows, maybe even have some GM duties). And look for the Dodgers starting catcher next year to be Kenji Johjima from the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.
   42. PerroX Posted: October 29, 2005 at 04:13 PM (#1710464)
Sure DePo's canning makes no sense to his fellow computer geeks, but managing in the real world, whether baseball or any other business, is about managing people, and at that task DePo has been an abject failure.

He could have been given another year or two, but if Terry Collins had been installed as DePo's puppet, it would have been a disaster from the word go -- a pair of men with plenty of IQ but very little people sense.

Personally, I would have liked watching apologists try and explain away that trainwreck. Now, they'll be able to blame it all on McCourt, Lasorda and a media vendetta.
   43. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: October 29, 2005 at 04:16 PM (#1710467)
and at that task DePo has been an abject failure.

You may be right about this, Ghosty. But to convince me, you're going to need to provide a few examples of why this is the case.
   44. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: October 29, 2005 at 04:17 PM (#1710469)
DePo didn't have that support system. If given the same environment as Theo had been, I have a feeling he'd be just as successful. It was unfair not to put him in circumstances where he could excel, and unfair to expect he'd become a leader in such a short time.

Please. DePodesta was free to hire assistants, you know. For whatever reason he didn't think PR was important, and what do you know, it is.
   45. shoewizard Posted: October 29, 2005 at 04:17 PM (#1710470)
But he did not meet with managerial candidate Orel Hershiser on Tuesday. Hershiser, the Texas Ranger pitching coach and former Dodger, instead had a lengthy dinner with McCourt and senior advisor Tom Lasorda.


I raised an eyebrow when I read that Depo did not meet Hershister personally, but instead had a long telephone interview with him. I had a feeling that was going to bite him in tail. It appears that this was the straw that broke the camels back.

OTOH, I guess that was Depo's line in the sand. He was not going to have his managerial decision dictated to him. I think he was right to take that stance, as his position would have been untenable if the managerial decision was dictated to him by others in the organization and the media. But I still would have met with Hershiser personally, if nothing else but appearance sake.

Anyway, Lasorda and friends finally got him, and Hershiser was the perfect tool to do so.

I've never been a Depo fan, because I think he made too many "managerial" mistakes in how he handled his job and people in the organization. (I am not talking about trades and signings) And from outside looking in, it seemed he was not capable of adjusting in this area. This "hole in his swing" as a GM was glaring, and led to his downfall, IMHO.
   46. shoewizard Posted: October 29, 2005 at 04:27 PM (#1710477)
If true, this ought to be a huge wake-up call to those who've just hired youngsters who specialize in performance analysis to be GMs.

It is NOT that statanalysis is a bad or unimportant thing. It's just ONE of the tools an executive these days ought to have, and the presence or absence of the rest of the tools (most of which have to do with leadership) have a fairly low correlation with the ranking of one's undergraduate institution.


I assume this in part refers to the Byrnes hiring.

From AZ Central, under the title

"BYRNES BRINGS MODERATE APPROACH AS D-BACKS GM"

Josh Byrnes has crunched the numbers, but he has also lugged the radar gun. He can cite stats gurus as influences on his baseball philosophy, but he can also recall pitch sequences and scouting reports from years gone by.

So what's his tack? Is Byrnes a Moneyball guy or an old-school evaluator?

"I'm sort of a political moderate," explained Byrnes, who was hired Friday as general manager of the Diamondbacks. "I think everyone's declaring affiliations out there, and as I said, I like information. I think both are valuable."



General Partner Jeff Moorad said the club wanted to "find someone who could bridge the two prevailing schools of thought in the industry. The sabermetric approach on the one hand, the more traditional scouting approach on the other. We think that Josh is uniquely qualified to do that."

That sounds good to me.



AZ Central
   47. Шĥy Posted: October 29, 2005 at 04:31 PM (#1710480)
Please. DePodesta was free to hire assistants, you know. For whatever reason he didn't think PR was important, and what do you know, it is.

Was there anything he could do to stop Plaschke and Simmers from bashing him? They started as soon as he was hired. They were prejudiced and didn't use rational arguments.
   48. e Posted: October 29, 2005 at 04:32 PM (#1710482)
2 McCourt "conspiracy" theories that try to explain his irrational behavior

A. McCourt & his meddling
McCourt- known BoSox fan. may have been the driving force in signing Lowe (whose success only would have stoked his ego)

One thought that came to my mind was that the only way DePo goes, is if Theo is available. Theo would walk into a high payroll organization with a strong farm system, sans Larry Lucchino. That would not solve the bad media relations, but may make McCourt happy in his own little world.


B. McCourt & Lasorda
The story earlier was that McCourt & Lasorda had a 5 hour dinner & interview with Orel, and that DePo had only spoke to him over the phone.
McCourt spent five hours with 2 Dodger icons that bring visions of winning and the World Series. This dinner may have served as the Lasorda infomercial on how HE would do things. Which, of course, would not include fancy stuff like math.
   49. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: October 29, 2005 at 04:33 PM (#1710484)
I agree with Why. If he had done exactly what they thought he should do, they'd have still hated him.
   50. Dr Love Posted: October 29, 2005 at 04:36 PM (#1710486)
Please. DePodesta was free to hire assistants, you know. For whatever reason he didn't think PR was important, and what do you know, it is.

It's not the General Manager's job to worry about the PR. It's the PR department's job. And Frank McCourt put his 24 year old son in charge of marketing and left high ranking positions in the PR chain empty for a whole season. That's not DePo's fault, that's McCourt's area.
   51. Dr Love Posted: October 29, 2005 at 04:36 PM (#1710487)
^ That's (Frank) McCourt's area.
   52. bob gee Posted: October 29, 2005 at 04:47 PM (#1710494)
billy beane has had a very successful run in oakland and STILL gets bashed by plenty of writers. there's nothing he could have done, and honestly, his job should not be making moves to please the writers, but to make moves either/or for:
1) make the team win a division / playoffs THIS year.
2) make the team win division(s)/playoffs for multiple years later.

he (rightly, IMO) decided that keeping the same players last year would have meant a bad team for this year and for the future. he definitely would have had a worse team this year (i think all the players who left were worse than the ones brought in for them)...and i still think the lowe/drew signings weren't good.

MUSIC:
here's another clue if you please...the seether's louise!
   53. The Final Word Posted: October 29, 2005 at 04:47 PM (#1710495)
Well I'm sure Petey Gammons and his clones are collecting excuses for his next column, stating how Pauly wasnt given his proper due!!
   54. Dr Love Posted: October 29, 2005 at 04:49 PM (#1710497)
Well I'm sure Petey Gammons and his clones are collecting excuses for his next column, stating how Pauly wasnt given his proper due!!

You're quite enthusiastic for such JV trolling.
   55. Jim Wisinski Posted: October 29, 2005 at 04:55 PM (#1710506)
is about managing people, and at that task DePo has been an abject failure.

Abject failure, no. He did do a poor job with that aspect but isn't he allowed to learn from his mistakes?
   56. Bob T Posted: October 29, 2005 at 04:57 PM (#1710511)
Still the story does not appear on ESPN's website, Sportsline's, or on the AP wire.
   57. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: October 29, 2005 at 05:01 PM (#1710516)
I raised an eyebrow when I read that Depo did not meet Hershister personally, but instead had a long telephone interview with him.

Wasn't he in Italy for a sibling's wedding?
Firing DePo would be a ridiculously short-sighted move, unless Theo is waiting in the wings. Remember: The Red Sox and Theo called off negotiations for the weekend. Hmmm.
If DePo is canned - and I'm not believing anything until I hear the official word, much like I refused to engage in Plame investigation speculation until Fitz himself spoke - his legacy, to me, is a positive: He was GM when the Dodgers won their first pennant in nine years and reached the playoffs for the first time in eight. Period.
   58. Paul D(uda) Posted: October 29, 2005 at 05:02 PM (#1710517)
Forget the debate about the job DePo's done, and how he's screwed up the management part of the job... how many people here think that he shoudl have been fired?
I don't think he did a great job, but I don't see how you can fire a GM after two years unless they're terrible (see Babcock, R.).

It looks like the Final Word and Ghost think that this firing was just... anyone else?
   59. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: October 29, 2005 at 05:03 PM (#1710519)
It's not the General Manager's job to worry about the PR. It's the PR department's job.

Look, I'm not saying this is all DePodesta's fault, but when you are the general manager of big-market team, PR is half the battle. It might not have been his fault, but if there's a problem in the PR department, DePodesta should have done something about it. Why? Because it's almost impossible to be successful in a town like NY or LA without some support in the media, especially when you seem hell-bent on making unpopular moves (trading LoDuca, letting Beltre go, signing JD Drew, etc).

I don't know what DePodesta should have done differently, but its obvious that something in his approach with the media had to change. Maybe he should have tried to become friends with Simmers and joked about Kevin Brown, or maybe he should have provided the LA sportswriters with more of his time. I don't know, something. Whatever he's been doing for the past two years obviously hasn't worked, and its probably the biggest reason for his demise.
   60. Bob T Posted: October 29, 2005 at 05:04 PM (#1710520)
Hmm...

Says here that the Cardinals won the NL pennant in 2004
   61. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: October 29, 2005 at 05:04 PM (#1710521)
Seether is neither loose nor tight
Seether is neither black nor white
   62. e Posted: October 29, 2005 at 05:05 PM (#1710523)
ESPN:
Vanilla Report

Olney has a take on it, which I am spared, since I am not an insider.

<a href="http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?name=olney_buster&acti>Olney!</a>
   63. Bob T Posted: October 29, 2005 at 05:09 PM (#1710529)
Olney presents info from two sources. One saying that DePodesta was shut out of the Hershiser interview by McCourt and DePodesta. The other source claims that DePodesta was keeping to himself behind closed doors and alienating people.

I think we need to ask Tajomaru and Masako to see what they know.
   64. Dr Love Posted: October 29, 2005 at 05:11 PM (#1710530)
Look, I'm not saying this is all DePodesta's fault, but when you are the general manager of big-market team, PR is half the battle. It might not have been his fault, but if there's a problem in the PR department, DePodesta should have done something about it. Why? Because it's almost impossible to be successful in a town like NY or LA without some support in the media, especially when you seem hell-bent on making unpopular moves (trading LoDuca, letting Beltre go, signing JD Drew, etc).

Again, it's not his job to do that. The PR battles are fought by the PR department. And for all you know, he spoke to the McCourts about it and they did nothing.

I don't know what DePodesta should have done differently, but its obvious that something in his approach with the media had to change.

And McCourt hasn't given him a chance to do that. After winning the division in 2004, he's got no reason to alter his approach to the media. And now, after one bad season, if this firing is true, he hasn't even given him a month to adjust.

Maybe he should have tried to become friends with Simmers and joked about Kevin Brown, or maybe he should have provided the LA sportswriters with more of his time.

Suggesting that DePo try to be friends with TJ Simers might be the dumbest thing said in this thread. You know what Simers would do? He'd write a scathing article about how DePo tried to kiss his ass and how the Dodgers are trying to woo him.

Whatever he's been doing for the past two years obviously hasn't worked, and its probably the biggest reason for his demise.

If Frank McCourt is firing DePo because of what Simers and Plaschke write about DePo, then he's a ####### idiot. Especially since they hate McCourt more. They'll probably say some nice things in a backhanded compliment, but the minute another GM starts losing a few games in a row, they'll go back to trashing McCourt.
   65. Bob T Posted: October 29, 2005 at 05:18 PM (#1710536)
Feeling somewhat like the Gus Grissom "character" in the "The Right Stuff" who says "The issue ain't #####, it's monkey", but with the LA media, the issue ain't DePodesta, it's McCourt.

McCourt was despised from the outset. No one trusts his finances, sanity, or plans for the team. Frank and Jamie McCourt came to L.A. with negative Q ratings it seemed. They took Donald Sterling off the list of "most ridiculed owner of an L.A. sports team."

And the McCourts are in sharp contrast to the image of Arte Moreno, who, despite the city name change of the Angels, has an image that is nearly unblemished in the media here.
   66. haven Posted: October 29, 2005 at 05:22 PM (#1710539)
I don't think 2 years is really a fair test for DePodesto.......

That said, I can understand the firing based on one thing which I guess I really have no proof is even true. If DePo was adament about hiring Collins and McCourt thought (or was told by multiple advisers) that this was a huge mistake.

I thought hiring Collins would have been a huge mistake. Hard for me to begrudge anyone else that belief.
   67. Spivey Posted: October 29, 2005 at 05:23 PM (#1710540)
'The Final Word' went from a reasonable stance in the Arizona thread to full-out trollism in this one. 'A great day for baseball history'? Please.

McCourt seems quite impatient. I imagine if Depo gets fired, he's going to hire someone who tells McCourt that they can win a WS next year. And, with health, they can win the division. But I won't be surprised if I see 4 of LAD's top 15 prospects in different organizations at this point next year.
   68. greenback calls it soccer Posted: October 29, 2005 at 05:29 PM (#1710550)
Abject failure, no. He did do a poor job with that aspect but isn't he allowed to learn from his mistakes?


That is the thing I take away from the 2005 White Sox.

The PR battles are fought by the PR department.


No, the PR battles are fought by anyone in contact with the public. If DePodesta took that kind of dogmatic view and had that little political savvy, then he was doomed. This would explain his ridiculously quick departure.
   69. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: October 29, 2005 at 05:35 PM (#1710561)
Says here that the Cardinals won the NL pennant in 2004

Can't it be said the NL West champion won a pennant? Or is that reserved for the league champ?
This is a serious question; I hitched calling LA a pennant winner in my first post for this reason.
   70. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: October 29, 2005 at 05:37 PM (#1710564)
One saying that DePodesta was shut out of the Hershiser interview by McCourt and DePodesta.

That's some serious self-loathing.
   71. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: October 29, 2005 at 05:39 PM (#1710570)
I don't know what DePodesta should have done differently, but its obvious that something in his approach with the media had to change.

And McCourt hasn't given him a chance to do that. After winning the division in 2004, he's got no reason to alter his approach to the media. And now, after one bad season, if this firing is true, he hasn't even given him a month to adjust.


DePodesta has been on the job two years! He's been having problems with the media since he got hired. This didn't happen overnight.

Suggesting that DePo try to be friends with TJ Simers might be the dumbest thing said in this thread. You know what Simers would do? He'd write a scathing article about how DePo tried to kiss his ass and how the Dodgers are trying to woo him.

Well, that's only if DePodesta isn't subtle about it. Simmers writing a column about the Dodgers' bad PR deparment would be a lot better than him writing columns about how stupid the Dodgers' moves have been, if for no other reason that his criticisms would actually have some merit.

If Frank McCourt is firing DePo because of what Simers and Plaschke write about DePo, then he's a #### idiot. Especially since they hate McCourt more. They'll probably say some nice things in a backhanded compliment, but the minute another GM starts losing a few games in a row, they'll go back to trashing McCourt.

I don't disagree. But I'm guessing that DePodesta isn't being fired only because Plaschke and Simmers don't like him. The public image of the Dodgers has taken a big hit. Firing the guy who made many of these unpopular moves would be a good PR move for the Dodgers. Is the right move? Probably not, but I doubt McCourt really cares.
   72. WillieMays Haze Posted: October 29, 2005 at 05:40 PM (#1710571)
This is terrible. I'm flabbergasted by this. I mean, did he really do a bad job the last 2 years? He won the division last year and this year the team completely fell apart with injuries. What did they expect him to do. Hopefully he goes back to Oakland.

Now I have to watch Weekend at Bernie's to lighten me up.
   73. Dr Love Posted: October 29, 2005 at 05:40 PM (#1710572)
No, the PR battles are fought by anyone in contact with the public. If DePodesta took that kind of dogmatic view and had that little political savvy, then he was doomed. This would explain his ridiculously quick departure.

I don't know how you can say he was doomed for having a certain mindset and yet in the same post agree that people in his position can learn from their mistakes.
   74. Women's Lib is Ms.Guided Posted: October 29, 2005 at 05:42 PM (#1710574)
It's not even two years -- more like a year and a half. He's had one off-season to work with.

To me this could be a point against DePo. He inherits a team that wins 93 games. Then uses his one off-season to make major moves, spending lots of money on veteran players. Result is a team 22 games worse than the year before.
   75. Bob T Posted: October 29, 2005 at 05:44 PM (#1710578)
This is a serious question; I hitched calling LA a pennant winner in my first post for this reason.

While there is no "official" rule, the term "pennant winners" are usually reserved for the two World Series participants.

The Dodgers were the NL West Champions in 2004, but that doesn't get you "the" pennant.
   76. johnny_mostil Posted: October 29, 2005 at 05:48 PM (#1710584)
#40 is right. Most of us would have seen Kenny Williams fired years ago in Chicago, and now we know how that turned out. There is a lot to say for having a plan and sticking to it, and sometimes it takes a rookie GM a couple of years to figure out what the plan should be. With Williams, you have to admit, he said what he was trying to do and then, miraculously, he actually did it.

The only thing I can figure is DePodesta's personality might be what's getting him canned more than his performance. It's one thing to fail in a media market like LA, it's another thing if he's privately obnoxious as well. I don't know him, so it's all speculation, and all I have to go on is Moneyball, and while Michael Lewis obviously liked him, I thought DePodesta came off in that book as an arrogant know-it-all jerk. If an admirer paints such a mixed picture, well, maybe Frank McCourt just can't stand to be around him any more.
   77. Dr Love Posted: October 29, 2005 at 05:48 PM (#1710585)
DePodesta has been on the job two years!

No, he's been on the job for about 18 months. He's had one offseason. To expect him to make major adjustments in his demeanor in that time is unrealistic. Especially since his first year was a huge success for the Dodgers and any complaints about the team were petty.

Well, that's only if DePodesta isn't subtle about it. Simmers writing a column about the Dodgers' bad PR deparment would be a lot better than him writing columns about how stupid the Dodgers' moves have been, if for no other reason that his criticisms would actually have some merit.

I don't think you have a proper understanding of TJ Simers. Simers doesn't want to be friends with DePodesta or the McCourts. His MO is to stroke his own ego by belittling others, namely Frank McCourt, his wife, and anyone who works for him.

I don't disagree. But I'm guessing that DePodesta isn't being fired only because Plaschke and Simmers don't like him. The public image of the Dodgers has taken a big hit. Firing the guy who made many of these unpopular moves would be a good PR move for the Dodgers. Is the right move? Probably not, but I doubt McCourt really cares.

Those unpopular moves haven't crippled the franchise and the players no longer on the Dodgers haven't done any better on their new teams. So if it's for making unpopular moves, it's not for the results of those moves but for the backlash from the media over them. So yes, if it had to do with those moves, then it's because of the media response.
   78. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: October 29, 2005 at 05:48 PM (#1710586)
spending lots of money on veteran players.
It's not as if the Dodgers weren't already spending lots of money on veteran players. In 2004, LA had $19.4 million invested in Dreifort and Hundley. At least DePo got a positive return for his investments.
   79. CONservative governMENt Posted: October 29, 2005 at 05:54 PM (#1710599)
He inherits a team that wins 93 games. Then uses his one off-season to make major moves, spending lots of money on veteran players. Result is a team 22 games worse than the year before.

Exactly. If a non-saber darling dropped 22 games in the standings while increasing payroll then Mel Gibson could make a movie about their crucifixtion.

If few people in or out of the organization like you then you have to win to keep your job. Better people skills might have bought him another year.
   80. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: October 29, 2005 at 05:54 PM (#1710601)
If a non-saber darling dropped 22 games in the standings while increasing payroll then Mel Gibson could make a movie about their crucifixtion.
Didn't the payroll stay about the same from 2004 to 2005?
   81. Dr Love Posted: October 29, 2005 at 05:57 PM (#1710607)
To me this could be a point against DePo. He inherits a team that wins 93 games.

That's not totally accurate. If he doesn't aquire Bradley at the start of the season and Finley in July, the Dodgers aren't a playoff team. Yes, he inherited a good team, and he was the beneficiary of a fluke season out of Beltre, and no, he was not *the* reason why the Dodgers won the West, but I don't think it would be fair to say that if McCourt kept Dan Evans as the GM that the Dodgers would have had the same results.
   82. rr Posted: October 29, 2005 at 06:05 PM (#1710614)
The only possibly legit reason to can DePodesta this soon is if he has serious issues with his interpersonal skills that are inherent in his personality, will hamper him in getting the job done, have been addressed by ownership, but seem unchangeable.

Based on team performance, his grade is "incomplete." One good year and one bad one is evidence that says "give the guy more time."
   83. The Balls of Summer Posted: October 29, 2005 at 06:08 PM (#1710617)
DePodesta has been on the job two years! He's been having problems with the media since he got hired. This didn't happen overnight.

Well, the problems with the media happened overnight. He was hired and the next day he gets to read a hatchet job by Plaschke that reads like a string of insults. The press hated him from the beginning and I think it's unrealistic to say that DePo could have done much about it.
   84. The Balls of Summer Posted: October 29, 2005 at 06:13 PM (#1710621)
So, does Fat Tommy get the job?
   85. Bob T Posted: October 29, 2005 at 06:15 PM (#1710623)
Another person has told me that Gammo says it's Hershiser as GM and Valentine as manager.
   86. Steve Treder Posted: October 29, 2005 at 06:16 PM (#1710624)
So, does Fat Tommy get the job?

Oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please ...
   87. Dr Love Posted: October 29, 2005 at 06:18 PM (#1710628)
Another person has told me that Gammo says it's Hershiser as GM and Valentine as manager.

I can't remember what exactly they wrote, but I'm willing to be inexperience as a GM was a key point for Simers and Plaschke when DePo was hired. I have little doubt they'll look the other way on this.

Bobby V as manager... I wanted him as the manager, but not at this expense.
   88. Bob T Posted: October 29, 2005 at 06:21 PM (#1710632)
Plaschke's initial column about DePodesta had jokes about how the new GM still needed to use Clearasil.
   89. The Artist Posted: October 29, 2005 at 06:27 PM (#1710635)
So by my count, there's at least 5 Giants fans in here hoping for a Fat Tommy Coronation. And they say we don't like Tommy... ;)
   90. Spivey Posted: October 29, 2005 at 06:36 PM (#1710647)
To me this could be a point against DePo. He inherits a team that wins 93 games. Then uses his one off-season to make major moves, spending lots of money on veteran players. Result is a team 22 games worse than the year before.

Well, I have to disagree. Gagne got hurt. Countless others did too. Some you could have expected (Drew), but you can't say that for all of them. He didn't trade away any of their best prospects (which shouldn't be a plus, but given the way some GMs act, it is). Getting rid of Green gives them a lot of payroll flexibility. Choosing not to resign Finley and Beltre, moves that were killed in the LA press, paid off in spades. Drew was hurt, but was very when healthy and single handledly outplayed Finley and Beltre. Lowe played well. Kent played very well. Choi isn't great, but is valuable for someone who is making as little money as he is.

As for putting Milton Bradley and Kent on the same team, which some thing is bad...well everything was going fine until they started to struggle. And, based on what I've seen, Kent isn't necessarily the driving force of any of these problems. I think it's just as likely Bradley could have acted like this if Kent wasn't on the team. Also, isn't the manager somewhat responsible for trying to iron out the problems players have? Did Tracy actually do anything to stop this rift? I don't know, I'm actually curious.
   91. baudib Posted: October 29, 2005 at 06:56 PM (#1710666)
Ignoring all of DePo's problems with the rest of the organization, here are a list of the mistakes that could/should have been avoided (and most likely cost the Dodgers a lot of games):

1. Losing the best third baseman in baseball (for 2004) and not having anything resembling a major-league 3B on the roster. Beltre 2004 to Edwards/Robles/Nakamura/Saenz/Valentin/Perez (was actually pretty good) has to be about a 100-run loss.

2. Making Jason Phillips the starting catcher. Say what you want, LoDuca was a good player in 2004. What were the expectations for Phillips?

3. This team was going as far as Bradley and Drew could carry it. Nuff said.
   92. Dr Love Posted: October 29, 2005 at 07:07 PM (#1710683)
1. Losing the best third baseman in baseball (for 2004) and not having anything resembling a major-league 3B on the roster. Beltre 2004 to Edwards/Robles/Nakamura/Saenz/Valentin/Perez (was actually pretty good) has to be about a 100-run loss.

And Beltre sucked in 2005. Keeping him around wouldn't have made a difference, the revolving door at 3B in 2005 wasn't too far below the peformance of Beltre.

2. Making Jason Phillips the starting catcher. Say what you want, LoDuca was a good player in 2004. What were the expectations for Phillips?

He was the best option at that time. I'll agree with the argument that he didn't address catcher properly, I wanted him to sign AJP, but there weren't a lot of options, and after he was signed, Phillips was about it. It also allowed him to unload Ishii.


3. This team was going as far as Bradley and Drew could carry it. Nuff said.

Ah, "nuff said," the greatest argumental tool there is. Nevermind that Bradley wasn't intended to be a guy to "carry" the team, just help push it. Kent and Drew were.
   93. Dr Love Posted: October 29, 2005 at 07:15 PM (#1710687)
Press conference at 5 PM ET.
   94. Spivey Posted: October 29, 2005 at 07:15 PM (#1710688)
And Gagne.
   95. Women's Lib is Ms.Guided Posted: October 29, 2005 at 07:17 PM (#1710689)
To me a GM has to be making progress.

Are the Dodgers in better shape as a franchise now than they were when DePo started? The team he took over was good enough to win 93 games with some tweaking.
I'm not sure they are there right now and are not appreciably younger or in better shape financially.

If you hired DePo then I agree its a bit soon to fire him, but 22 games worse is 22 games worse.
   96. NoName Posted: October 29, 2005 at 07:18 PM (#1710690)
It is obviously a ridiculous move to can DePodesta after one off- season, esp. if the reason is his player personnel moves.

However, it demonstrates that player personnel moves (as in, who do you pick up, who do you let go) is only one aspect of the job. First and foremost, the job is getting along with the owner (just as it was Tracy's first and foremost job to get along with McCourt/DePo.) Part of that is having decent enough press and public relations to help keep the press and public off the owners' back.

But also, there have long been reports that DePo in particular, and the Dodgers under Depo, have been very poor commuinicators with other teams, with free agents, and with Dodger players and employees. The result has been not only unhappy people, including people either with the organization or with influence in the organization, but also in other front offices. At one point the Yankees swore they wouldn't ever have anything to do with DePo after DePo changed his mind after agreeing to a deal. The big deadline deal that brought Penny in and sent Lo Duca out was part of a bigger deal that DePo couldn't pull off, but that he had let the press know was imminent, that left the Dodgers without a catcher and without Randy Johnson.

One doesn't have to be a traitor to the Moneyball gods, to whom I also swear fealty, to think that DePo has failings as well as strengths.
   97. Dr Love Posted: October 29, 2005 at 07:23 PM (#1710696)
Are the Dodgers in better shape as a franchise now than they were when DePo started?

You've got to give him the offseason in order to make a fair call.

I'm not sure they are there right now and are not appreciably younger or in better shape financially.

They're in much better shape financially now then when he took over. Driefort is off the books, Green is off the books, Weaver is a free agent.

If you hired DePo then I agree its a bit soon to fire him, but 22 games worse is 22 games worse.

If Gagne doesn't get hurt, they're not 22 games worse. You can't hold a GM accountable for one of the best relievers in the game getting hurt.
   98. rr Posted: October 29, 2005 at 07:26 PM (#1710697)
"3. This team was going as far as Bradley and Drew could carry it. Nuff said.

Ah, "nuff said," the greatest argumental tool there is. Nevermind that Bradley wasn't intended to be a guy to "carry" the team, just help push it. Kent and Drew were."

>>>I am in the middle on this. Acquiring these three guys, given Bradley's and Kent's personalities, and Drew's injury history, IMO was a questionable chain of moves. But "questionable" is not "stupid." Williams and Guillen are getting all kinds of credit right now for taking on guys with various types of problems--Contreras, Jenks, Pierzynski, Everett--and getting them to the top. PD's moves are certainly defensible.

Again, the data on DePodesta says "give him more time." But, maybe he was just perceived as an arrogant jerk ,an due to that, couldn't afford a bad year.

It also seems likley that McCourt has mancrushes on Bobby Valentindand Orel Hershiser and it is moreabout them than about DePo.
   99. greenback calls it soccer Posted: October 29, 2005 at 07:30 PM (#1710702)
I don't know how you can say he was doomed for having a certain mindset and yet in the same post agree that people in his position can learn from their mistakes.

If he's dogmatic as you want him to be, then he's not going to learn anything. I doubt that's the case though.

Keeping [Beltre] around wouldn't have made a difference,

It would've made a difference PR-wise. If you're going to let a star walk, then it's probably a good idea to have some viable replacement in his stead.
   100. Matt Welch Posted: October 29, 2005 at 07:32 PM (#1710705)
Highlights from Plaschke's first column after DePodesta's hiring:

---

The Dodgers have a new face, and it is dabbed in Clearasil.

The Dodgers have a new voice, and it speaks in megabytes.

Meet General Manager.Com, otherwise known as Paul DePodesta, a 31-year-old computer nerd who was hired Monday to rid the Dodgers of their, um, virus. [...]

Change it they have, from Branch Rickey to Little Rickey, from Buzzie Bavasi to Bill Gates, from wise old men who trusted effort to a kid who relies on ... equations?

For the last four seasons, DePodesta has essentially been the webmaster for that funky site known as the Oakland Athletics.

Billy Beane was the general manager, DePodesta was the statistics cruncher, and together they built a team that overachieved during the season but crumbled in the playoffs, spreadsheets being unable to judge heart.

That DePodesta would be ready for a challenge such as the Dodgers is the wacky stuff of chat rooms and message boards, which, not coincidentally, is where McCourt received his final approval. [...]

Seriously, McCourt seems sincere about changing the Dodger culture, and DePodesta, a Harvard graduate who seems sufficiently earnest and humble, might fit that mode.

But, c'mon. [...]

"This place has tried quick fixes, they don't work," McCourt said. "This is about stability and continuity." [...]

DePodesta is a nice kid and all, but isn't it a bit disconcerting when the new baseball boss of the Dodgers meets Tom Lasorda for the first time on the morning he is hired? [...]

DePodesta should put Lasorda on speed dial in the hopes that the Hall of Famer also will one day like him for something else -- a willingness to listen. [...]

"It is a proven fact that payroll amount does not correlate to success on the field," said McCourt, for the umpteenth time.

But, for the umpteenth time, it does correlate if you have a thin top layer of minor leaguers, as the Dodgers do.

Here's hoping DePodesta recognizes this, and is able to decipher the only equation upon which he will be initially judged.

Current lineup minus new bat equals bow wow. [...]

The theme with DePodesta is about a brave new Dodger world, or at least a brand-new floppy disk.

As one of the featured characters in the best-selling, behind-the-scenes book "Moneyball," DePodesta was once described by author Michael Lewis as such:

"Before the 2002 season, Paul DePodesta had reduced the coming sixth months to a math problem."

The book told how DePodesta judged players by certain statistics, especially on-base percentage, then put those stats into a computer that spit out the names of guys he wanted.

Without a Panama hat or stopwatch in sight.

The method, which cost scouts jobs and lowered the A's payroll, resulted in a .606 winning percentage during that time, tied for the best in baseball.

But lacking Kirk Gibson-type leadership -- Gibson's unconventional numbers probably wouldn't have fit the A's system -- they went 0-7 in potential playoff-clinching games.

In the end, DePodesta's style didn't win any more playoff series than Kevin Malone's style or Dan Evans' style.

"The human element is not measurable," admitted DePodesta, but spam is, and let's hope he's not full of it.
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