October 30, 2005

Artful Dodger

Well now, this is interesting. The Dodgers fired GM Paul DePodesta yesterday. So much for winning the NL West in your first season as general manager. DePodesta had three years left on a five-year contract he signed with much fanfare as a Moneyball-style Billy Beane protege. Unfortunately the Trolley Dodgers imploded this season, and DePodesta's tenuous relationship with owner Frank McCourt meant that he was on the hot seat all year.

What does all this mean for the Nationals. First, it proves that there are front offices more dysfunctional than ours. The whole McCourt-Lasorda-DePodesta-Tracy management parallelogram makes our Tony T.-Trader Jim-Cap'n Hook troika look like a well-oiled machine. Second, it opens up the slender possibility that Paul could be a candidate for the Nats full-time GM job. The Nats new owners (should they ever materialize) would have to be willing to change general managers mid-stream; and DePodesta would have to wait around while the ownership situation sorts itself out, but Paul's a local boy and that might carry some weight.

Worst case scenario, Paul DePodesta: new Phillies GM.


Basil said...

I don't see DePodesta getting a GM job anywhere this offseason . . maybe ever again, though that's looking into the future a bit.

He's been tagged mercilessly as an unfeeling floppy disk. Anywhere he goes to pursue another GM opportunity, the local network of columnists will log onto the Plaschke/Simers tarring and say, at best, "Hey, Team X better think about this one really, really hard."

A more reasonable guy like Rosenthal has framed DePo as an excellent assistant, but not cut out for being the head guy. Maybe Rosenthal's right, come to think of it.

No matter, this was a bizarre and probably unjustified firing, if for no other reason than abject nitwits like Chuck Lamar and Cam Bonifay were given way more than two years to demonstrate they sucked hard.

Nate said...

You're probably right, though I cling to the hope that if someone like the Lerners end up owning the team they won't be beholden to the old boys baseball network, and might be willing to give DePodesta oh say, 3 years to demonstrate that he can turn a team around.

I'd love to have him here as an assistant, but we'd need a GM who's receptive to that kind of analysis. If Paul came to work for Trader Jim I suspect he'd go postal and take out the entire front office inside the first month. (It would be a shame to lose Dana Brown.)