Not quite a week ago, I expressed some reservation about J.P. Ricciardi’s record when he was hired. I have no similar ambivalence about Paul DePodesta. None. This is a tremendous hire. He’s smart. He’s run his own team. He’s worked with Alderson and many of baseball’s best minds.
As the GM, he helped build a playoff team in LA in 2004 before he was run out of town in 2005. In part, the press never forgave him for trading Paul LoDuca for Brad Penny at the trading deadline in 2004, a move that looks even better in hindsight.
There’s so much DePodesta material out there on these crazy interwebs it’s almost hard to know where to start.
“Paul has one of the top analytical minds in the game and also has a strong background in more traditional aspects of player development and amateur scouting. He will help establish direction, standards and continuity in all areas of our player development domestically and internationally. Paul — working together with J.P. Ricciardi and John Ricco — also will advise me generally on other matters related to baseball operations.”
Notice the phrase continuity. Just this weekend, Mike Newman of scoutingthesally and I were talking baseball, and specifically Mets minor league baseball. I asked him if he could identify a Mets philosophy. We couldn’t beyond the obvious. Sure, the Mets have gone pitching heavy in drafts and largely adhered to slot with the exception of a pick (usually their first) or two per year. Yes, the team has drafted a lot of small college arms. Can that be considered a full philosophy? Not here. So count me excited about the the idea that the draft and international signings and player development will now be part of the same structure and that there will be “continuity” all the way through.
A few links I liked:
DePodesta’s own blog from his time in San Diego: It Might Be Dangerous … You go First is pretty much required reading.
Gaslampball isn’t surprised DePo left San Diego where he was being shut out of the baseball operations and focusing more on pricing tickets and beer after Sandy Alderson left. The monster interview Gaslampball did with Depo is here. One more highlight that goes on both Depodesta and Alderson’s resume: “Over the past 4-5 years the Padres are in the top 5 in amateur player spending.”
Rich Lederer picks Paul DePodesta’s brain from June 2009 at the Baseball Analysts. Check out these two answers:
Rich: How much of your time do you spend on scouting?
Paul: I start entering draft mode around the end of February/beginning of March. Once the ML season begins, though, I spend probably 90% of my time on the draft until we announce that last pick.
Rich: Do you think the standard five tools (hitting for average, power, arm strength, fielding, and speed) are still the most important attributes of a player? Or would you insert plate discipline/pitch recognition skills into the mix?
Paul: Both tools and skills are important, as they often depend on one another in order to play. For instance, the combination of all tools and no skills is usually a promise unfulfilled, and all skills with no tools often results in a short career. We’d all prefer a plethora of both, but in the absence of that it’s a constant effort to figure out if the shortcomings in one area will inhibit the positives in the other.
In 2007, Jacob Jackson at the Hardball Times called DePodesta the best unemployed GM in baseball.
Given the fact that he was fired at the end of the 2005 season, this positive piece from John Donovan at Sports Illustrated 11 games into the season is pretty funny.