I’ll tell you one thing, there is no doubt the Mets new crop of executives would whoop any other team’s front office folks at Trivial Pursuit. Yesterday, it was announced that the Amazins’ had hired former LA Dodgers general manager and the Harvard educated Paul DePodesta to team with Harvard law school man Sandy Alderson in the team’s front office. That is one wicked smart duo. Too bad all the smarts in the world won’t make Oliver Perez get his head out of his ass and magically transform Luis Castillo into Chase Utley.
So, now it appears as if everything is in place in the Mets baseball operations hierarchy. Newly hired J.P. Ricciardi will oversee the Mets professional scouting endeavors. DePodesta will act as the Mets vice-president of player development and amateur scouting. Sandy Alderson will oversee the whole damn thing and hopefully put the Fortunate Son, Jeff Wilpon, in his place once and for all (I am dreaming, I know, but can’t a dream for a minute?). If you include former Reds GM Wayne Krivsky who was hired last year as Special Assistant to the President of Baseball Operations, the Mets now have three former major league GMs working under Alderson. If nothing else, at least nobody stories about the Mets being a clueless organization are a thing of the past.
Now a little about Paul DePodesta. Like Ricciardi, the 38-year old DePodesta is a child of the “Moneyball” movement in baseball. Though he never worked under Sandy Alderson in Oakland (Billy Bean had taken over the A’s by the time DePodesta joined the mix in 1999), DePodesta teamed with Alderson in the San Diego Padres front office when Sandy was the CEO late last decade. Despite the fact that DePodesta is considered one of the brightest young minds in the game and was the fourth youngest GM in baseball history (age 31) when he took over the Dodgers post in 2004, his past is somewhat checkered and controversial.
DePodesta lasted only two seasons as Dodgers GM and was criticized harshly for allowing his belief in sabermetric principles to so deeply dictate his decision making. Look, I am a believer in stats and trends and the use of sabermetrics to help aid in analysis of what players to draft and keep and so on. That being said, I am a bit more old school than some my age in that I also think gut feelings and simply watching a guy’s demeanor and resolve go a long way in determining his value as well. Stats be damned sometimes. Check out some of what DePodesta had to say regarding his belief in the Moneyball system during his conference call from earlier today.
In any case, the Mets clearly have built a front office stacked with smarts and experience and hopefully this crew will be able to put together a winning formula for the future of this franchise. Unfortunately, it does not appear to me and many other onlookers that we will see the fruits of their labor come to light in 2011. The bloated and untradeable contracts of Ollie Perez, Luis Castillo and Carlos Beltran may have a little something to do with that. Once the Hot Stove really starts to heat up, I’ll begin to get into my analysis of 2011 and what to expect.