Saturday, October 29, 2005
DePodesta To Be Fired
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.If anything is likely to make me change my mind about the McCourts, it's this. After a year and a half or so of new ownership, I had softened a bit on them, but it seems they've lost their minds. Tinkering around the edges by firing front office communication personnel like Lon Rosen is one thing; having a revolving door at the GM's chair is quite another. The franchise enters an offseason of great tumult around baseball in that position, with Theo Epstein renegotiating his contract amid public disagreements with ownership, Brian Cashman using his potential exit from the Yankees to emphasize a point about who's boss, John Hart resigning from the Rangers, the Phillies fired Ed Wade, and the Devil Rays gave Chuck LaMar the boot. (Am I missing someone?) Finding a proven GM will be difficult.
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.
A GM search now will also complicate the managerial search. They'll have somebody to fill out the lineup card next year, somebody to blame for whatever troubles the team has, but it won't matter much. They'll also have a GM who's likely to start making some furious trades. I didn't see much coming out of the Dodger farm system before 2007; with this change and the pressure behind it, it's all too plausible to see the likes of Andy LaRoche traded for some magic beans and a handful of aging, marquee veterans, a la the early 90's Dodgers.
Finally, to fire DePodesta after only a year in that position marks McCourt as someone who can't tolerate media carping. If the likes of the Plaschkes and Simers of the press keep Frank McCourt awake at night, if the Doug Krikorians give him indigestion, then the kinds of idiotic, reactionary moves that punctuated Kevin Malone's tenure as GM will almost assuredly ensue. That is, the Dodgers will be run like the Mets or the Phillies: a second-class organization without a clue that swings heedlessly to whatever sentiment inflames the fans this month.
This is profoundly saddening. I'll say this: it makes me appreciate Arte that much more. And I wish Jon were around; for sure, he'd have something sharp to say. I don't have the time, and the Toaster appears to be unplugged right now. If you want, the (limited) BTF thread is here.
It appears the firing is official, according to ESPN.
"I met with Paul DePodesta this morning and let him know that the Los Angeles Dodgers were moving on," McCourt said at the afternoon news conference at Dodger Stadium. "I thanked him for his contributions."Of course, the ones who should be fired are the McCourts.
Lasorda, whose influence seems to have increased steadily with McCourt, said he would sit in on interviews with candidates for the openings.Which is a good thing, but his increasing influence is not. Lasorda, by the way, was responsible, wholly or partially, for two of the worst post-Walter-O'Malley incidents in Dodger history. First, the catastrophic trade of Pedro Martinez; and second, trading Paul Konerko for Jeff Shaw, forgetting that Shaw had the right to ask for a trade. He did not, but the lopsidedness of the deal clearly showed Lasorda's incompetance at the front office role; the very thought of him sending "advice" of any kind to McCourt simply staggers the imagination, and beggars the lexicon.
"He [McCourt] asks me questions and I give him answers," Lasorda said. "He doesn't listen to me all the time."
Arte, in case I haven't sent you a valentine, consider this it.
Update 2: LA Observed chimes in; the blogosphere sentiment is pretty uniformly negative.
Update 3: and David Pinto. Also, Peter Gammons, from behind the tollbooth, issues a prediction that pretty much agrees with Rich: Orel Hershiser will be the Dodgers' new GM, and Bobby Valentine the new manager.
But after meeting with Orel Hershiser and Tom Lasorda, McCourt, ever sensitive to the Los Angeles media, changed direction. Friday, DePodesta was ordered to meet with ownership at 10 p.m. PT, and was subsequently dismissed. Now, what could be better PR to sell the Dodger tradition than hiring Hershiser as GM and bringing Dodger blueblood -- and Lasorda favorite -- Bobby Valentine back as manager from his historic triumph in Japan.Update 4: Jerry Crasnick, behind the $$$ wall:
"Don't bet against it," said one person acquainted with the scene. "Tommy really wants Bobby back with the Dodgers."
What most frustrated DePodesta was that -- with arguably baseball's best farm system about to give the Dodgers a potential dynasty by 2007 -- he was not given the opportunity to implement what he saw as his viable plan.
"There is talent here to build a Dodger dynasty for a long period of time," said DePodesta.
"I told Paul he is better off being out of that situation," said another general manager. "It is crazy."
"The McCourts can't deal with the media pressure," said a person close to the Dodgers situation. "So every time they start getting hammered, they try and figure out who they can get rid of that's not helping them alleviate the pressure or is hurting them.One thing seems to be rapidly clearing up, and that is that never in the history of the organization, save when he was GM, has Tommy Lasorda had such influence upon the future of the Dodgers. What a sad turn of affairs.
"It's all ego-driven with the McCourts. That's the sad part. They think if they sell themselves, the Dodgers will rise up as an organization. But it's really the other way around."
Two years ago, before Frank and Jamie hired DePodesta, Lasorda pushed for Pat Gillick to get the job. And while DePodesta wanted Terry Collins or Giants coach Ron Wotus to succeed Tracy as manager, Lasorda lobbied passionately for Orel Hershiser or Bobby Valentine.
Lasorda's argument: The best way for the Dodgers to repair the damage is by evoking feel-good images from the past.
If only it were that easy. Dodger Blue once had great meaning to lots of people because of the organization's reputation for loyalty, integrity and class. The version making the rounds these days is nothing more than a pale imitation.
Take a look at the list of moves DePodesta has made and, aside from the amount of money given to Drew and Lowe, I challenge you to find one where he made a big mistake. In fact, I have rarely seen a list of moves I agree so much with. He hasn't made any dumb trades that have or will come back to haunt him, unlike past GMs.
The only way I remain happy is if McCourt has caught on to the trouble in Boston and is able to lure Theo Epstein away from an apparently bad situation in Boston.
Given that the Red Sox are supposedly close to a deal with Epstein, I think this does not happen, though I have a feeling McCourt may have been counting on it. Hey, I know: let Jamie McCourt be GM!
man, those might be the 3 scariest words in the english language.
seriously, i can't believe mccourt would be so naive and stupid. oh wait, yes i can.
Who should get a chance in my opinion.
"DePodesta's departure would bring an abrupt close to a turbulent chapter in Dodger history characterized by complex statistical analysis and Ivy League credentials."
What a f***ing embarrassment of a paragraph.
There is an abundance of proven GMs on the marketplace....Hunsicker, Gillick, Hart...possibly Towers and Epstein, to name a few....and despite the McCourts efforts to drive the franchise into the ground, this is still considered a premier GM job....so best to cut the cord now and start over.
Of course the McCourts deserve most of the blame for what's gone on there....but DePodesta was a mistake, and best to realize that NOW before he buried the franchise further with more JD Drew-like contracts this off-season.
Message to the McCourts' new PR flack. Tell your bosses that, yes, DePodesta had many critics and by keeping him on board, you had 50 percent of the fans mad at you. But, sorry, even DePodesta's critics will disapprove of this move. Because now the McCourts look like they never had a plan, not when they hired DePo, nor when they fired DePo. They look reactive and thin-skinned. Their future decisions will have less credibility, not more.
With three years' worth of McCourt money in his pocket, DePodesta might be the only winner in this.
P.S. I've heard the new construction at Dodger Stadium includes numerous men's bathrooms, spaced 10 feet apart. Jamie McCourt demanded this because of her husband's tendency to p*** his pants every five minutes.
SHAKE-UP IN L.A.?
The talk at the World Series was Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt's wife, Jamie, who is team president, has become disgruntled with general manager Paul DePodesta, leading to speculation DePodesta could be forced out. Among the rumors was the McCourts, who hail from Boston, would lure Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, with DePodesta returning to Oakland to work with Athletics general manager Billy Beane.
McCourt comes in and buys the team with borrowed money, slashes payroll on one of the premiere franchises in baseball, raises parking prices, fires, hires and fires a GM, pisses of most everyone in the front office, fires one of the best broadcasters around, then hires one who can't wait to leave, asks that the McCourts be the brand name, not the Dodgers and insists on interviewing the managers although he obviously knows nothing about baseball and looks like he fired the GM just so he could hire Bobby Valentine.
Arte Moreno comes in, slashes beer prices, raises payroll, let's his baseball people do the baseball stuff while he handles the marketing ans has made the playoffs 2 years in a row and attendance is almost equal to the Dodgers now.
Sorry Dodger fans, your going to be the second-class citizens of L.A. in no time.
The tremendous success we had last year and the huge disappointment this year just reinforced that it is a path, a plan, an overall approach to win consistently.
seems to be the idea that the Dodgers must win every year. If the owner wants to do this, and doesn't want to wait for the farm system to produce, then DePodesta either wasn't told or didn't agree with this plan. Otherwise he mortgages the farm system this year when Beltre doesn't sign, and gets enough hitters to compete.
My guess is that the new GM uses a significant number of trades to completely rebuild the team.
Were there any Yankees fans left in 1973?
but LA doesn't really have a sports history/tradition that other towns do. The weather is too good and there's way too much other stuff to do, not to mention the extreme amount of imports from other states. I'm just saying when joe schmoe comes to town after college, starts a family and starts looking for a baseball game to go to, which team do you think he'll choose? Less expensive, more exciting product or more expensive/boring product
The die-hards are the die-hards, their not going anywhere of course. But for the casual fans, and LA is a hotbed of casual fans, the Angels are going to be the hot ticket for quite awhile and as early as next year I can foresee them passing the Dodgers in attendance.
Valentine will be manager until he self immolates on the field.
Ng and White will see the dodgers are sinking into a morass of mediocrity and move on to teams that can appreciate their talents.
What has the idiot commissioner of baseball unleased upon us with the McStupids!!!!
LA's loss will be another city's gain. I suspect that DePodesta will do his own due diligence a little more carefully this time.
Yes, you read what I said: a second-class organization. In the years since their 1983 title, the Phillies have been in the postseason exactly one time! Once! The Dodgers, sucky as they may have been, have appeared in the postseason five times and won a title. Second-rate, waffling, fan-driven, &c. I stand by my opinion.
Oh and the Mets...Yeah, second class? When was the last time they were in the World Series? When was the last time the Dodgers were? Thought so...Shut up now and go sodomize Lasorda you nitwit.
Your childish outburst just emphasizes my image of the sort of fans both teams have en masse and their front offices play to: unconversant with how player development works, addicted to the quick fix, and eternally puerile. What was the Jim Thome signing at the time but the addition of an immobile, high-strikeout slugger with a marquee name but a high probability of injury? Likewise for the Mets and Mo Vaughn, not to mention Cliff Floyd, not to mention Carlos Beltran (and that's just this year, forget the fifth (!), sixth, and seventh years of his obscene contract) and Kris Benson, the latter a move all of baseball had to pay for, because it set the floor very high for a mediocrity.
Nobody's saying the Dodgers are anything like an example here, but the teams I named are definitely two of the most dysfunctional in baseball.
Given Theo Epstein's rather sudden and stunning resignation today (even as there stories being published saying that the BoSox and Epstein had agreed on an extension worth $1.2 annually), this rumor would appear to be gaining credibility; however, given that Epstein's philosophy is a lot closer to the Beane/DePo model than, say, Bill Stoneman's, the move wouldn't make much sense.