The Los Angeles Dodgers announced on Tuesday that they have hired Paul DePodesta ’95 as their new general manager.
The move makes the 31 year-old DePodesta—who lettered in varsity football for three years and played one year of JV baseball while at Harvard—the third youngest general manager hired in big league history. Fellow Ivy Leaguer and Brookline native Theo Epstein was 28 when he was hired by the Boston Red Sox before the beginning of last season and Randy Smith was 29 in 1993 when he was signed by the San Diego Padres.
DePodesta has spent the past five years as the assistant to the Oakland Athletics’ GM Billy Bean, and was expected to take over for Bean in November 2002 when it seemed that Bean was going to become the new GM position for the Red Sox, but Bean changed his mind and stayed in Oakland.
The hiring of DePodesta was the first appointment made by Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, who recently bought the team from News Corp. for $430 million.
DePodesta replaces Dan Evans who had a year remaining on his three year contract.
Considered one of the great minds in baseball and an unconventional man who relies heavily on statistics, DePodesta and the rest of the Athletics organization were well known for assembling successful teams with limited financial resources, making the playoffs for the past straight four years despite a limited payroll. He will enter a drastically different situation, as McCourt has announced that he is willing to spend $100 million a year on payroll, compared to the $56 million Oakland spent last year.
The Dodgers have not gone to the playoffs since 1998 and have not won a playoff game since 1988.
Catchers and pitchers reported to spring training yesterday.