May 12, 2003
BASEBALL: DePodesta For GM
The New York Sun calls on the Mets to pay any price to bring in Oakland Assistant GM Paul DePodesta to run the team. Key quote:
Rotted in the roots, the team has developed three good players in the last 15 years. Of them, only Edgardo Alfonzo contributed anything to the 1999Ė2000 postseason teams.
For years, the Mets simply didnít acquire young hitters with plate discipline and the ability to hit the ball hard, and they didnít teach the ones they had how to do these things. There has been no coherent philosophy in their minor-league instruction or in their drafting beyond an infatuation with raw athletic skill. Predictably, the farm system is stocked with fast outfielders who canít hit and big clods with 90-mph fastballs who donít know how to pitch. A few great prospects have come into the system over the last few years under assistant GM Jim Duquette (who is the front-runner to replace Steve Phillips), but the decadelong neglect of player development is what has killed the team. Not one of the five homegrown players currently on the teamís roster has a chance to be anything more than a complementary player.
Itís no coincidence that the dominant teams in the game right now have homegrown cores. Young players are cheaper, healthier, and far more likely to improve than older ones. This is obvious, and Steve Phillips knows all of it . . . Phillips has failed not because he brought in old, bad players, but because he put himself in a position where he had to.
Right on the money. The A's brain trust understands the foundation of the game, and whether Phillips does or not, he hasn't acted on it. New management is needed, and DePodesta's reputation suggests that he'd be the best guy for the job (especially considering he's more likely to take it than Billy Beane is).
Is DePodesta worth giving up a top prospect like Jose Reyes or Aaron Heilman? I think I'd say yes. A good GM is worth more than any player (I wouldn't say the same about managers). It's a steep price to pay, but worth it.
I don't know anything about DePodesta personally but I agree that the A's are a good model to follow. I would not give up Reyes or Heilman to pick up an executive since both of them legitimately seem to be very promising players.
If the Mets really wanted to get DePodesta, I would suggest they bribe the A's with good, old-fashioned cash. Maybe they could give them the portion of Mo Vaughn's salary which, hopefully, will be picked up by insurance...
A recent SI reported that GMs all over the game are watching closely to see if Phillips will trade Heilman at a discount in order to save his job. Which goes to your previous point: Once the GM's job is in trouble, its probably time to go immediately. Although I have faith that Wilpon would never agree to any such rash action at this point....