09/19/2002 10:58 pm ET
Chat transcript: Paul DePodesta
Paul DePodesta, 29, is the assistant general manager of the Oakland A's. He's been in that position since November, 1998. Prior to joining the A's, DePodesta spent three years in the Cleveland Indians organization. He graduated cum laude from Harvard University in 1995.
DePodesta sat down for an online chat with MLB.com during Thursday's Oakland-Anaheim game.
Paul DePodesta: Let's hope this chat is good karma for the A's!
ready for your questions, so keep them coming.
eastbay1: Where do you sit during the game? Do you run on a
treadmill like Billy?
DePodesta: This is an appropriate one considering we're
the fifth inning. I normally watch the game from our video room in our
clubhouse. That way I can watch multiple games at once as well as
minor league games online. It's probably better that Billy and I aren't
always in the same place during the games.
Booniefan89: Hi! I was wondering how you guys took it in the
clubhouse after the Twins broke your streak?
DePodesta: The guys remained very positive. In some respects it
helped to rid ourselves of some of the attention that we were
Sometimes it's easier to play when you're not the focus of SportsCenter
eastbay1: Paul, I love the A's and what you and Mr. Beane have
How did you get to be in the front office? How can I become a GM?
DePodesta: Thanks for the compliment! My career started by
both football and baseball in college. After graduating, I took a job
the days in the Canadian Football League and at nights in the American
Hockey League. From there I got my big break, which was an internship
Player Development for the Cleveland Indians.
eastbay1: Do you think it`s better for the A's to play the
the first round in the ALCS? I think they should get them out of the
DePodesta: We have to get there first! Seriously, our main focus
qualifying for the playoffs. Once you're in every team is outstanding,
doesn't help to pick your poison.
Booniefan89: What position is your favorite?
DePodesta: If you're a fan of these Oakland A's with Zito,
Hudson, the answer has to be starting pitcher. The starting pitcher has
most impact of any individual during that one game.
oaktownno1: Hi Paul. Do the A's care if they win the AL
DePodesta: Absolutely. Home field advantage during the baseball
playoffs the past few years hasn't meant a whole lot, but from a pride
standpoint, I think everyone in our clubhouse or in Anaheim's would say
they want to be the Division Champs.
oaktownno1: How much influence does Art Howe have in putting the
DePodesta: For the most part, Art leaves the personnel decisions
Billy and me, but we always consult with our coaching staff when we're
contemplating a move. Once we acquire the players for the Major League
however, Art has complete control.
oaktownno1: Obviously, you're biased, but do you think Miguel
and will, win the MVP?
DePodesta: I think if you asked Miguel (or any of our players
the past couple of years have been considered for major awards) they
tell you that they would trade every individual award for a World
Championship. If we can accomplish our team goals, then individual
will follow. I'd rather Miguel be the World Series MVP.
Booniefan89: Who was your favorite childhood player and
DePodesta: I was born in Philadelphia, so I was a Phillies fan.
had some great teams with Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, and Pete Rose.
favorite, though, was definitely Mike Schmidt - he did it all.
eastbay1: How much do you and Billy get involved with scouting
DePodesta: Billy and I have become more involved in the past
of years. This year we had seven picks in the first 39, so we were very
involved. However, our two new scouting directors, Eric Kubota and
Pittaro, did an unbelievable job with this draft. The two of them run
department extremely well, so Billy and I are involved principally
we enjoy it.
oaktownno1: Do Art and Billy get along?
DePodesta: I think a lot of those rumors are misleading. We all
along here, because we're all working with the same goal in mind.
we're all also very competitive and demand a lot from each other. On a
personal level, though, we all get along very well.
iwant2marrybarryzito: You are so young and have such a wonderful
with the best team in the majors. What type of education or special
do you need for a job like yours?
DePodesta: I had to take this one just so that the username
appear in this chat! I have been incredibly fortunate in my career to
from great people. When I started in Cleveland, John Hart, Dan O'Dowd,
Shapiro, and Josh Byrnes were all in the office teaching me. Of those
three are currently GM's and Josh is the assistant GM in Colorado.
Similarly, when I arrived here I had the opportunity to work for Billy
had been influenced greatly by Sandy Alderson. I honestly couldn't have
scripted it any better.
eastbay1: What do you do during the offseason? Do you guys get
take a break?
DePodesta: At the conclusion of my first season in Cleveland, I
exhausted. I went to work the day after we had been eliminated by the
Orioles in the playoffs expecting a relaxed atmosphere. Instead, John
told me, "Today starts our season." The offseason is definitely our
time of the year.
Rollie72: Should the A's go with a three-man rotation in the
DePodesta: I'm going to say this each time so as not to jinx
- we have to get there first. Fortunately, we're in a position of
three starting pitchers who have won 20 games and finished in the top
three in Cy Young voting in each of the past three years. On the other
we have a pitcher in Cory Lidle, who was the most dominant pitcher on
planet during the month of August. I hope we have the opportunity to
eastbay1: Do you think the A's will get a new stadium?
DePodesta: That's a difficult one to answer, but I can say that
would love one. It would be great to see this young successful team
together in a beautiful new baseball-only stadium.
Rollie72: What's the best way to get into baseball
DePodesta: Unfortunately, you have to get really lucky to be in
right place at the right time. First of all, there are very few jobs
available. Secondly, once people get them, they don't leave very often,
turnover is low. Lastly, there are tons of people that want these jobs.
tried to prepare myself for any possible opening by getting as much
experience in sports as possible.
piattpeeps: Who are some of the top prospects in the minors?
DePodesta: Fortunately, we feel that we have a lot of them. We
four starting pitchers in Double-A, Rich Harden, Jason Arnold, John
Rheinecker, and Michael Wood, who were all in their first full season
ball, which is remarkable. Also, from this year's draft, nine players
up in High-A, which is highly unusual.
piattpeeps: Do you expect any of the pitchers to come up by next
or do they still need time to develop?
DePodesta: We're lucky to have Mulder, Hudson, Zito, Lidle,
Harang right now, so we don't need to rush anybody. Ideally, all of
guys will continue to develop, and they will push their way onto the
Also, by giving them more development time, they will be better
enjoy success right away at the Major League level.
james.green: Hi Paul, How is a new stadium looking?
DePodesta: It's difficult to say. The city, stadium authority,
the club all have to work together to make it happen. Fortunately,
enjoyed so much on field success that our attendance has topped 2
for the second straight year. Our fans will only help the cause!
DePodesta: Thanks for chatting everybody! Since it's a tie game
the bottom of the sixth, that treadmill is sounding like a better idea!
Terrence Long just saved me with a two-run homer! Thanks for the karma