In a shocking move, New York Mets vice president of player development and scouting Paul DePodesta left the team and baseball altogether to take a job with the Cleveland Browns. While far from the face of the franchise, DePodesta leaving for another job is a huge blow for the Mets. He played a crucial role behind the scenes in New York’s rebuilding project that ultimately took them to the 2015 World Series and leaves big shoes to fill.
DePodesta was primarily involved in the Mets’ farm system and acquiring amateur talent. He had a huge influence in building the farm system that became the backbone of the Mets’ National League pennant in 2015. Most of the players involved in New York’s run to the World Series in 2015 were acquired before he came aboard after the 2010 season; however, DePodesta did have a hand in drafting Michael Conforto, who provided a necessary boost to New York’s playoff chase last season.
Depodesta also drafted Michael Fulmer, the key figure in the trade that brought Yoenis Cespedes to the Mets, as well as Casey Meisner, who the Mets traded to acquire Tyler Clippard. He was also the catalyst in drafting many of the players the Mets expect to help them win in the years to come, such as Brandon Nimmo, Kevin Plawecki, Gavin Cecchini and Dominic Smith. His influence on the farm system will be sorely missed.
Moreover, the timing of DePodesta’s exit is not ideal. With general manager Sandy Alderson being diagnosed with cancer, how involved he is in the day-to-day activities of the team has been undisclosed and uncertain, and further upheaval in the front office is the last thing the Mets need right now. Furthermore, DePodesta was seen as a possible replacement for Alderson, who may have only stayed with the Mets for another couple of seasons before his cancer diagnosis. Obviously, DePodesta taking a job with the Browns makes it unlikely for him to ultimately succeed Alderson.
From a sports perspective, DePodesta leaving baseball altogether to take a job with the Browns will be fascinating to watch unfold. However, his exit will undoubtedly hurt the Mets in both the short term and long term. In addition to being a possible candidate to succeed Alderson as GM, DePodesta’s had such a huge role in building a strong farm system, and replacing his influence on the organization won’t be easy for the Mets.