NEW YORK -- Paul DePodesta, a key member of Mets general manager Sandy Alderson's cabinet for the past half-decade, is leaving both the organization and the industry. DePodesta has accepted a job to become the Chief Strategy Officer for the NFL's Cleveland Browns, the teams announced Tuesday.
DePodesta has been with the Mets since shortly after Alderson took over as GM in late 2010, serving as his vice president of amateur scouting and player development. In that role, DePodesta led the Mets' Draft process every year, in addition to serving as a key voice in big league personnel decisions.
With the Browns, DePodesta will take on a more overarching role, "assessing and implementing best practices and strategies that will provide the organization with the comprehensive resources needed to make optimal decisions," according to a team release.
"My focus is to bring whatever experience and perspective I can to collaborate with the team, with the intent of helping us make more informed and successful decisions," DePodesta said in a Browns statement. "Admittedly, there will be an awful lot for me to learn, but I want nothing more than to help bring consistent, championship-caliber football back to Cleveland and Browns fans, and I look forward to starting right away."
With DePodesta gone, the top three executives in New York's front office are Alderson, who is currently undergoing cancer treatment; assistant GM John Ricco, who has been the front office's day-to-day leader in Alderson's stead; and special assistant to the GM J.P. Ricciardi.
"Paul completely reorganized the Mets' scouting and player-development functions and had an extraordinary impact in both areas, but he was also very directly involved in our trade and free-agent acquisitions," Alderson said in a statement. "His commitment to excellence and his passion for innovation will be missed by the Mets and all of baseball. I wish him well with the Browns."
One of the stars of Michael Lewis' bestselling book, "Moneyball," about the early-2000s Athletics, DePodesta actually began his professional career in an entry-level job with the Canadian Football League's Baltimore Stallions. From there, he moved on to baseball jobs with the Indians and A's, followed by a two-year stint as GM of the Dodgers. Dismissed from that job after a 71-win season in 2005, DePodesta joined Alderson's staff with the Padres in '06, then followed his boss to New York in '10.
Aside from this year's World Series appearance, DePodesta's legacy with the Mets will revolve mostly around his Draft classes, beginning with the bold choice to select outfielder Brandon Nimmo 13th overall in 2011. Other notable first-round picks under DePodesta's watch include shortstop Gavin Cecchini in '12, first baseman Dominic Smith in '13 and outfielder Michael Conforto in '14.
Early indications point to the Mets filling DePodesta's role from within, making director of amateur scouting Tommy Tanous one logical candidate to fill his shoes. Though known mostly for his analytical work prior to coming to Flushing, DePodesta had developed a reputation in recent years as an underrated traditional scout with a keen eye for talent.
"Working with Sandy, Paul put into process a new approach toward player development throughout our organization," Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said in a statement. "Ownership and all of us at the Mets thank Paul for his tireless efforts. We look forward to seeing Paul's continued success with the Browns."