A's executive Zaidi named Dodgers' general manager
Byrnes joins front office as senior vice president of baseball operations
By Ken Gurnick
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers confirmed two additions to their revamped front office on Thursday, hiring Farhan Zaidi as general manager, and Josh Byrnes as senior vice president of baseball operations.
"It is very exciting for us to be able to add two exceptional, veteran baseball executives like Farhan and Josh," new president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said in a team release.
"Farhan's primary focus will be the Major League team and player acquisitions, while Josh will concentrate on the oversight of scouting and player development. However, they will both work closely with me on all aspects of baseball operations in our efforts to make the Dodgers' front office and team the best it can possibly be."
The Dodgers also are rumored to be considering Billy Gasparino and Gabe Kapler for senior positions, but they were not included in Thursday's announcement.
Friedman's hiring by CEO Stan Kasten was announced on Oct. 14. In the three weeks that followed, Friedman has added two cabinet members who blend youth and experience, while demonstrating a cutting-edge analytical intellect and a respectful appreciation for old-school baseball.
But unlike the Dodgers' previous foray into analytics with the hiring of Paul DePodesta before the 2004 season, this collection of new-breed execs includes Friedman, a GM for nine seasons, and Byrnes, twice a GM covering nearly a decade.
Zaidi comes from the same Oakland training ground as DePodesta. Gasparino has already been a scouting director, and Kapler, most recently a FOX TV analyst, played 11 seasons as a Major League outfielder.
While fans remain understandably fixated on a 26-year World Series drought, the new regime will be equally focused on delivering Kasten's promise to revitalize a player-development pipeline that fell into disrepair under previous ownerships and still struggles to promote difference makers to the Major Leagues.
In the big league dugout, Friedman has said manager Don Mattingly will return for 2015, but Mattingly's coaching staff remains in limbo.
The announced hirings comprise the most dramatic changes in the 2 1/2-year ownership of the Guggenheim Baseball Management, which inherited general manager Ned Colletti and his team when it purchased the Dodgers from Frank McCourt, and then left the front office generally intact.
But after being bounced from the playoffs by the Cardinals for the second consecutive season, the Dodgers quickly lured Friedman from Tampa Bay with a five-year, $35 million contract and gave him a clean slate with which to work. Colletti was reassigned as senior advisor to Kasten. Vice president of player development De Jon Watson left to join the D-backs, and VP of scouting Logan White jumped to San Diego.
Byrnes, 44, began his baseball career with Cleveland, where he was scouting director, then followed Dan O'Dowd to the Rockies as assistant general manager and held the same role for Theo Epstein when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004. Byrnes then served as general manager of the D-backs and Padres, dismissed by San Diego this past summer.
Zaidi has been with the A's for 10 years, the most recent season as assistant general manager/director of baseball operations, after five seasons as director of baseball operations.
Zaidi, 37, earned his bachelor of science degree in economics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1998 and a Ph.D in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2011. Although he came through the Oakland "Moneyball" system, Zaidi has a reputation for blending old-school scouting methods with advanced analytics to distill the best of both worlds.
Prior to joining the A's, Zaidi served as business development associate for Small World Media, the fantasy sports division of The Sporting News, and also worked as a management consultant for the Boston Consulting Group.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.