Much has been made of the new brain trust forming in the Los Angeles Dodgers front office.
Andrew Friedman, Farhan Zaidi, Josh Byrnes, Billy Gasparino and Gabe Kapler are all new to the team and are expected to propel the Dodgers to their first World Series since 1988. Friedman is running the entire show and Zaidi has been tabbed the general manager, replacing Ned Colleti, who was moved to special advisor. No major moves have been made yet, but this group is expected to combine analytics with deep pockets to create a winner.
According Mark Saxon of ESPN LA, Friedman had some praise for the former player, Kapler:
Gabe has a tremendous mind, a thirst for knowledge and he’s a great leader of people,” Friedman said. “His passionate enthusiasm is something that I think is going to resonate throughout our entire minor-league operations.”
Kapler was hired as director of player development and will be in charge of the farm system and its’ prospects. The 39-year-old played 12 seasons in the big leagues before becoming an analyst for Fox Sports 1 this past season. He was often seen bringing sabermetrics to the forefront on television.
He discussed what drew him to leave television for an entirely different job:
I’ve always looked for opportunities to be inspired when I come to work,” Kapler said. “I certainly have that at Fox. Now, it seems I’m going to have that with a pretty special group of men and women with the Dodgers.”
An issue some have had with sabermetrics, especially in the front office, is the lack of former players in the front office. Some still believe that knowing the struggle of being a ballplayer makes you better suited, including former Dodger Ryan Theriot.
Kapler begs to differ with that opinion and broke down his thoughts:
I actually think we bring a lot of similar pluses,” Kapler said. “We’re all devoted to developing better men in addition to better baseball players. I think we all have the philosophy of standing shoulder to shoulder with a similar mission while pushing each other and trying to extract the best possible answer to the tough question.
“I certainly don’t think being a baseball player gave me a leg up as regards my ability to always ask the question, ‘Why?’”
Only time will tell of how the new front office will do, but things are changing in Los Angeles.