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DePodesta, White Share the Burden

Dodger executives have differing philosophies, but they seem to be a good match as the draft nears.

June 06, 2004|Jason Reid | Times Staff Writer

Although baseball insiders have expected a showdown involving Logan White and Paul DePodesta, the Dodgers said things couldn't be better at Chavez Ravine.

The divergent styles of White, the old-school amateur scouting director, and DePodesta, the new-wave general manager, have not produced friction, as many expected, over the club's philosophy toward the two-day amateur draft beginning Monday.

"I think that everybody in the industry thought there would be problems," White said. "Paul's one way, I'm the other way, and when you have two opposites it just doesn't seem to work.

"But the funny thing is it hasn't been like that at all. Paul and I have worked really well together from the start. What's that they say about opposites attracting in a marriage? Sometimes that leads to the best marriages, and it's been that way so far."

White has built a strong reputation as architect of the club's last two drafts, focusing on high school players based on traditional scouting. And then there's DePodesta, whose meteoric rise was at least in part fueled by the book "Moneyball," which chronicles his role in the Oakland Athletics' approach of stressing statistics over scouting in evaluating professional and amateur players, and of favoring college players over high school players in the draft.

"We both believe the talent pool dictates your direction, so our styles are much more similar than some people might think," DePodesta said. "The draft is not a black-and-white proposition.... There are a lot of factors. I believe there are no absolutes."

Under White's guidance, the Dodgers' 2002 and 2003 drafts were rated fourth and first, respectively, by one publication. In addition to having the 17th overall pick in the first round, the Dodgers received the 28th and 33rd picks as compensation when the New York Yankees signed free-agent setup man Paul Quantrill.

DePodesta has had a hands-on role in directing plans for this draft. Success is key for the Dodgers, who baseball officials said won't pursue as many top-tier free agents under new owner Frank McCourt as they did under News Corp., but DePodesta said this is still White's show.

"Most of the time I've just listened, which has been my modus operandi in dealing with everything so far," DePodesta said. "If you have to remind people you're the boss, I don't think you're going to be a very effective leader."

Of course, with the importance of acquiring the rights of about 50 players, "the general manager has to be involved," DePodesta said. That's fine with White, who revels in the pressure of identifying talent and continuing his hot streak.

"Ten years from now when we look back, there's nothing that we can do about it if there wasn't an All-Star player that came out of this draft," White said. "You can be the greatest scout in the world, but you can't get them if they weren't there."

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