The offseason continues to get wackier for the Cleveland Browns.
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Browns have hired Paul DePodesta, the former vice president of player development and scouting for the New York Mets.
I have learned Paul DePodesta leaving #Mets to run the NFL Cleveland Browns as executive VP, answerable only to team owner/pres.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 5, 2016
Browns making a unique hire and announcement: Paul DePodesta is leaving the baseball world to join Browns as Chief Strategy Officer.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) January 5, 2016
That was certainly unexpected.
DePodesta has never worked in football, receiving his start in the baseball world as an intern in player development with the Cleveland Indians. He later received promotions to advance scout and then special assistant to the GM.
DePodesta spent two seasons with the Tribe before Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane hired DePodesta as an assistant general manager.
Beane and DePodesta became known figures due to' "Moneyball." The book became a popular book in the baseball world, making Beane and DePodesta famous figures.
DePodesta used the fame to become general manager of the Dodgers from 2004-05. After DePodesta was fired, likely for his inability to find a good manager, he went to the Padres as a Special Assistant for Baseball Operations. DePodesta was promoted to Executive Vice President in 2008.
In 2010, DePodesta was hired by the Mets as the vice president of player development and scouting. As Sherman mentioned, DePodesta was one of general manager Sandy Alderson's right-hand men.
According to the team's front office page, DePodesta becomes the team's fifth executive vice president.
Reaction to the move has been mixed, but seemingly positive.
I understand the skepticism, but I'm not going to criticize the #Browns for doing things differently. A lot of smart minds in that building.— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) January 5, 2016
DePodesta's role and responsibilities with the team remains to be seen. This will allow more detailed analysis of the move.
At the moment, however, it appears that owner Jimmy Haslam is trying to surround himself with as many smart people as possible. That's certainly not a bad thing.
UPDATE (12:50 PM): The Browns have released a statement about the hire of DePodesta. The 41-year-old will basically serve as an executive vice president, but his title will be "Chief Strategy Officer."
The statement included several interesting quotes.
"Cleveland and football have always held a special place in my heart. It was 20 years ago this month, after pursing my first love of football and looking at every possible job in the NFL, that I got the biggest break I could imagine – a job offer from the American League Champion Cleveland Indians. As excited as I was then, I am even more excited now to return to Cleveland and to try to help the Browns.
"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. 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."
Owner Jimmy Haslam:
"We are fortunate to bring in Paul, an extremely talented, highly respected sports executive who will add a critical dimension to our front office. His approach and ambition to find the best pathways for organizational success transcend one specific sport and his experience as a high level sports executive make him a terrific addition to the Cleveland Browns.
While we are excited about what Paul will provide our organization, we remain fully focused on the critical task of identifying the right head coach and a top talent evaluator who will provide the football expertise needed to be successful."
Executive VP of Football Operations Sashi Brown:
"Paul has invaluable experience in management and leadership with a number of highly successful sports teams. His ability to create better processes and systems throughout organizations, his use of data as a tool to produce better outcomes, and his relentless focus on looking for innovative ways to create more success will be a strong asset as we look to be as comprehensive as possible in our decision making.
Additionally, Paul will help members of our player development, high performance and analytics departments maximize their efforts. There are many areas that we have not fully capitalized on that will enhance the growth and performance of our players over time."