Dodgers go 'Moneyball' in bid to end Series drought
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Having once again failed to reach the World Series with the biggest payroll in Major League Baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers have gone 'Moneyball' with a progressive, high-tech transformation of their front office.
'The Boys in Blue' won the most recent of their six MLB championship titles 26 years ago, prompting club president Stan Kasten to make sweeping changes to the team's baseball operations department.
With an emphasis on data-driven, sabermetric principles to re-energize the Dodgers' scouting and player development, Kasten has hired Andrew Friedman as president of baseball operations and Farhan Zaidi as general manager.
The two men spearhead a group of young 'Moneyball'-style executives that also includes senior vice president Josh Byrnes, formerly general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres, and scouting director Billy Gasparino.
Sabermetrics, an empirical analysis of baseball through statistics that measure in-game activity, was pioneered in the 1980s by Bill James, who was hired by the Boston Red Sox in 2004 before they ended an 86-year World Series championship drought.
Those principles were famously applied by Billy Beane with the successful but low-budget Oakland Athletics, and chronicled in Michael Lewis' best-selling 'Moneyball' book before later being portrayed in an Oscar-nominated film starring Brad Pitt.
"My background is scouting, but I wanted more analytics when we came in," said Kasten, who is part of the ownership group that bought the Dodgers for an eye-popping $2.15 billion in 2012.
"Now we are on the way to proficiency in analytics, so I'm reminding everyone of the importance of the wise-old owls, more scouts, more scouts. We require all of the input to be the best we can be," Kasten told the Dodgers' website. Continued...