What a strange, brief run Paul DePodesta had as general manager of the Dodgers. Hired in February 2004 to bring a touch of "Moneyball" to Los Angeles after serving under GM Billy Beane in Oakland for five years, DePodesta lasted a mere 20 months at his post, winning the National League West his first season but following it up with the team's worst performance since 1992, declining by 22 wins and finishing fourth in 2005.
Let's not give DePodesta all the credit for that division title, though. He effectively inherited a team that finished second in 2003, and was actually more responsible for dismantling the core after it made it into October. Of the 25 men on the Dodgers' Opening Day 2004 roster, only five remain with the team: closer Eric Gagne, shortstop Cesar Izturis, left-handed starter Odalis Perez, utilityman Olmedo Saenz and outfielder Jayson Werth. DePodesta's plan was a long-term one, but Dodger management simply didn't have patience with his curious moves; the GM sealed his fate by trading fan favorite Paul Lo Duca in July 2004, failing to re-sign Adrian Beltre following the 2004 season and signing J.D. Drew, an annual injury risk who appeared in just 72 games last year.