11:03am: The Browns have officially announced the hiring of DePodesta as the team’s chief strategy officer, via a press release.
“We are fortunate to bring in Paul, an extremely talented, highly respected sports executive who will add a critical dimension to our front office,” Haslam said in a statement. “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.”
For more on how DePodesta’s departure will affect the Mets, be sure to check out the MLB Trade Rumors story on the move.
10:50am: After parting ways with general manager Ray Farmer and personnel executives Bill Kuharich and Morocco Brown this week, the Browns are making an unorthodox addition to their front office. According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link), the team is hiring Paul DePodesta from the front office of the New York Mets, with the intention of making him an executive VP, answering only to Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and Alec Scheiner.
Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com (via Twitter) confirms that DePodesta will be joining the Browns, though Mortensen suggests the team’s newest executive will hold the title of chief strategy officer. Either way, it’s certainly an out-of-left-field choice for the Browns, with DePedosta joining Cleveland’s new executive VP of football operations Sashi Brown in a front office that thus far looks very light on experience in terms of NFL roster building and player evaluation.
Known best for the role he played in Michael Lewis’ Moneyball, as Billy Beane’s assistant general manager for the Oakland Athletics, DePedosta is considered an analytics-oriented executive, so his hiring suggests the Browns are going in a certain direction in their front office.
According to Ed Werder of ESPN.com (via Twitter), DePedosta, who previously worked as the GM for the Los Angeles Dodgers, will be above Brown within the club’s organizational structure. However, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that the two execs will work alongside one another, each reporting independently to Haslam.
While the Browns figure to eventually bring in executives with more NFL experience, it appears this isn’t the first time the team has explored hiring an MLB executive. According to Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com (Twitter links), Haslam offered a front office job to former Cleveland Indians president Mark Shapiro last August. Shaprio turned down the offer and eventually joined the Toronto Blue Jays as their team president.