OAKLAND — The Los Angeles Dodgers agreed to hire Oakland Athletics assistant GM Farhan Zaidi as the club's new general manager, a person with knowledge of the negotiations said.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity Tuesday night because the Dodgers hadn't announced a deal with Zaidi, who just completed his 10th season in Oakland's front office as one of general manager Billy Beane's creative assistants and analysts. Zaidi will now work under new Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, who joined the team last month from the Tampa Bay Rays.
Los Angeles won the NL West for the second straight season before losing the NL Division Series in four games to St. Louis.
Friedman, a former Wall Street analyst who turned the Rays into contenders in the AL East was introduced by the Dodgers on Oct. 17, and Zaidi are both respected businessmen and number crunchers who look to build a roster with creative methods given the financial challenges both have faced with their small-budget teams.
The Dodgers had a major league-high $256 million payroll this year, and now the team desperately wants to take the next step and compete for a World Series. Especially after seeing the rival San Francisco Giants win three of the last five championships.
Once Friedman left the Rays to replace Ned Colletti, manager Joe Maddon followed and was formally named manager by the Chicago Cubs on Monday. Colletti is now a senior adviser to team president and CEO Stan Kasten.
In early February, the A's promoted Zaidi to assistant GM and director of baseball operations. He earned his bachelor's degree in economics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1998 and a PhD in economics from the University of California at Berkeley in 2011.
Zaidi has handled a big load on Beane's staff, including playing a key role in the acquisition of Cuban slugger and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes before the 2012 season. Cespedes, the two-time reigning Home Run Derby champion, was traded to Boston for left-hander Jon Lester at the July 31 trade deadline. The A's, who won the AL West in 2012 and '13, lost in the one-game wild-card playoff to World Series runner-up Kansas City.
With the A's, Zaidi's areas of expertise included providing statistical analysis for evaluating and targeting players in the amateur draft, free agent and trade markets. He also worked on arbitration cases, minor league contracts and worked closely with coaches to analyze data from advance scouting reports.
Zaidi previously served as business development associate for Small World Media, the fantasy sports division of The Sporting News, and also worked as a management consultant for the Boston Consulting Group.