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LA fires GM DePodesta

Owner McCourt cites team record

Paul DePodesta was fired as general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers yesterday.

Team owner Frank McCourt cited the team's lack of success as the reason DePodesta was let go.

''Our high expectations were not met," McCourt said.

McCourt hired DePodesta after buying the team in January 2004 from News Corp. The Dodgers won the National League West title in his first season, but DePodesta riled fans by trading popular catcher Paul Lo Duca and two other players at midseason.

''I met with Paul DePodesta this morning and let him know that the Los Angeles Dodgers were moving on," McCourt said at an afternoon news conference at Dodger Stadium. ''I thanked him for his contributions."

The Dodgers went 71-91 this season, the team's worst record since 1992 and second poorest since moving to Los Angeles in 1958, after DePodesta made many offseason changes.

The team has been without a manager since Oct. 3, when the Dodgers and Jim Tracy agreed to cut ties. Tracy was hired eight days later to manage the Pittsburgh Pirates.

As late as last week, DePodesta was interviewing candidates for the manager's job, including former Dodgers star pitcher Orel Hershisher.

McCourt said the Dodgers' search for a new manager will be put on hold while the team searches for a new GM.

The leading candidates for the manager's job are believed to be former Houston Astros and Anaheim Angels manager Terry Collins, currently the Dodgers' director of player development; Hershiser, pitching coach for the Texas Rangers; and Alan Trammell, fired as manager of the Detroit Tigers earlier this month.

''The Dodgers are at a crossroads here," McCourt said. ''I'm very mindful of this historic franchise's tradition of greatness."

He said he will consider leadership an important characteristic for a new GM.

Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda, now a special adviser to McCourt, said he was not interested in being either the GM or returning as manager.

Staying power

Local investors in Indianapolis-based businessman Jeff Smulyan's bid to buy the Washington Nationals would be able to veto any plans to move the club to another city.

Smulyan, the former owner of the Seattle Mariners, announced that element of his bid Friday, part of an effort to quell any concern among city politicians about having someone who isn't from Washington purchase the Nationals.

Eight groups have been trying to buy the Nationals from Major League Baseball, which purchased the Montreal Expos in 2002 for $120 million and moved them to the nation's capital before the just-concluded season.

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