DePodesta, 43, had served as the vice president of player development and scouting for the New York Mets since 2010, and helped the franchise reach the World Series this past season.
DePodesta previously had front office roles with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres. He gained further exposure as a key figure of Moneyball, a book-turned-movie that chronicled the Oakland Athletics and their method of using sabermetrics to target players.
“We are fortunate to bring in Paul, an extremely talented, highly respected sports executive who will add a critical dimension to our front office,” Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said in a release.
The Browns recently fired coach Mike Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer after finishing 3-13 this season and have yet to fill those vacancies.
They appointed Sashi Brown as their executive vice president of football operations and now have brought on DePodesta to reverse their fortunes.
Meanwhile, the St Louis Rams’ relocation application says the NFL would benefit from the team’s move to suburban Los Angeles, leaving behind a lagging St Louis market and a stadium proposal doomed to fail.
Rams owner Stan Kroenke — who also owns Premier League giants Arsenal — has proposed building a $1.8bn (€1.67bn) stadium in Inglewood, California, with plans to put the Rams back in the market they left to move to St Louis in 1995.
The San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders also want to move to the Los Angeles area, with alternative plans to share a stadium in Carson, California. The owners will meet next week in Houston to decide who gets to move. The Raiders also previously played in Los Angeles between 1982 and 1994.
The task force that has proposed a new stadium in St Louis calls the team’s assessment of its St Louis experience “inaccurate and extremely disappointing”.