Dodgers ownership reacted to this past season's disappointment by hiring Andrew Friedman as president of baseball operations. He takes over for Ned Colletti, who moves from general manager to be a senior advisor to team president and CEO Stan Kasten. Friedman comes from the outside and has a reputation for knowing the value of baseball analytics, and he was first hired as a GM at age 28, so he could face PR obstacles with LA's old fashioned baseball media, but he is credited in baseball with helping make the Tampa Bay Rays a small-market success. Friedman was the executive vice president of baseball operations in Tampa, where the Rays have been contenders in recent years despite a low payroll. They did have an advantage the Dodgers didn't -- making some very high draft picks because of previous losing seasons. But they also would regularly trade away top talent because they could not afford to keep stars such as pitchers David Price and James Shields.
Landing the 37-year-old Friedman is a coup for the Dodgers. A handful of teams have tried unsuccessfully to poach the talented young executive with a Wall Street background, who piloted the small-market, budget-conscious Rays to six consecutive winning seasons and four playoff appearances after taking over in 2008.
"Andrew Friedman is one of the youngest and brightest minds in the game today and we are very fortunate to have him join our organization," Kasten said in a statement. "The success he has had over the past nine years in molding the Tampa Bay Rays team has been incredible."
This season, however, the Rays finished fourth in the AL East (77-85) after trading away ace left-hander David Price to the Detroit Tigers in order in order to get a return on the former Cy Young Award winner before he could leave as a free agent after next season.
Ironically, sources say the Dodgers' failed pursuit of a trade for Price this summer only heightened their admiration of Friedman. Said one source: "They always asked for the right prospects. Not just the guys everybody knows, either."
Baseball Prospectus says "Andrew Friedman might be the most revered executive in the game--Billy Beane included--and the richest team in baseball just hired him."
LA Observed's Phil Wallace calls Friedman exactly what the Dodgers need.