General manager Andrew Friedman will leave his longstanding position as GM of the Rays to join the Dodgers, reported Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (in a tweet, pictured below).
Friedman has been hired as the President of Baseball Operations, while Ned Colletti will stay as Senior Advisor to Stan Kasten, while Matt Silverman, who was team president, will now serve as president of baseball operations; and Brian Auld, who was senior vice president of Business Operations, has been named team president.
The move will undoubtedly be a significant blow to the Rays, who are losing one of the most respected baseball executives in the entire game. “Friedman is considered by many to be a wizard of sorts, turning the low-budget Rays into a perennial contender despite low revenue stemming from attendance issues and a dilapidated stadium,” writes MLB Trade Rumors‘ Steve Adams.
Adams continued, “The Rays have only twice had a payroll over $70MM in Friedman’s tenure, so even amid reports that the Dodgers will scale back spending, to an extent, Friedman should have significantly more than double 2014′s Rays franchise-record $76MM payroll.”
In a prepared statement, Friedman noted of his time with the Rays,
As I embark upon my next journey, I have only thanks and gratitude to the Rays organization and the Tampa Bay region for a wonderful 10 years together. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to have been part of something so special and for the passion and support of this exceptional fan base. The Rays organization is loaded with talent from ownership to players and everyone between. We were able to create together an unbelievable culture that no doubt will continue, and I am absolutely confident that the successes we achieved will continue into the future.
Andrew Friedman took over as the Rays GM in November of 2006, spearheading the ascension from worst to first in the American League in just two seasons. Friedman is credited with turning the scuffling Rays into the competitive, exciting baseball team it continues to be today.
Danny Russell of DRaysBay also made mention of an interesting fact of the move, noting,
Adding to the shock of the move is Friedman’s financial interests, as it was my understanding the EVP of Baseball Operations (read: General Manager) held ownership in the franchise. If any team could compensate the loss of such an asset, surely it would be the billionaire Dodgers.
What effect this may have on contract negotiations with Rays manager Joe Maddon, who is in the midst of contract negotiations, fails to be seen. Friedman enjoyed the close working relationship with manager Joe Maddon, which is also not always the norm.
Below are a handful of updates following the 5:30 press conference. All of the bulleted items come courtesy of Marc Topkin. We’re working hard to find audio of the press conference.
- Sternberg said he has always considered Silverman the top choice to take over if Friedman ever left, that he is “absolutely the right person.”
- Silverman said they will maintain the same basic philosophy, but there will be some new ideas they will incorporate as well.
- Sternberg said Friedman won’t be taking anyone from baseball ops with him.
- Silverman said it was “a very difficult day” for him in seeing Friedman leave, but he was confident they would return to their winning ways.
- Silverman said he has no plans to hire a GM or a senior adviser, and also that he doesn’t expect to be in the job for 10 years, as Friedman nearly was. Expect expanded roles for assistants Chaim Bloom and Erik Neader.
- Sternberg said Auld will get involved in stadium talks “when and if they progress.”
While there has been considerable speculation about the future of Rays manager Joe Maddon, who is under team control through the 2015 season. Per Marc Topkin, Maddon told the Tampa Bay Times he isn’t looking to go anywhere and is “positive” there will be talks on an extension.
I’m a Ray, I’ve said it all along, I want to continue to be one,” Maddon said. “I still believe … it’s the best place in all of baseball to work but I also stand by fact that ballpark needs to be improved.”
Maddon mentioned that there is “no rush” to get an extension done, and he wants to give the revised front office time to get comfortable.
President and CEO of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Stan Kasten told Los Angeles media that he expects Don Mattingly to remain their manager for the upcoming season.