To call Andrew Friedman a recluse would be a tad strong. To call him an open book would be outright laughable. The combination of the two forces most to try to read between the lines when he speaks.
So, when he (finally) gives a quote about what he’s looking for in a manager, whoever is reading the situation has to do so with a fine-toothed comb.
Speaking to a group of reporters Monday afternoon, Friedman gave about as much as you’d ever see him give regarding what he’s looking for in his preferred manager.
This quote was transcribed by DodgersInsider’s Jon Wiesman.
“We’ll be looking for a manager who can adapt different personnel, and someone who can appreciate the strengths of the guys on our roster at any given time and put them in the best position to succeed.”
So basically, the Dodgers are looking for a good manager. Cool.
One narrative that has gotten away from us as this search has progressed is how whichever manager the front office hires has to be a puppet for Friedman, Farhan Zaidi and Co. In fact, I’ve actually turned it into the world’s deadliest drinking game.
Anytime I or anyone else mentions the managerial search, go through the mentions on any form of social media and scan for the word “puppet”. If you see it there, take a drink (of water, of course). You won’t last through more than two articles, I can guarantee you that.
Friedman has repeatedly said he wants the manager the Dodgers hire to be flexible as situations change through the course of the grueling MLB season. Batters get hot or cold. Pitchers go through stretches where they can’t get an out or batters simply can’t figure them out. Yes, there tends to be regression to the mean, but you always see those peaks and valleys.
I wouldn’t necessarily stretch what Friedman is saying here and apply it directly to Don Mattingly, but he wasn’t exactly a yoga instructor in the calls he was making from game to game or inning by inning. If this was a point of contention with Mattingly, it makes sense for Friedman to prioritize it as heavily as he seems to be.
This all might be reading too deeply into what Friedman is saying, but at the end of the day, as his quotes are almost always painfully generic, the exercise of parsing each word is kind of forced upon us. At the end of the day, people are always going to want to hear something and they’ll either hear literally through what Friedman is actually saying, or they’ll create the quote with their own reading of the situation.