One thing that’s started to happen in sports for whatever reason is the complete and utter disappearance of patience. Charlie Strong was supposedly on the hot seat after only a couple season in Texas. Mike D’Antoni was given only a couple injury-riddled years as Lakers coach before he was fired. The list goes on.

Now, in only his second season as Dodgers President of Baseball Operations, ESPN’s Buster Olney is listing him as the person entering 2016 under the second-most pressure in the entire sport.

That’s insane.


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Here’s how Olney explains it.

He is in his second full season of running the Dodgers’ baseball operations, and already his work is under enormous scrutiny because of how the team bought for the highest price and operating with a record payroll has been outbid repeatedly in the past six months. The Rangers boxed out the Dodgers for Cole Hamels in July, and then the Diamondbacks jumped into the bidding late for Zack Greinke; reportedly, the Dodgers were also in on the conversations for Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake, and didn’t land either.

That’s a whole bunch of narrative. We’ve been through how the contracts given out this season are gambles for all the teams who handed them out. Bringing up Cole Hamels is an interesting move when you consider the team who did trade for him went just about as far in the playoffs as the Dodgers and Hamels was the losing pitcher in their deciding fifth game.

Olney continues:

In time, Friedman’s decision to veer around the bloated contracts may well turn out to be justified. But in the interim, the Dodgers have to try to continue the business of trying to extend the record of success established under former GM Ned Colletti and manager Don Mattingly, who won the NL West repeatedly — in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Friedman actually gets credit for the 2015 division title, but whatever. Olney also mentions the financial flexibility the Dodgers get to work with as a result of not handing out huge contracts, and when you consider they’re still mathematically considered the favorites to win the division this year without spending big, the future looks all the brighter.

Friedman is probably under immense pressure, but I don’t believe it’s a direct result of the moves the Dodgers have made and passed up on this offseason.

Working at that level in one of the most competitive industries in the world involves incredible pressure inherently.

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9 Responses

  1. tonyz60chevy

    I think Larry king voiced the disappointment of Dodger’s fans so eloquently . There’s nothing like seeing your favorite team’s bosses sit on their hands,while other teams in their division are making themselves stronger. And then the only move they make is for top draft picks. * Billion Dollar TV deals,and high ticket prices across the board,and this is all we’re suppose to get.and be content with,oh,yeah, and on top of that be patient for the 2018 season ,when there’s a better class of free agents coming up, and Ethier’s ,and Crawford’s bloated contracts,come off the books !

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  2. BLUBBERWANG

    Why should us Dodgers fans be patient? I don’t care if Friedman IS in his second ‘full year’. I would have thought that the Dodgers learned their lesson in 2014 and watched NUMEROUS pitchers go to other teams right before the trade deadline, only to come up short in October. Then, after losing Greinke, they CLAIM that nobody is untouchable (Urias, pardon if that’s not how its spelled), and are willing to listen to any offers. If they would have said that a year and a half ago, Kershaw, Greinke and Price might be getting fitted for a World Series ring right now, but NOPE! WE’RE REBUILDING IN KERSHAW’S PRIME! F&%#ING BRILLIANT!!!!

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  3. Blue58

    Anthony, you are so naive and out of touch. Olney, who incidentally actually interviews players, agents executives and others to collect his information unlike someone like you reads what others report and then rips it off, is absolutely right. 

    Friedman may only be in his second year, but Dodger fans have been more than patient since the team’s last World Series appearance. Moreover, Dodgers management has repeatedly said it wants to remain World Series-competitive while still building for the future. That increasingly appears to be untrue. 

    Friedman is under pressure from fans and the team. If the Dodgers fail to make the playoffs and fall below .500 this year, the onus, barring major injury, will fall squarely on Friedman and his decision to make his top priority collecting and holding minor league players and his reluctance to consider long-term, six figure contracts for free agents, thus leaving gaping holes in the major league squad. 

    It’s great to talk about how good the team might be in 2019 or 2020 when the current minor leaguers have graduated into the majors (though that is far from a sure thing), but players like Kershaw, Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Eithier, Kenley Jansen and others see their window for winning a championship closing. If Kershaw and Gonzalez, for example, openly demanded trades to contending teams at the end of the coming season, who do you think fans and the ownership would side with, the players or Friedman?

    No matter how good he might be at building up the minor leagues, his poor judgment of major league talent–trading away Gordon and Haren and losing Grienke while importing the likes of McCarthy, Latos, Johnson, Wood, Rollins, Beachy, Wieland, Peralta, NIcasio, and a single year of Kendricks–is a source of worry about the future as well as the present. Even if the team has a huge backload of money to spend on the post-2018 free agent class, Friedman’s track record suggests he might well spend it on the wrong people.

    Friedman has not helped his cause, or his image, by failing to articulate his vision for the future, dodging the press and refusing to interact with fans. He comes across as smug, arrogant and condescending.

    I hope he pulls off a brilliant trade to land an impact pitcher, somehow improves the bullpen and upgrades the offense. There’s still time to do something about the upcoming season. Or perhaps he’s right about the “championship nucleus” and that somehow the Dodgers will get great seasons out of Anderson, Ryu, Pederson, Puig, Seagar and Hernandez/Utley and they’ll be right back in the thick of it. If so, I will admit my pessimism was misplaced.

    If the Dodgers regress further in 2016, however, no amount of propaganda about how good they might be in three or four years might be enough to save Friedman’s job.

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  4. GiantsBelame

    Blue58 Awesome synopsis and I agree on all points!!  I’ve always wondered why Friedman is so smug in his press conferences.  Zaidi at least seems more affable and should be the one talking to the external world since Friedman has no bedside manner.  Hopefully the FO can still make something happen, along with a TV deal.  Go Dodgers and HNY to all Dodger fans!

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  5. Tmaxster

    Blue58 Well said sir… Very eloquent reply to Anthony the Dodger Front office Shill.

    You hit on the one thing that bothers me the most. As you stated their track record for trades and FA contracts do not garner anyone’s respect. They have been wrong and/or out maneuvered and out traded on every deal. This does not give us any hope for the future.

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  6. Blue58

    Tmaxster Blue58 In all honesty Tmaxster, the Dodgers did fine in the Kemp trade. Friedman and friends spotted value in Grandal that few others saw. He was not considered a top ten MLB catcher at the beginning of the season, but made the All Star team. 

    I do worry about Grandal’s durability; his injury made him useless at the plate in the second half. But assuming he can stay healthy, he should be a solid cacher who can move to first base when Gonzalez’ contract expires. Catcher was the one position that Friedman upgraded after he took over. Wieland, the other player they got for Kemp, is a total loss, a lifetime minor leaguer, but the trade also eased some of the logjam in the outfield and improved the defense.

    Anderson also turned out to be a good acquisition, especially if you consider he was brought in as a fifth starter. True, he predictably ran out of gas at season’s end and should not have started that playoff game, but that was made necessary because of the fiasco deadline deal that brought in Matt Latos and Alex Wood.

    I’m happy to give Friedman and Zaidi credit for their good decisions, including the upgrade of the minor league system and the aggressive pursuit of international players. But too many of his worshippers are blind to his mistakes, IMHO.

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  7. Tmaxster

    Blue58 Tmaxster Blue we can agree to disagree. I understand that they were dumping salary and freeing up a logjam in the OF. But Kemp was finally recovering from the Shoulder injury and came on at the end of the year for SD. Grandal is not a great defensive catcher his one quality is pitch framing which I believe is a BS stat along with Mike Scoscia who I truly believe is an expert on catching. I think AJ Ellis after his recovery from injury was an excellent catcher and was a push with Grandal offensively. But AJ’s ability to call a game and defensively is far superior IMO.
    I also did not really care for the Gordon trade as we sacrificed a lead off man that was a game changer. With not signing Kendrick it is a really bad trade. yes I like Kike and Barnes may become a MLB catcher but Gordon won a silver slugger and a base stealing crown. What a weapon he would have been for the Dodgers. 
    Latos, Johnson etc and the signing of McCarthy??
    Yes Anderson worked out well. Now that they are paying him 15.8 mill this coming year is he a good deal? , I very much hope he can build on his year of very good pitching. History tells us maybe not. I would say he is a push…

    But to be fair we will have to see how Grandal fairs this year. I hope he blows us all away and duplicates the All Star start. But if he is hurt and cannot swing the bat effectively I hope this time he sits his butt down instead of hurting the team which he did not do last year in the playoffs to add insult to injury.

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  8. Blue58

    Tmaxster Blue58 I think we’re in fundamental agreement that Friedman’s judgement of talent leaves a lot to be desired, even if we disagree on Grandal and Anderson.

    One can build a pretty good argument that McCarthy was the worst free agent signing last year, the Olivera-Latos et al trade was the worst mid-season deal and Gordon to the Marlins was the worst pre-season trade.

    If Gordon continues to be an All Star and Olivera becomes a solid player in Atlanta, those deal could rank just below the Pedro Martinez, Mike Piazza and Paul Konerko trades as the worst in team history. Of course, all trades deserve to be judged in the long run, so there is that.

    Finally, I wonder if one reason for the relative paralysis of the front office this off-season is that Friedman has become a little gun-shy in the wake of these disasters. He may fear another one-sided trade would just increase fan hostility and give more ammo to his enemies.

    In some ways, the easiest route is to just hang on to the prospects and hope they develop into impact players on the major league level, especially if Kasten has assured him his job is safe even if the Dodgers tank this season. By the end of the 2016 season, he’ll have a much better fix on the future of his younger players, from Pederson and Puig to the minor leaguers.

    Reply

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