in

Dodgers: Andrew Friedman is Good at His Job, Despite Popular Belief

The Dodgers President of Baseball Operations is among the best executives in sports

The nickname Fraudman is a popular one on social media for Dodgers fans. While some use it ironically, there is a large portion of the fan base who dislike Dodgers’ President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman.

Calls to fire him can be read throughout social media, especially after tough playoff losses. But the Dodgers are very fortunate to have him calling the shots.

Despite not bringing a World Series title to Los Angeles yet, Richard Justice points out that Friedman has had a very successful five seasons as the brain of the Dodgers.

As you can see from the tweet, Friedman knows how to build good teams. They are first in regular-season wins, postseason wins and they have won the division every season during his tenure.

However, as the last part shows, the payroll has been reduced by 38%. It is one of the main things people complain about when discussing Friedman and the front office.

To get this out of the way, it is important to know the payroll is set by the ownership group. It is crazy to think the person building a team wouldn’t want as much money available as possible. No executive in baseball is taking a less talented player over a better one simply to save their boss some money.

He works within the amount of money the owners give him and he was hired partly because he can build great teams without paying for high-end talent. The Dodgers should absolutely flex their financial might more and have higher payrolls every season, but it’s not Friedman’s call.

It should be considered that despite reducing payroll, the Dodgers still win more than anyone else. It isn’t a flaw of Friedman that the owners don’t increase the payroll.

And you might be thinking, none of this matters because they haven’t won a World Series.

Yes, it is painful they haven’t won, but Friedman does not deserve the blame for that.

In Major League Baseball, the playoffs are about as random as you can get. The better team wins a series about 55% of the time. It’s basically a coin flip.

Besides putting the team in a position to reach the postseason, there isn’t much a front office can do once the team reaches the playoffs. His job is to get them to October, he can’t win it for them.

As the article linked above points out, MLB would need to have a best-of-75 series just for the better team to advance 80% of the time. It’s an insanely luck based sport where the smallest thing can change the entire outcome of a series.

Fail to win a title? Here’s where an understanding postseason tournament formats is most critical. If you are one of the top teams, do your best to keep going. Convince folks internally how talented and skilled your team actually was. Don’t be afraid to point out things like randomness and luck (or to show them this article). And don’t do things like “rethink your whole philosophy.”

There is the narrative that Friedman has never been aggressive enough at the deadline or he hoards prospects instead of going for the stars available. Both points are wrong.

In 2016, the Dodgers acquired Rich Hill, who was the best player traded at the deadline and has had a few great seasons for the team. They traded three top pitching prospects to get him, along with outfielder Josh Reddick.

In 2017, the Dodgers acquired Yu Darvish and they were praised for acquiring the consensus best player available. It was the year they were “going for it”. Of course, the narrative changed when Justin Verlander, who was a league-average pitcher at the time, remembered he’s actually good at throwing baseballs and helped the Astros beat the Dodgers in the World Series, all while Darvish imploded twice.

In 2018, the Dodgers again acquired the best player available, Manny Machado. Of course, we all know the season ended with another World Series loss, making the Machado trade seem irrelevant to many.

Their less flashy moves came in 2015 and 2019, where they acquired Alex Wood, who became a key member of their rotation for the next three seasons, and Adam Kolarek, who filled their only real need.

Could they do more every season? Sure, but the best odds for any team to win a Wolrd Series once they make the playoffs is about 30%. Having a team that reaches the playoffs every season provides a greater chance of winning than going all-in to have a 70% chance of losing in one season.

No roster is perfect and no roster will ever be perfect. The best thing a front office can do is give their team a good chance to win now and in the future. Friedman has done a great job of doing exactly that.

The World Series will come at some point soon, even if it doesn’t seem like it. I’m just as sick of hearing “wait until next year” as anybody else. But the Dodgers are in great hands and fans should trust in Friedman.

Written by Blake Williams

I graduated with an Associate's Degree in Journalism from Los Angeles Pierce College and now I'm working towards my Bachelor's at Cal State University, Northridge. I'm currently the managing editor for the Roundup News and a writer for Dodgers Nation. Around the age of 12, I fell in love with baseball and in high school, I realized my best path to working in baseball was as a writer, so that's the path I followed. I also like to bring an analytics viewpoint to my work and I'm always willing to help someone understand them since so many people have done the same for me. Thanks for reading!

20 Comments

Leave a Reply
  1. Some general flaws in the metrics about Friedman’s success… he’s relying on major talent drafted before him. He inherited a team that had won the NL West multiple years in a row already. He has made it clear that the budget restrictions have been his own making not ownership. He finds “the challenge” exciting.

    Then he gets Gyorko at the deadline. Not needed. He doesn’t get any bullpen help beyond that; which had been our biggest issue last winter, all season and clearly in the playoffs our downfall.

    He also hired the inexperienced Roberts. Hasn’t put enough around him to avoid his coaching mistakes. And it has cost us. Let’s remember that building a good franchise is one thing. The dodgers have been a good franchise for 30+ years. We need to win the World Series. The fans deserve it.

    • He did get Gyorko and he did make a trade for the pen in Kolarek. He also got them Maeda, Hill, Buehler, Lux, Muncy, Taylor, Morrow, Machado, Darvish, Grandal, Smith, May, Gonsolin and some more good players I know i’m probably forgetting.

      He also never said the payroll reduction is his choice. He says he likes having payroll flexibility which is front office speak for they have a set amount to spend.

      • Blake I agree with your article. The dodgers have built a Team that is young, competitive and can continue to increase profits as they bring in talent from the Farm.
        The only flaw I see is Roberts. He makes bad decisions because he is a “players manager” rather than a strategic one. If he would have looked at the numbers he would see Kershaw allows an ERA over 5 for his first two innings. Not what you want in a relief guy in a win or go home game. He should have used Maeda or May. Not Kershaw. He should be fired for that. He also used Taylor in a RISP situation where anyone with any strategic instincts would have used Freese. And of course Taylor struck out.

    • He’s been with the team 4 years; one would hope they had some major league talent on the field and a few in the pipeline before his tenure. His first draft pick was Buehler. Lux, May, Gonsolin, Smith, and a host of candidates on the farm (ranked third overall) are all his picks. The narrative that these players were already on the team or in the system is stale and, frankly, tired.

  2. He is good.. you say… so where are the wins in the playoffs and world series.. all I see are excuses and I will agree he is good at that… he has a lame manger.. players who don’t proform when it counts..and a picher that they dare to compare to Sandy….yep he is good.. to bad I can’t see a damm thing he is good at.. ohhh yes excuses…

      • Blake, I can recall back in the mid 90’s before Freidman’s time here what then 1st baseman Eric Karros said upon the team being swept in back to back NLDS..
        ‘We didn’t win because we did not have a good enough team or good enough players…it’s that simple.

        • Ah yes the 90’s. The beginning of the end for the Dodgers. The incompetence and choking that laid the foundation for decades to come. I recall Piazza saying after 95 that maybe they needed a few more pieces acquired to beat the Reds and then have a chance at ATL. Sounds like the same thing now doesn’t it. New people same problems unbelievable

    • What a buffoon you are. It’s clueless fans like you that need to keep your lips shut and stick to fantasy sports. All you do is embarrass yourself.

      • Oh look folks Ryan is our latest shill that we must run out of here. Classic shill strategy make everyone that speaks truth out to be stupid with no baseball knowledge they should just be quiet and watch according to Ryan. No YOU should

  3. You can be very good at your job and still have blind spots that can cause problems. The bullpen has not been improved during his tenure. And teams that have chosen to “all in” such as the Red Sox and the Astros and the Cubs have won titles while the Dodgers have remained simply “competitive.” Yes, Theo Epstein’s team didn’t even make the playoffs this year, so Andrew Friedman is a better leader. Not.

    • Theo’s team should have competed for a couple more in their window. A window they created by losing 91, 101, 96, and 89 games during Theo’s first 4 years. Now the manager’s gone, their pitchers are aging, they have the second highest payroll, and the farm cupboard is bare. Torres and Jimenez play for other teams. No thank you.

      People talk about Atlanta’s divisional dominance from ’91 to ’05 like it was bad thing because they only won 1 title. I’ll take it anytime over a 1 and done.

  4. As a fan i feel alone on an island as i agree Friedman is very good at what he does, i got a lot of backlash on Twitter when i tweeted that signing Friedman was the most important signing this off season on Monday when confirmed he was staying i was ecstatic. Thank you for the article Blake letting the truth be known of how lucky we are to have Friedman and how good he is at his job.

    • But Roberts and his absolutely bone head pitching decisions, lineup shuffling constantly and the cold hard truth about the team’s sub par performance in the PS and WS says it all on why most fans feel the way they do, especially about Roberts even more so than Andy himself. let’s face it however, this team HAS NO REAL GREAT PLAYERS only interchange able parts that just are not good enough to compete in October.
      First in MLB in PS wins? heck, this they have 7 Division titles in a row, so be it. BUT WHEN IT COUNTS THE MOST, actually winning a WS ring, they fall far short of the ultimate goal.

      • I agree with you about Roberts but couldn’t disagree more about the players. Do you know what Anthony Rendon batted in his first 2 seasons of post season play? 150 in ’16 and 176 in ’17. He also went hit-less against the Brewers in the wild card game and the first game against the Dodgers this year before he caught fire. Now he’s a stud monster that the Dodgers must sign at all costs. On the flip side, everyone now wants the Dodgers to dump Seager who had an awful series against the Nats. He batted – yep – 150 just like Rendon earlier. Seager missed the ’17 NLCS and hit poorly in the WS because his elbow was barking; the elbow that caused him to miss the ’18 season. Seager’s career numbers are better than Rendon’s. Just a little perspective.

    • Spot on Charles.

      Sadly it’s just human nature these days to complain and whine as they can hide anonymously behind a computer. Everyone hated Coletti(rightfully so) for selling the farm and bringing in top FA’s. AF is a genius, and does the exact opposite, but oh yeah, a lot of fans still complain although he does exactly what they asked for. These keyboard babies, as I call them, need to just be ignored. It’s obvious they know zero about the business side of the game.

  5. Friedman deserves credit for developing the deepest team in baseball… In other words, he has the Best 40 man roster in the game. Depth matters during a long 162 game season, obviously the more games during a season, the more important depth becomes. But in a short series, dominant starting pitching will neutralize great hitters. If you dont have dominant starters, you better have 3 to 4 bullpen guys (like the champioship Royals team or this years Yankees).

    If Friedman knew he had a bullpen that his manager couldnt trust and didnt do enough to address it. And no… It doesnt mean you trade all your best minor league talent. It does mean that you might have give up some of your future talent so you can win RIGHT NOW.

    It also means that relying call ups from the minor league talents is flawed. Rookie call ups seldom are difference makers in the playoffs.

    Oh, by the way, by continuously getting to the playoffs does NOT increase your chances for any one season. Playoff baseball is a year by year competition. If Friedman thinks that the Dodgers will win the World Series by consistently winning the division and then getting lucky to win a World Series one season, it will another 30 years before the Dodgers win a title.

    The bottom line is that the Dodgers may have to give some future prospects to win that elusive title, but it is really possible that trading great prospects might cause the team to miss the playoffs in 2023, but thats ok with me. I think the Dodgers should take same approach.

  6. Some of Freidman’s moves have been questionable by many, Roberts in game management and pitching decisions have been a topic of discussion. But the bottom line here is Dodgers have now gone going on 32 years since their last WS win.

  7. Friedman is not the problem. He is a savvy GM and was smart not to make some of the potential deals out there. Sure, we would have liked a great reliever, or Harper in the outfield. But those would have been enormous costs in tied up salary and loss of top prospects, such as May and/or Lux. It hurt that it didn’t work out this year – a real gut punch. But Friedman and his team are the real deal and glad to have them running the team. Let’s see how he responds to the deficits in the offseason. Resigning Ryu should be a priority. But I’d sure rather see them go after a top pitcher in a trade than paying gigantic bucks to Rendon, as good as he is. I trust Friedman to make good decisions on value. So far he has shown the ability to make the big deals (Machado, Darvish) as well as the restraint (Harper, Vasquez). Glad he’s running the ship.

  8. Look Friedman is good with team assembly through smart drafting and low cost high reward choices in talent “muncy” . The issue I have is with the heavy use of analytics baseball in the game strategy.. I think that their needs to be more of a balance with traditional small ball strategy in order to win a world series. Yes modern baseball strategy works well during the regular season but it has never won a world series. Teams that win go back to old school ways, producing runs through steals, sacrifices, bunting, hit and run , doing whatever it takes to win screw the numbers. So I dont really blame Robert’s for his choices because I dont think they are his he is just the messenger. I think its Friedman and analytics team that makes the strategy and choices Roberts is just there puppet. So until that changes the Dodgers will not win a world series.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Dodgers Sign a 18 Year Old Taquero From Mexico

Dodgers: Bad Decisions, Not Analytics, Are to Blame for NLDS Loss