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Dodgers’ Biggest Free Agent This Coming Off-Season

Andrew Friedman’s contract runs out after 2019.

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 28: Andrew Friedman, President of Baseball Operations, and Stan Kasten, president, and part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers talk before the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Dodger Stadium on April 28, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

A shock wave hit Major League Baseball when Dave Dombrowski was fired by the 2018 World Champion Boston Red Sox.

Who know’s why he was fired but some of the reasons could include:

  • Overpaying to re-sign Chris Sale and Nathan Eovaldi
  • Emptying the farm to win now

Those were my first thoughts. Then an article in Sports Illustrated by Tom Verducci gets down to the probable real reason:

Most people were shocked. But here’s the deal: the reasons the Red Sox hired Dombrowski no longer existed. What they need now, at least in the vision of owner John Henry, is a process-oriented architect who can steer the franchise efficiently through a difficult transition toward its next championship team. That person was not the 63-year-old Dombrowski. – Tom Verducci

There are some teams that have a well defined and successful process-oriented system. One of those teams is the Dodgers. The process-oriented system first was started by Stan Kasten when he became a part-owner and president. Everything started to round into shape when they hired Andrew Friedman after 2014 and gave him a five year / $35M contract. Oh, by the way, that contract expires after this season. Would the Red Sox try to bring Friedman to Boston?

The Red Sox Should Consider Friedman

Almost any team could use the talents of Andrew Friedman. He built a winner out of the small-market Tampa Rays and has helped build the Dodgers into annual threats to win the World Series. He has a vision for building a winner and has helped put people in place from the highest levels of the Major League club down to the Rookie League staffs. It has taken a long time to build an organization with everyone on the same page but Friedman has helped get the Dodgers to that point. They currently challenge for the championship yet have had a top Minor League system for many years running.

While implementing his vision of building a sustained winner Andrew Friedman has withstood the pressures to deviate from his plan. He’s held on to players like Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Will Smith, Dustin May and Gavin Lux during the past five Trade Deadlines. Holding on to players with lower contracts allows the team to have some cheap and talented players to mix with some higher priced veterans. This mix allows them to have a very deep team that can withstand many injuries, yet still contend.

What Happens Next?

Once the season ends, the Red Sox will not need to ask for permission to negotiate with Andrew Friedman. It has been surprising to me that there hasn’t been any information leaking out about the Dodgers working on retaining Friedman. He is one of the most valuable assets in baseball and the Dodgers don’t have to worry about luxury taxes for Friedman. However, it would be shocking if Friedman left. Here are some reasons I think he will stay with the Dodgers:

  1. He has a young family and uprooting them would be monumental
  2. The Dodgers are a perennial contender but he’s not enjoyed the fruits of a World Championship yet
  3. If he sticks around for another few years and they win multiple World Series he becomes a huge Hall of Fame candidate
  4. Money should be no object for the Dodgers

Of course, we don’t know how Friedman’s family likes LA. We don’t know if he has career goals that could help sway him to another team.

Final Thoughts

It seems Andrew Friedman is happy in Los Angeles and that the Dodgers’ ownership is happy with him. They will draw 3.9 million fans this year and he’s kept their salary structure from having to pay a luxury tax the last two seasons. He’s helped to put a great system in place that keeps producing excellent prospects despite picking low in the draft. I would be shocked if the Dodgers didn’t retain him for at least another five years but you never know.

Written by Tim Rogers

A fan of the Dodgers since 1973 since I got my first baseball cards while living in Long Beach. I came to San Diego for college and never left nor did I ever switch my Dodgers' allegiance. Some know me as the "sweater guy". #ProspectHugger

20 Comments

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  1. It would be a major mistake if Stan Kasten and the entire Dodger ownership didn’t do everything in their power to keep Andrew Friedman, I’m sure they will as getting him to stay is more important then any player this off season, i know some people don’t exactly agree with the way he goes about things but what he has been able to do in the short amount of time is nothing short of miraculous. I wouldn’t be suprised if Boston firing Dombroski was just in hopes to make way for Friedman, i surely would be devastated if he left to go to Boston.

  2. I completely agree. It’s amazing to read the nearly non-stop bashing of Friedman by fans who should know better. I get it; the goal is to win the WS and we haven’t done it yet. But do people really want to to go back to the glory days of the Frank McCourt era?

    Friedman has put together a system in which we have a legitimate shot at winning the WS every year AND still have one one of the top Minor League systems. I love that we’ve gotten back to home grown talent instead of turning into the west coast Yankees and trying to buy a championship.

    • Guy, you’re completely on point. The Dodger fans who incessantly criticize Friedman completely lack the understanding of his skill and intellect in running a competitive, state of the art, best in class baseball franchise. He’s built a championship caliber team, he’s employed new competitive strategies that other teams are only beginning to embrace and deploy, he’s shown the ability to empart his wisdom to those around him as witnessed by the flock of his office colleagues taking GM jobs with other teams, and he’s managed to improve the team while dropping payroll and decreasing the age of the roster. What he’s done has been simply outstanding work in my book.

      So what if the Dodgers haven’t won the World Series? I’m not hung up that. Look at the revered Brooklyn teams that featured some of the most legendary Dodgers of all time with Snider, Robinson, Reese, Hodges, Furillo, Newcombe, Gilliam, Campy, etc., teams that continuously went to the Fall Classic, only to get beat by the Yankees. Sure, there was futility during those years, but those were teams that were beloved by the fans, just as the current Dodgers are, because those teams were great, but sadly unlucky. It’s not a miserable thing to be a Dodger fan. Try being a Padres or Mariners fan, or maybe even an Angel fan and rarely getting a sniff if the post-season. The ones who love to bash Friedman are the ones who clamored for the signing of Harper or Machado, and how exactly is that turning out?

      The Dodgers should not let Andrew Friedman leave. If it requires writing him a blank check, then so be it. It seems to me that he has unbridled power within the organization and the unwavering support of Walters and Karsten, so it would have to be a tremendously difficult decision for him to leave. He’s not going to have it any better than he has it now.

  3. Friedman has done a fantastic job rebuilding the entire Dodger personnel organization, but with all the talent in the minor league system and depth on the major league roster, the Dodgers still havent won a World Series. Year after year, Friedman has held to minor league talent so the team can dominate the NL West.

    Again the team faced the same dilemna at trade deadline, do you sacrifice young and possible future star talent to make the bullpen better? If the Dodgers dont win because of their shaky bullpen, this WILL be on Friedman.

    Meanwhile the Dodgers lost championships the last two years to teams who did upgrade their teams who took the risk and gave up potential star talent.

    My concern is that with Friedman, the Dodgers will continuue to win division championships(2019 will be the sixth straight divsion championship), but will not win any World Series. For guys like Clayton Kershaw and maybe even Justin Turner, they are running out of time.

    One last thought… If the Dodgers were ecstatic with Friedman and vice versa, wouldnt the two sides already reached an agreement?

    • The reports have been that other teams were asking for Lux and/or May in exchange for a reliever and that Friedman was unwillingly to part with them. I have no problem with Friedman’s decision to stand pat. We’re talking about players who have the potential of being foundational pieces for the next decade in exchange for a player who pitches 70 or so innings a year.

      As for Friedman having talks with Walters and Karsten for an extension, it certainly could have been decided already or currently in discussion, but it’s not typical of Dodgers are not going to make any announcements during the season. It was well understood last season that Roberts was going to be extended but they did a great job of keeping any discussion of the situation suppressed until the off season. The same will happen with Friedman.

    • If he’s fired it’s a scapegoat. They have no intention of changing their strategies they’ll just try to fool the masses

    • Who exactly did the Astros give up in 2017? The Sox gave away their farm last year for a championship – good for them and good for the Cubs who in 2016 gave up Torres for a couple months of Chapman. Think they might want to redo that one? Both clubs now stand with maxed payrolls and wretched farms. It’s going to be ugly for both and their championships may well be distant memories before they sniff an opportunity for another.

      Maybe the Dodgers win this year or maybe they don’t but their window to win will remain open for years thanks to their organizational strength. That’s on Friedman.

  4. Yes over the years Friedman has added such duds as Yu Darvish, Manny Machado, Brian Dozier etc., etc. in hopes of winning a championship and all have let the team down come crunch time. Friedman seems to think it’s his personal money that’s involved.

  5. Nearly all of they key players were in the system prior to Friedman’s arrival; all he did was not trade them. Let’s face it, anyone could “not trade” somebody. Friedman’s key contributions? Yu Darvish and Manny Machado.

    • Nope. Friedman’s first draft pick was Walker Buehler and his 2016 draft – with 5 of the first 9 picks already in the majors – is in the discussion of all time greats.

  6. last night when I heard that Dombrowski was fired after winning the WS last year, it made me think of what could happen with Freidman if Dodgers fail again in the PS to win a ring.. the one thing I see is that running and managing in the regular season does not necessarily translate in the PS and WS. though Dodgers have had sustained success in the regular season the last 6+ years, the pressure is enormous for them to get a WS ring after 31 years of drought But I must ask this question..does anyone here think ANY team can take down the Astros, especially after watching their last 2 games? really, not only did they score 36 runs in those 2 games combined but the pitching kept the opponents to a total of just 1 run

  7. I have started to get down on Friedman especially this year mainly because he Won’t pay the TOP players when there is a need for that spot. Being Loyal to Kenley especially after he had a heart problem has been a disaster. Not only this year but the last 2 years the Dodgers knew they needed 2 more high pressure leverage end of game closer types, 1 to be depth in case Kenley struggled, 2 another to shore up the area of weakness on the club that cost the Dodgers the title the past 2 years. Once again this year as it was Blatantly painfully obvious that Kenley is not even close to himself, and the statistical proof that the Bullpen is just about the worst in the National League, Friedman just sat there and blamed it was a buyers market. The plan to rebuild the Farm system with Friedman has been a monsterous success, and he needs much applause and a congratulations for a job well done.

    With all of this said, Friedman deserves to be sent to a team that needs to rebuild and has a philosophy for not spending much to be relevant. He created a World Series team in Tampa, and now with the Dodgers as both lost in the World Series going 0-3. There has been many many opportunities to attain Big Free Agents such as Harper, J.D. Martinez, Verlander, Sale, Price,Greinke,Kuechel, Cole, Machado etc etc etc. Adding any of those players to this team that Friedman built IMO would have put the icing on the cake. I agree with Paul that the pressure is on and Friedman’s last chance is this year. If Kasten pays Friedman for failing with the 2nd richest market and franchise in MLB, and won’t pay any of those Free Agents then Kasten needs to go as well. We Need a management group willing to bring in a Verlander type shut down #1, or a Harper or J.D.Martinez.The Red Sox and Astros both did it and both won the World Series against the team that didn’t.

  8. If the Dodgers do not go after Garrett Cole in the off season, something is wrong. We will have the money even though I am sure our FO will throw major dollars at Ryu; lets not forget Hill’s contract ends when this season formally ends. And with the instability of late in our starting rotation, Cole would really solidify our pitching. Go Blue!!!

  9. They should give him a % of ownership aka Billie Jean king, along with a nice contract. World series is a crapshoot, I like a team that is one of the top teams every year, with a steady core of the same players.

    • To quote a famous line… “Just win baby…”

      If you are not playing to win it all, then why play at all? There may be some Dodger fat cats who have season tickets just so hey can be “seen” and maybe winning is not all that important to them. But to the rest of us “knuckleheads” we want a championship(s) so we can enjoy our day in the sun and the bragging rights that go with them. If I were a GM and my manager said to me “we don’t care if we win a championship as long as we are competitive,” I would fire him on the spot and find someone with some fire in his belly that wanted more than just a “nice” team. The fans who are paying the freight deserve nothing less.

  10. I don’t get the love shown by some people for Andrew Friedman. This is the guy that literally punted at the trade deadline. If the Dodgers lose a third World Series — and I’m sorry to be that guy, but the Dodgers of the past few weeks are NOT the Dodgers who can beat the Astros or Yankees in the World Series — then we can look at Friedman as the one to blame. Our bullpen is limping, our closer is falling apart, and what does Friedman have to show for it? Gyorko. Real teams make trades for TODAY, not for three years in the future.

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