When the Los Angeles Dodgers were eliminated in the National League Division Series, once more at the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals, changes were expected. The question was who would exit and who would enter.
The disappointing postseason trip for a second-straight season spurred a seismic front office overhaul. Most notably, the recruitment and successful luring of Tampa Bay Rays general manager Andrew Friedman to Los Angeles as the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations.
After years of rejecting offers from other teams, Friedman was finally convinced to leave the comfort of the small market Rays for the the bright lights of Los Angeles. Former general manager Ned Colleti was reassigned to a senior advisor role under president and CEO Stan Kasten, and Friedman hired Farhan Zaidi as the club’s new general manager.
Friedman recently discussed the feelings that came with him moving cross-country, which he sees the positive and negative in, via Bill Plaschke of the LA Times:
Scared? “A little bit,” Friedman admits. “This forces me to be uncomfortable. I left an incredibly comfortable situation in Tampa. But part of the attraction in coming here is forcing myself to be uncomfortable, I look at it like a good thing.”
Friedman and Zaidi wasted little time in putting their imprint on the Dodgers, doing so with transactions not many would have predicted. With the sweeping changes, expectations have remained high, which is to be expected with a payroll over $200 million.
During his time at the helm of the Rays’ front office, Friedman produced teams that made it to the postseason four times, including a world series appearance in 2008 — after eight-consecutive losing seasons.
Operating with a limited budget and other small-market restrictions, Friedman changed the culture in Tampa Bay, and now leads a franchise with a seemingly endless supply of resources. Friedman hasn’t yet opened up the checkbook as some may expect from a big-market executive, but he’s nonetheless made moves that he believes will help the Dodgers achieve their goals.
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