For nine seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, Andrew Friedman and Joe Maddon were part of the brain trust that helped guide the franchise to previously unreached levels of success. After years of turning down overtures from other teams, Friedman at last made the jump out of Tampa Bay when he joined the Los Angeles Dodgers as president of baseball operations.
Given their working relationship and friendship, coupled with the perception of manager Don Mattingly being on the hot seat, some believed Maddon would follow Friedman to Los Angeles. Speculation of that being the case briefly grew when Maddon abruptly opted out of the final year of his contract.
However Friedman continued to publicly state the Dodgers’ intentions of sticking with Mattingly and it was cemented when Maddon agreed to become the Chicago Cubs manager. With Maddon part of the Cubs’ contingent in San Diego for the Winter Meetings, he expressed confidence in his former boss’ ability to succeed with the Dodgers, via David Vassegh of AM 570:
Joe Maddon on Andrew Friedman's methods of running a team and evaluating: "Just trust him, it's going to work" #WinterMeetings
— David Vassegh (@THEREAL_DV) December 9, 2014
Since taking over the Dodgers, Friedman has certainly been active as the team’s completed seven trades (Drew Butera being the latest to go) and made three waiver claims. However, none of the moves have been the big splash many are anticipating and expecting, and the wait was extended Tuesday night when Jon Lester agreed to a contract with the Chicago Cubs.
Coincidentally, it may be Maddon’s Cubs who sign Lester as they’re competing in the home stretch with the Boston Red Sox for the southpaw’s services. With Lester no longer an option, Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi will need to look elsewhere to for pitching, which is just one of the Dodgers’ needs.