With the Los Angeles Dodgers beginning their full-roster workouts earlier this week, a couple of former Dodgers also made the trip to Arizona and visited the team during Spring Training; Sandy Koufax, Tommy Lasorda, and Eric Karros stopped by Camelback Ranc and watched as the players participated in their respective workouts.
This year’s Spring Training marks the first one under the new front office headed by president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi. Upon meeting for the first time, Koufax shared his thoughts on the duo’s ability to balance analytics and their eye for talent, via Dodgers Insider’s Jon Weisman:
From everything that everybody’s said, they’re analytic but they’re listening to the players and manager and coaches. You talk about the analytic thing and this all started in Oakland, but no one makes mention of the fact that (Billy Beane) was a player. So he could see talent, and if the analytical was one thing, but if he didn’t like what he saw, he didn’t sign him. It’s a combination of both that’s important.”
Before joining the Dodgers, Friedman earned the reputation of being a numbers and stats guy as he transformed the Tampa Bay Rays into contenders while operating with a limited payroll. As for Zaidi, he spent years working under Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics.
Now in Los Angeles, the two are now dealing with an ownership group that isn’t as financially restrained as their prior stops. Despite the resources, specifically financially, they weren’t afraid to make significant changes to the roster by trading away Dee Gordon, Dan Haren and Matt Kemp — paying Haren’s remaining salary and a portion of Kemp’s in each trade.
After an offseason complete with a front office and roster overhaul, there is still plenty of excitement surrounding the Dodgers as the club remains among the favorites to win the World Series. In addition, their farm system continues to impress with multiple prospects being ranked on publication’s top lists of Minor League players.
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