With questions heading into free agency, the Los Angeles Dodgers made their first power move Tuesday by luring Andrew Friedman out of Tampa Bay to become the president of baseball operations.
Friedman’s arrival signaled the end of Ned Colletti’s tenure as general manger, but he’s remaining with the team in an advisor role to president and CEO Stan Kasten. Who the next Dodgers’ GM will be is Friedman’s discretion, however the bigger intrigue lies with the manager’s position.
Don Mattingly said he believes he’ll return in 2015 and Kasten said Tuesday that’s also what he expects, but added it will be Friedman’s decision. Given the success and relationship developed with Joe Maddon in Tampa Bay, his name was quickly mentioned as a replacement for Mattingly.
While Maddon and Friedman have a long-standing relationship, the manager said he isn’t looking for a change, according to Bill Shaikin of the LA Times:
I want to continue to be a Ray, absolutely. They have to want me to be a Ray too. I’m really embedded here pretty well. The roots are pretty strong. We have a great infrastructure here. We have a great operation. We have great people.”
Maddon is in the final year of his contract and said he expects extension talks to be held in the near future. Mattingly is entering the second of his three-year extension and could find himself in a similar situation to that of the 2013 season.
Mattingly worked without assurance he would return in 2014 and his contract vesting for 2014 when the Dodgers reached the NLCS went unmentioned. It led to a tense press conference after the Dodgers were eliminated by the St. Louis Cardinals, however Mattingly and the Dodgers later agreed to terms on an extension.
Friedman and Maddon’s nine seasons together with the Rays includes four postseason appearances and one trip to the World Series. Speculation of Maddon joining Friedman in Los Angeles will likely continue until the season begins and Mattingly is with the Dodgers or Maddon signs an extension.