The Los Angeles Dodgers have named Rays general manager Andrew Friedman their President of Baseball Operations today in a rather surprising announcement.
Former general manager Ned Colletti will remain in the organization as a senior advisor to president Stan Kasten. As for the club in Tampa, president Matthew Silverman will now oversee the baseball operations. Former vice president of business operations Brian Auld will now fill Silverman's role as president.
Here's the statement from Friedman, who remembers his time with the Rays.
“As I embark upon my next journey, I have only thanks and gratitude to the Rays organization and the Tampa Bay region for a wonderful 10 years together. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to have been part of something so special and for the passion and support of this exceptional fan base. The Rays organization is loaded with talent from ownership to players and everyone between. We were able to create together an unbelievable culture that no doubt will continue, and I am absolutely confident that the successes we achieved will continue into the future.”
The Rays front office will obviously be taking a significant blow with the loss. Friedman was promoted to general manager of Tampa Bay in 2005 at the age of 28. Since then, he has built the team from the ground up, with a minimal payroll. He has led the team to excellence. The Rays have made the playoffs four times since 2008, including winning the American League pennant that season, when Friedman won Sporting News' Executive of the Year.
Friedman was not under contract with the Rays, so there will be no compensation heading from Los Angeles to Tampa Bay.
Friedman has been able to lead the Rays to success with a very small amount of money to work with. Just two times during his tenure have the Rays payroll exceeded $70 million, which included the Rays' franchise-record $76 million payroll in 2014. Even with the Dodgers expecting to hold back on the payroll, Friedman can expect to have a payroll more than double that amount. You can only imagine all the freedom he will have to bring the Dodgers to postseason success.
There is some speculation that the Dodgers may attempt to acquire Rays manager Joe Maddon from the club to replace Don Mattingly, but Maddon "absolutely" wants to continue his tenure with the Rays.
"I want to continue to be a Ray, absolutely," Maddon told Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. "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. There’s so much to like. There’s only one negative. That’s the ballpark. It’s a big negative. But that’s about it."
Dodgers president Stan Kasten offered his praise for Friedman.
"Andrew Friedman is one of the youngest and brightest minds in the game today and we are very fortunate to have him join our organization," Kasten said. "The success he has had over the past nine years in molding the Tampa Bay Rays team has been incredible."