Ex-EVP for Tampa Bay Rays hired to build Dodgers talent through what made him so lauded. The farm system, intelligent drafts and shrewd trades
The Los Angeles Dodgers may have already pulled off the biggest offseason pickup and the World Series hasn’t even started yet.
Former Tampa Bay Rays executive vice president and general manager Andrew Friedman (left) was announced as the new Dodgers president of baseball operations as former president and GM Ned Colletti was reassigned as senior adviser to Friedman and CEO Stan Kasten.
The implications of this move should reverberate throughout the Dodgers organization because of Friedman’s experience in building through the farm system and Kasten’s success with that strategy while president of the Atlanta Braves from 1986-2003.
Friedman’s arrival in LA will lead to an increased focus on player development as it appears the Dodgers want to shift to a small-ball approach on acquiring talent.
Considering his limited financial resources in Tampa Bay, his success there has been widely lauded by the league.
Once considered the laughing stock of the MLB, Friedman took a Rays team that started their existence with eight straight losing seasons and within three years after being hired as GM in 2005, propelled them to an AL Pennant and six straight winning seasons from 2008-2013.
It can’t be overlooked that the Dodgers have found themselves watching the World Series from their couches the last two seasons because of a club oft-admired for their ability to grow their farm system through intelligent drafting and trades.
The St. Louis Cardinals’ long history of homegrown talent, coupled with their team being the ouster of the Dodgers the last two postseasons, proves the Guggenheim Partners’ motivation to change long-term strategies isn’t one they plan to phase in slowly.
Friedman’s approach to managing a baseball organization is three-fold.
1) Build a successful farm system through scouting.
Thus drafting and trading for players that show talent, are easily coachable and display potential.
2) Win the trades you accomplish.
It’s not enough to go for talent and get it in this league. Knowing when to cut loose a fading, accomplished veteran in favor of little-known minor league talent is how you keep payroll low and a team hungry.
The Dodgers have a payroll stocked with full veterans who have reached their financial goals, yet underperformed on the field.
3) Be mindful of free agency acquisitions.
According to truebluela.com, it drops to just under $170 million in 2015. That’s a $110 million reduction and a wide window of opportunity for Kasten and Friedman to expand the roster, while keeping future Dodgers payrolls more manageable.
When LA sought David Price (middle right) for their postseason push this season, Friedman (near right) drew their admiration by seeking obscure minor leaguers other teams seemed to overlook in favor of the Joc Pedersons, Corey Seagers and Zach Lees of their organization.
His baseball IQ has been rewarded as Friedman now helms one of MLB’s all-time historical franchises. Tampa Bay might as well be the minors compared to Los Angeles.
Here’s hoping his talents for growing a franchise from the ground up aren’t drowned out by the bright lights.