Los Angeles Dodgers hire Andrew Friedman to head Baseball Operations

October 14, 2014

The Los Angeles Dodgers made their first significant move since their disappointing playoff ouster at the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals, as the team announced in a press release today the hiring of Andrew Friedman to the newly created position of President, Baseball Operations. The club also announced that Ned Colletti, the team's former General Manager, will remain with the Dodger organization as a Senior Advisor to the President and CEO Stan Kasten.

“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,” said Kasten. “The success he has had over the past nine years in molding the Tampa Bay Rays team has been incredible.”

This past season the Dodgers had a massive payroll, but despite those expenditures, the team failed to deliver a title.  One major reason for the team's playoff loss was an unbalanced roster that had a surplus of expensive outfielders, but was lacking in quality arms out of the bullpen.

Throughout the series with the Cardinals, the Dodgers were unable to find a reliever or two capable of bridging the gap between the team's excellent starting pitchers and reliable closer Kenley Jansen, and it ultimately cost them.

Friedman, 37, previously served as the Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations of the Tampa Bay Rays, where, despite overseeing one of the league’s lowest payrolls, he led the Rays to four postseason appearances, including two division titles (2008, 2010), in nine seasons from 2006-14.

Under Friedman, the Rays posted the franchise’s first winning season and won the American League pennant in 2008, when he was named Sporting News’ Executive of the Year. After finishing below .500 in each of its first 10 years of existence, the Rays finished above the .500 mark in six consecutive seasons under Friedman from 2008-13.

The hallmark of Friedman's tenure with the Rays was his ability to identify and develop young talent on the cheap, particularly power arms for the team's pitching staff.  With Friedman at the helm, the Rays had an excellent farm system that routinely allowed them to hold their own in the same division as the big-spending Yankees and Red Sox.

Friedman joined the Rays in 2004 and spent two years serving as director of baseball development. His previous experience also includes working on Wall Street for several years.  Friedman received a baseball scholarship to Tulane University, where he graduated with a bachelor of science in management with a concentration in finance.

Friedman will be introduced by the Dodgers tomorrow at a news conference.

As for Colleti, in nine seasons under his watch, the Dodgers reached the postseason five times, with division titles in 2008, 2009, 2013, and 2014, and a Wild Card berth in 2006 (tied for division title), and posted the National League’s third-best record from 2006-2014 (783-674, .537), behind only St. Louis (789-668, .542) and Atlanta (785-673, .537).

Considering much of that success occurred under miserly owner Frank McCourt, such accomplishments are no small feat.

“Ned Colletti has played a major role in the success of the Los Angeles Dodgers over the last nine years and I’m thrilled that we are able to retain him as a special advisor to me,” said Kasten. “Ned’s knowledge and experience in the game covering 33 years will be a great asset to the club as we continue to add and build our player development system.”

Colletti overall did a solid job for the Dodgers, as he had his share of both good and bad moves.  The good included his willingness to pull the trigger on blockbuster deals such as the Adrian Gonzalez trade, as well as his shrewd signings (on the advice of Logan White) of budding stars Yasiel Puig and Hyun-Jin Ryu.  He should also get credit for holding onto the Dodgers top prospects this year, rather than dealing them for a short term fix.

On the other hand, he also had his share of bad signings, including the Juan Pierre deal, and his expensive whiff on pricey veteran relievers Brandon League, Chris Perez, and Brian Wilson, all of whom failed to perform as expected this season.

What will be interesting going forward will be to see how Friedman will be able to put together a team when he is no longer constrained by a small-market budget.

In addition, he will have to make some tough decisions soon on whether to keep shortstop Hanley Ramirez and manager Don Mattingly.  He also will need to figure out which of the Dodgers four outfielders to trade away, and how to revamp the 'pen.

Still, given the willingness of the Dodgers' ownership to spend money, and Friedman's ability to stock the farm system with young talent, the Dodgers could be positioning themselves for a long run of success in the years ahead.

By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com

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