Friedman Tops Angels’ List, Met With Moreno

3:52pm: Rosenthal's sources are skeptical that Friedman would leave the Rays. One said "he's not going" (Twitter link). Scott Miller of CBS Sports notes that Friedman has a stake in the Rays (Twitter link).

2:32pm: Friedman is the Angels' top choice, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).

2:02pm: Andrew Friedman, the Rays' executive VP of baseball operations, recently dined with Angels owner Arte Moreno and team president John Carpino, according to Jason Collette of DRaysBayMark Saxon of confirms that Moreno and Carpino met with Friedman in Florida this week. The Angels, who are searching for a new general manager, also interviewed Yankees scouting director Damon Oppenheimer.

Yesterday's reports indicate that the Angels will also interview Tory Hernandez from their own baseball operations department along with Kim Ng of MLB, Rick Hahn of the White Sox, Billy Eppler of the Yankees and Jerry Dipoto of the Diamondbacks (Saxon hears that Ng's unlikely to get the job). The Angels also appear to be interested in Thad Levine, the Rangers' assistant GM.

Though the Rays operate with one of the smallest payrolls in the game, they've reached the playoffs in three of the past four seasons under Friedman, who became the team's executive VP of baseball operations in 2005. The Angels are in direct competition with the Orioles. Baltimore is searching for a GM and has interviewed Dipoto.

The Angels and Rays face different offseason challenges, but both are poised to contend in 2012.

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