Andrew Friedman Rumors

Latest On Astros’ GM Search: Friedman, Picollo

The Astros will interview Rockies assistant GM Bill Geivett for their general manager job, but Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine withdrew his name from consideration. Here's the latest on Houston's search:

  • Rays executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman declined to address the Astros' interest in him, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times (on Twitter). The Astros have obtained permission to speak to Friedman.
  • Royals assistant GM J.J. Picollo is drawing attention from the Astros as a GM candidate, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star (on Twitter).

Astros Obtain Permission To Interview Friedman

The Astros obtained permission to interview Rays executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, according to Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle. The Astros have asked to interview a handful of candidates, but Friedman, a Houston native, is clearly their top choice, according to Justice. The team dismissed GM Ed Wade less than two weeks after owner Jim Crane completed his purchase of the franchise.

Thad Levine and A.J. Preller of the Rangers are believed to be under consideration for the GM job as well. However, former Astros GM Gerry Hunsicker, who now works with Friedman and the Rays, will not be interviewed. Astros president and CEO George Postolos has explained that he's looking for a GM with a strong commitment to player development who can develop 'one of the top farm systems in baseball.'

It's not the first time a team with a GM opening has expressed interest in Friedman. This offseason alone, the Cubs, Orioles and Angels appeared to have some interest in the 35-year-old. It's "very unlikely" that Friedman will leave Tampa Bay, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times.


Latest On Orioles’ GM Search: Friedman, Hahn

Orioles director of player development John Stockstill and Dodgers assistant GM De Jon Watson are candidates to become Baltimore's next GM, but they aren't alone. Jerry Dipoto is now the Angels' GM and Tony LaCava turned down an offer from the Orioles to remain in Toronto, so the Orioles are expanding their search. Here's the latest, with the most recent updates up top:

  • The Orioles would like to interview Dodgers GM Ned Colletti if he leaves Los Angeles, according to Kubatko.
  • The Orioles have requested permission to interview Andrew Friedman of the Rays, Rick Hahn of the White Sox and Mike Radcliff of the Twins, according to Kubatko (on Twitter).
  • Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun explains that the Orioles haven't yet contacted the Rangers about executives such as Thad Levine or A.J. Preller. Connolly suggests former Red Sox GM Dan Duquette and current Yankees scouting director Damon Oppenheimer could be candidates for the position.
  • Scott Proefrock, the Phillies' assistant GM, will interview for the Orioles' GM vacancy, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Proefrock is the Orioles' former assistant GM.
  • LaCava said his decision to stay in Toronto was about the Blue Jays, not the Orioles. But Danny Knobler of CBS Sports hears that his decision was about the Orioles. LaCava wanted to make front office changes that owner Peter Angelos refused to approve, according to Knobler. LaCava would have obtained a competitive salary from the Orioles.
  • Knobler hears that Watson and Stockstill are “very unlikely” to be offered the job.
  • Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com, who reported this morning that the Orioles are expanding their search, notes that manager Buck Showalter and director of baseball operations Matt Klentak are handling the front office responsibilities for now.
  • Kubatko adds that the Orioles have contacted the Rays, White Sox, Twins and Phillies for permission to interview GM candidates from the teams' front offices.
  • For a complete look at MLBTR's GM Candidates, click here. Two people on the list, Jerry Dipoto (#1) and Ben Cherington (#4), have already landed GM jobs.


Angels Would Make Friedman Team President

The Angels are prepared to offer Andrew Friedman a position as club president, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times. Despite their strong interest, the Angels don’t appear to have much of a chance of obtaining him from the Rays, according to DiGiovanna. The Angels, who met with Friedman last week, would hire a second executive to be the team’s general manager if the 34-year-old joins their baseball operations department.

The Angels have interviewed Jerry Dipoto of the Diamondbacks, Damon Oppenheimer and Billy Eppler of the Yankees, Rick Hahn of the White Sox and former GM Omar Minaya for the position. Kim Ng of MLB will interview this week and the Angels hope to interview Thad Levine of the Rangers after the World Series ends, according to DiGiovanna. Former GM Dan Evans also intrigues owner Arte Moreno and team president John Carpino.

The Angels asked for permission to interview Al Avila of the Tigers and Dan Jennings of the Marlins, but were denied. Los Angeles' new GM will have the authority to hire a new assistant GM, player personnel director and farm director, according to DiGiovanna.

The Angels are in direct competition with the Orioles, who interviewed Dipoto for their GM vacancy. For a complete look at the moves Friedman has made in Tampa Bay, check out MLBTR's Transaction Tracker.


Heyman On Friedman, Darvish, Yankees

With the general manager carousel moving at full speed and free agency approaching quickly, there are plenty of rumors in Major League Baseball. Jon Heyman weighed in today at SI.com; here are some highlights: 

  • Heyman’s sources doubt the Angels would waste Andrew Friedman’s time if they weren’t prepared to offer him a job. However, someone close to Friedman doubts he would leave the Rays. Friedman tops the Angels’ long list of GM candidates.
  • One general manager expects C.J. Wilson to sign a deal worth $75MM over five years.
  • Yu Darvish is undecided about making the jump to MLB, but he’ll be in line for lots of money if he does make the leap. One general manager suggested Darvish would cost about $100MM between his contract and his posting fee and another GM agrees that he’ll cost “big bucks.”
  • The Yankees and GM Brian Cashman are making progress in their discussions about a new contract.
  • Free agent starter Freddy Garcia is popular with the Yankees’ front office and could return in 2012. The right-hander barely qualifies as a Type B free agent, according to our rankings.

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 ESPNLosAngeles.com 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.


Sternberg On Maddon, Friedman, Payroll

Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg discussed his team’s "wonderfully improbable” playoff run with reporters tonight and Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times has the details, plus some personnel and payroll notes on the team:

  • Sternberg says he expects manager Joe Maddon to return to Tampa Bay after his contract expires in 2012.
  • No teams have asked permission to talk to Rays executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman about job opportunities elsewhere, according to Sternberg. “Andrew is a partner here, he’s a partner of mine,” he said. “And he treats this organization even better than I possibly can. There's nothing to report on that.” 
  • Sternberg didn’t expect the Rays to be last in attendance, so there’s no guarantee payroll will rise above $41MM in 2012. "I don't know, but we’ve clearly fallen short on our financial projections,” he said.
  • There’s nothing new in terms of the Rays’ quest for a new stadium.

Cubs Interested In Friedman, Colletti, Cashman

Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts has been gathering information about Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. The Cubs, who are on the hunt for a new general manager, also appear to have interest in Rick Hahn of the White Sox and Josh Byrnes of the Padres.

The Cubs are drawn to Colletti, a Chicago native and former Cubs employee, since they believe he could bring Hall of Fame second baseman turned minor league manager Ryne Sandberg back as the team’s Major League skipper. Sandberg has said he’d return to the Cubs now that former GM Jim Hendry has been fired, according to Wittenmyer.

Ricketts has also discussed the possibility of trying to lure Yankees GM Brian Cashman to Chicago along with New York manager Joe Girardi. Cashman’s contract expires after the season, but Girardi, a Peoria, Illinois native, is under contract with the Yankees through 2013.

Wittenmyer hears from associates of Friedman that the Rays executive isn’t likely to leave Tampa Bay for Chicago.


Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Braves, Rangers, Rays, Haren

The Phillies won their second World Series in franchise history two years ago today, beating the Rays in the first suspended game in series history. Game Five started on October 27th, 2008, and the two clubs played to a 2-2 tie through the first five and a half innings before rain forced the suspension. The game didn't resume until October 29th due to the weather, but when it finallly did the Phillies outscored Tampa 2-1 the rest of the way for a 4-3 final score.

There's no weather-related delay for these links; here's the best from around the web this week…

If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.


GM Initiation: Andrew Friedman

Andrew Friedman was promoted to Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations of the Rays on November 3rd, 2005.  Fun fact: I wrote MLBTR's first post the next day.  Friedman struck his first deal about a month later, acquiring third baseman Sean Burroughs from the Padres for pitcher Dewon Brazelton.  Both were former first-round draft picks.  As part of the deal, the Rays used their Rule 5 pick on pitcher Steve Andrade and sent him to the Padres as well.  Another fun fact: Dan Uggla was chosen by the Marlins in that same Rule 5 draft.

Friedman kindly answered a few questions for MLBTR about his first trade.

MLB Trade Rumors: Burroughs had a decent chance of being non-tendered had he remained with the Padres.  Did you consider retaining Brazelton and waiting to see whether Burroughs hit the free agent market?  Would the Rays have tendered Brazelton a contract?

Andrew Friedman: When you plan to acquire an arbitration-eligible player, you always have to look at the possibility that he might be non-tendered, and work through the implications if he is.  It made sense, where we were as an organization at that time, to look for upside, and Burroughs was a player with significant upside – a young third baseman with defensive ability and a great pedigree who had shown a lot of promise with the bat in his minor league career.  We had a player whom the Padres liked and who didn't fit into our plans, so it made sense to pursue a swap before the tender date.

MLBTR: You described this as a "classic change-of-scenery trade."  Why do you think that change failed to produce results for either principal player? 

Friedman: Like most "change-of-scenery" trades, this one involved players who had struggled to live up to their tools.  That happens an awful lot – it's a hard game, and if success were as simple as switching uniforms, you'd see it a lot more often.  We've had a few instances here where a change of scenery yielded tremendous results, but most of the time, it doesn't work despite everybody's best efforts.  It's very difficult, no matter your physical ability, to have a long, successful major league career. 

MLBTR: This was the one deal struck by the Rays at your first Winter Meetings in Dallas.  How would you describe your Meetings experience as a rookie?

Friedman: The first time is always a learning experience.  You're still meshing as a front office, and still getting to know many of the other GM's.  In my case, I'd been with the organization for a couple of years before taking this job, and that made the transition more seamless.  I had a good grasp of our own personnel, both in the front office and on the field.  That was a big help but it was still an adjustment.  We felt good about what we did there and the lessons we took from it, and we continue to adjust and refine our processes every year.

MLBTR: Shortly after the Brazelton trade, another former first-round pick, Josh Hamilton, cleared waivers.  Were you surprised no one made a claim?

Friedman: It was not a surprise.  We all know Josh's talent but it was more of a procedural move as he was still on the restricted list. 

MLBTR: When you make a trade, do you want to see your former player have success with his new team?  If your end of the deal doesn't pay off, do you prefer the other team's doesn't either?

Friedman: Once we make a trade, we're most invested in the success of the players we've acquired.  But we don't root against those we’ve traded away as we've had so many great relationships with our players over the years.

Thanks to Andrew Friedman for contributing.  Ned Colletti, Neal Huntington, Jon Daniels, and Josh Byrnes have also participated in the GM Initiation series.