Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman’s biggest move last winter was a trade that sent Yasiel Puig, known for flair and personality that drew many fans to him but also reportedly rubbed some teammates the wrong way, to the Cincinnati Reds.
The move was more about clearing logjams in an overcrowded Dodgers outfield and starting rotation than it was about getting value for players like Puig, Matt Kemp and Alex Wood. Though, many fans mourned the departure of such an entertaining fan favorite like Puig.
Despite that trade, Friedman has constructed a 2019 roster that still contains plenty of unique, energetic personalities.
Rookie Alex Verdugo has not been shy about competing with a flair that, like Puig, goes directly against the “old-school” way of acting on a baseball field. Walker Buehler and Rich Hill are also both known to yell and curse from the mound.
Yet, Hill has become a veteran leader on the Dodgers while Buehler and Verdugo have both won the respect of their teammates for doing the right things off the field. While speaking to SportsNet LA recently, Friedman made it clear he appreciates exuberant, energetic personalities on the Dodgers as long as the team sees some consistency:
“I think it’s great. I love personality, I love energy. For me it’s about being dependable. Dependable is preparing each day to go out and help your team win a game. Beyond that, I think having personality and some flare is great. It’s great for the fans and I think it also provides energy in our dugout. Which, a day game, or bunch of games in a row, I think it helps break up the monotony, keep us on our toes and keep that edge about us.”
When considering the players Friedman might be referring to, it is easy to see where he is coming from with his comments.
After a rough first two stints with the Dodgers, Verdugo has exceeded expectations so far in his first full season in the Majors. Buehler, meanwhile, became the team’s best pitcher in the postseason last year — as a 21-year-old rookie. After a fantastic June this year, Buehler received his first All-Star Game selection.
More recently, Friedman and the Dodgers have seen the personalities of Matt Beaty and Will Smith come out amid highlight-worthy moments in their young careers.