When the Los Angeles Dodgers hired Andrew Friedman as president of baseball operations, many wondered how the former head of the Tampa Bay Rays front office would operate with newfound resources at his disposal.
After five seasons with the Dodgers, Friedman’s actions have been a mixed bag. Yes, he’s prioritized retaining top prospects and sought out diamonds in the rough. But Friedman has also completed trades for Yu Darvish and Manny Machado.
Despite the splashes in back-to-back years, Friedman is perceived as being unwilling to make a bold move — specifically in free agency. The Dodgers regularly are connected to the top players available but with that has come a finish on the outside looking in.
Though acknowledging end results, Friedman explained why he believes perception doesn’t equal reality in the Dodgers’ failure to sign a marquee free agent during his tenure, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“I think there’s an outcome-based narrative of how things have happened versus things that we’ve tried,” Friedman said at the GM Meetings last month, denying that the Dodgers have a philosophical aversion to making the commitment it takes to land a star free agent of the Cole-Strasburg-Rendon level. “So we’ve tried to do certain things that haven’t worked out that maybe would have fallen more into that. In some instances, we’re glad it didn’t happen and in some instances, we wish it would have.
“I think for us, and I know it sounds like a cliché, but we really don’t have any hard-and-fast rules. We’re not opposed to any form of player acquisition. I think it’s just important to maintain some discipline whether it’s on the trade front or the free-agent market to find what works best for us.”
This winter the Dodgers are said to have interest in Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg. Competition for each player is strong, and with Cole, the New York Yankees may be on the verge of extending a record-breaking contract offer.
Some believe Rendon may be seeking a contract that is built on salary and not necessarily length, which would fit well with Friedman’s philosophy. The Dodgers reportedly attempted to entice Bryce Harper with a short-term contract that was built on a high average annual value.
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