The Los Angeles Dodgers made wholesale changes to their front office after the 2014 season by hiring Andrew Friedman to be president of baseball operations and Farhan Zaidi to be their general manager.
Friedman was widely recognized as being one of the bright young minds in baseball for the success he reached as the executive vice president of baseball operations and general manager of the Tampa Bay Rays, who are one of the small-market teams in the league that consistently have one of the lowest payrolls but still find a way to compete.
Coming over to the big-market Dodgers who were just purchased by new owners dedicated to bringing the first World Series championship to Los Angeles since 1988 was a big change for Friedman.
Dodgers president Stan Kasten revealed Friedman caught himself when realizing he needed to become familiar with the competitive-balance tax, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“He and Farhan (Zaidi, GM during Friedman’s first four seasons in L.A.) were sitting down with me in the office and something comes up about the competitive-balance tax, the CBT,” Dodgers team president Stan Kasten says. “Andrew looks at Farhan and goes, ‘Oh (shoot) – I think I have to learn those rules.’ They had no idea about those rules. It was kind of funny that he had to learn different things. “Never a factor in Tampa. Here, it’s a factor.”
The Dodgers were well over the luxury tax threshold during Friedman’s first few seasons with the team, but they went below it in 2018 and will likely stay under again in 2019. So while Friedman has spent money on players to help improve the team, he has done so in a responsible manner to put the organization in a good position moving forward.
This past offseason alone the Dodgers had the opportunity to spend big on top free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado but instead decided to trust the young players they have within the organization. The strategy has led to a strong start to the 2019 season.
Since Friedman came over, the Dodgers organization has enjoyed a tremendous amount of success, including winning the National League West in all four seasons and advancing to the World Series in the last two.
Zaidi moved on this past season to become the president of baseball operations of the rival San Francisco Giants, leaving Friedman as the main voice in the Dodgers front office.