Dodgers: Andrew Friedman has One of the Best Minds in Baseball
By Hector Ponce
The Dodgers have spoiled fans with their greatness over the last few seasons. The only thing left to do is earn a World Series title for the first time since 1988. One big reason for this greatness is Andrew Friedman. Everything he has done for this team proves he has one of the best minds in baseball.
Andrew Friedman came to the Dodgers and was able to complete an incredible feat in his tenure with the Dodgers. He managed to rebuild this team without fans feeling like the team was rebuilding.
Friedman was brought in to do one job. Lower the team payroll and eventually get under the luxury tax threshold. The Dodgers were good, but they were also old and littered with bad contracts. Friedman was no stranger to being tight with money. In his time with the small market Tampa Bay Rays, Friedman was able to help them compete on a budget.
He used that knowledge and was able to apply it to the Dodgers. The “Yankees West” mentality was quickly gone once Friedman took over. The first thing he did when getting to town was make a statement. He traded fan favorite Matt Kemp.
Not only did he trade away that bad contract, he also managed to acquire an all-star catcher at the same time. That was just step one of the process. Teams understand the struggle when it comes to rebuilding a squad. However, the Dodgers managed to rebuild all the while continuing their dominance of the West and getting to 2 consecutive World Series’.
In the NBA the Philadelphia 76ers had a catchy phrase to go along with their rebuild. “Trust the process”. This was essentially a tactic used to keep fans at ease while the team was horrendous. They were telling their fans, they were going to be bad for a while but just trust the process and they will be good once again.
Although the idea of tanking is more prevalent in the NBA, teams in the MLB also follow a similar path. Teams like the Cubs and Astros were God awful before eventually getting the payoff of a title. The Phillies and Braves are 2 more NL teams that were bad for a while and now could make some real noise in 2019.
That’s the difference between those teams and the Dodgers. They had to be bad before they were good. Now the Dodgers are in just as good of a spot if not better and their fans did not have to deal with 100 loss seasons. Not that 2 consecutive losses in the World Series feels any better, but the fact that they were competitive while rebuilding is unheard of.
The idea of a rebuild, is a team will be bad for 3-5 years, get good draft picks, dump good players for prospects and wait for that young crop to be ready. Teams that are in the hunt usually unload major prospects for good players and hurt their future.
Now the Dodgers young core not only is ready, but they have significant playoff experience. A core of Buehler-Seager-Bellinger can stand up against any other group of young core players. The young core is now ready and the Dodgers window will not be closing anytime soon.
Friedman accomplished his goal of getting under the luxury tax. Now he has money to work with and a plethora of prospects to deal or stash. A lot of teams have one or the other. The Dodgers have both thanks to the brilliance of Friedman.
The team could have been a flash in the pan if Friedman decided to unload some of these pieces for veterans in an effort to go after a title immediately. Friedman has still made big moves to help the team win a title.
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He is not just giving up on a team and standing pat. Friedman made moves in an effort to win a title he just did so in a smart and calculated way. Imagine giving up Corey Seager for Cole Hamels and still coming up short.
Friedman is in no way stingy when it comes to prospects. If the deal is right, he makes it. He traded top prospects for rentals in Josh Redick, Yu Darvish and Manny Machado in an effort to win a title.
In fact, in an article by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Rosenthal stated team’s reluctance to make a deal with the Dodgers. Rosenthal said teams provide with much more caution than usual when dealing with Friedman. This is because Friedman usually makes the right move and teams are fearful of being out negotiated by the Dodgers President of Baseball Operations.
Now with his young core ready and money to blow, Friedman is as dangerous as ever. Los Angeles fans know what dysfunction looks and feels like. Angelinos had to deal with the Frank McCourt debacle and the grease fire that was the Lakers for the past few seasons before Magic and Pelinka took over.
Friedman has spoiled fans, he has kept them from experiencing non-competitive seasons while rebuilding the structure of the team. That in of itself makes him one of the best mind in baseball. The only thing missing now is a title and the team is set up to be in the hunt for a very long time because the window does not seem to be shutting anytime soon thanks to Friedman