The Dodgers’ poaching of Andrew Friedman
The Dodgers named Andrew Friedman their President, Baseball Operations on Tuesday. (Associated Press photo)
from the Tampa Bay Rays’ front office produced a predictable ripple effect in Florida. Call it somewhere between a minor tsunami and a major tidal wave.
How big is losing Friedman to the Rays? “It’s a huge loss,” said the man who’s replacing Friedman, Matt Silverman. Silverman also called the announcement “difficult and emotional.”
Tampa Tribune columnist Martin Fennelly writes that owner Stuart Sternberg — not Friedman, not manager Joe Maddon — is the linchpin to the Rays’ small-market success. Yet another local scribe called Friedman “the Rays’ MVP.”
Mark Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times compiled a list of Friedman’s best and worst transactions as the Rays’ GM.
Dodgers reliever J.P. Howell pitched for the Tampa Bay Rays from 2006-12. (Getty Images)
When J.P. Howell was traded to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2006, he was a “failing starter” making the major league minimum. When he left as free agent to sign with the Dodgers before this season, he was a southpaw specialist pitching out of the bullpen and making $2.85 million.
So there really are no sore feelings toward the Rays, the Dodgers’ opponent this weekend.
James Loney was drafted 19th overall by the Dodgers in 2002, and played in Los Angeles from 2006-12. (Getty Images)
Dodgers pitcher J.P. Howell
and Tampa Bay Rays first baseman James Loney
were sitting in opposite clubhouses Friday. They were never traded for each other, but they have effectively swapped spots: Loney appeared in parts of seven seasons for the Dodgers from 2006-12, while Howell pitched for the Rays from 2006-12.
Both said the same thing about playing in Tampa.
“You always want to be yourself. (Manager Joe Maddon) is real big on that,” Loney said.
Howell elaborated: “Sometimes where people [on other teams] give up on (players), they go to Tampa and they get another chance, and they’re allowed freedom to be themselves, create who they want to be when they first started their career. … That’s what happened in my case.”
That seems to be the case with Loney, too.