With the Los Angeles Dodgers entering another offseason after falling short of winning the World Series, they again face questions that extend beyond their roster. Last winter it was the contractual status of manager Dave Roberts.
Now that’s the case with president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. Hired in October 2014, his deal is set to expire this month. Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten has already made it clear the expectation is Friedman would remain with the Dodgers.
It’s messaging consistent with what Friedman and Roberts shared on a regular basis last season about the manager and organization eventually working out terms for a new contract.
In Friedman’s case, there have been recent rumblings the Boston Red Sox would pursue him to lead their baseball operations. However, belief across the league is he does not have interest in replacing Dave Dombrowski, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic:
Rival executives doubt Friedman would even consider the Sox, not when he has built such a strong foundation in Los Angeles.
The Red Sox weren’t yet a full year removed from winning a World Series when Dombrowski was somewhat surprisingly dismissed. They face questions heading into free agency and don’t appear to have much financial flexibility.
Since taking over in the Dodgers front office, Friedman has not only assembled rosters that extended the franchise’s streak to seven consecutive National League West appearances, he has simultaneously replenished and developed a top 10 farm system.
Friedman has accomplished such while also operating within the apparent goal of ownership to avoid exceeding the luxury tax threshold over recent seasons. Kasten and Friedman have denied there being an absolute mandate to not excessively spend on free agents, particularly with those seeking long-term deals.
Friedman’s most notable contracts doled out include re-signing Kenley Jansen (five years, $80 million) and Justin Turner (four years, $64 million) in the same offseason, inking Clayton Kershaw to an extension (three years, $93 million), and adding Joe Kelly (three years, $27 million) and A.J. Pollock (five years, $60 million).
Of course, both Kelly and Pollock had their share of struggles in October, which contributed to the Dodgers being eliminated by the Washington Nationals in the NL Division Series. It marks their earliest postseason exit since also falling to the New York Mets, also in five games, in the 2015 NLDS.
That played a role in Friedman and the Dodgers mutually agreeing to part ways with then-manager Don Mattingly, setting the wheels in motion for the hiring of Roberts.