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11/04/08 1:20 AM EST

Rays' Friedman tabbed Exec of Year

Sporting News recognizes Tampa Bay's improbable rise

DANA POINT, Calif. -- For orchestrating one of the most remarkable success stories in the history of Major League Baseball, Andrew Friedman of the Tampa Bay Rays is The Sporting News' choice as Executive of the Year for 2008.

The award was announced on Monday night during a dinner at the launch of the General Managers Meetings at St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort.

Friedman, executive vice president of baseball operations, made all the right moves for manager Joe Maddon as the Rays rose from last to first in the American League East, amazing insiders all year with their dynamic, consistent play. Their 97-65 record was the league's second best, behind the Angels' 100-62.

The Rays eliminated the White Sox in the AL Division Series, 3-1, and prevailed in seven memorable games against reigning champion Boston in the AL Championship Series before falling in five games to Philadelphia in the World Series.

Friedman kept the young nucleus of his talented roster essentially intact while pulling off a major offseason deal with Minnesota that brought shortstop Jason Bartlett and starter Matt Garza to solidify the defense and the rotation. A role was found for Willy Aybar, whose play during the absence of third baseman Evan Longoria was vital down the stretch.

Bartlett and Garza were vital performers all season and through the postseason, where B.J. Upton and Longoria emerged as stars with their explosive hitting and tremendous defense as young anchors of an emerging powerhouse.

Before assuming his current position, Friedman spent two years as the Rays' director of baseball development. He had been an analyst with New York City-based investment firm Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. for two years, and he spent three years as an associate for the private equity firm MidMark Capital.

Friedman accepted a baseball scholarship to Tulane University, graduating with a bachelor of science in management and a concentration in finance. He played outfield for the Green Wave until injuring his wrist and shoulder.

A native of Texas, Friedman currently resides in Tampa, Florida.

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.