Executive Vice President, Baseball Operations
The six consecutive winning seasons and four playoff appearances since 2008 while working with a payroll that ranked 27th in major league baseball no doubt top Andrew Friedman's list of accomplishments in his eight years as Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Yet, those amazing numbers don't begin to measure the impact he has had on major league baseball.
Wrote ESPN's Tim Kurkjian, echoing the sentiment of many throughout the game: "His emphasis on scouting and player development, his ability to piece together a contending team every year despite limited financial resources and his astute use of sabermetrics have made the Rays an organization that others try to emulate, though usually without nearly as much success. Five years ago, the Rays were the only team that employed significant defensive shifts. Now, every team uses them, just another trend in the game that began in part with Andrew Friedman."
In its latest measurement, Bloomberg Businessweek named the Rays the "smartest spenders" among the 122 MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL franchises. It isn't difficult to see why. The Rays won the 2008 AL pennant with a payroll that ranked 29th out of 30 major league clubs as Friedman was named Sporting News Executive of the Year. At 31, he was the youngest to win the award in its 72-year history. Of the 27 Rays players eligible for postseason that year, 20 were acquired after Friedman's arrival.
The Rays repeated as AL East champs in 2010, again besting teams with an average payroll twoto- four times that of their own. In 2011, despite losing their seven highest paid players and the entire bullpen from the year before, the Rays pulled off the greatest September comeback in league history and won the AL Wild Card on the last day of the season. Last season, the Rays advanced to the American League Division Series with an Opening Day payroll that ranked 28th.
Through the use of carefully reasoned, and sometimes unconventional strategies, and a heavy emphasis on scouting and player development, Friedman has built what many in baseball consider a model for sustained success. Friedman and Manager Joe Maddon enter their ninth season together, longer than any current general managermanager duo. In the 2000s, only four other pairs were together longer: John Schuerholz and Bobby Cox with Atlanta (1991-2007), Walt Jocketty and Tony LaRussa with St. Louis (1995-2007), Brian Cashman and Joe Torre with New York (1998- 2007) and Kevin Towers and Bruce Bochy with San Diego (1996-2006).
Friedman has engineered 53 trades that have turned over the major league roster and improved the minor league system. The Rays current 40- man roster features 21 players whom Friedman has acquired via trade. Amazingly, in his eight years, he has acquired 10 players either through trades, free agent signings or the draft who have made their first All-Star Team with the Rays: Jason Bartlett, Matt Joyce, Evan Longoria, Matt Moore, Dioner Navarro, Carlos Peña, David Price, Fernando Rodney, Rafael Soriano and Ben Zobrist.
This past offseason, Friedman made a number of significant additions to the organization. In January, the Rays awarded two of the three largest free agent contracts given by the current ownership group under Stuart Sternberg. First baseman James Loney—the team's leading hitter in 2013— signed a three-year, $21 million contract, and 2013 All-Star closer Grant Balfour returned to the Rays for $12 million for two years after three years with Oakland. In December, Friedman conducted his first three-team trade getting catcher Ryan Hanigan from the Cincinnati Reds and veteran reliever Heath Bell from the Arizona Diamondbacks. In January, the Rays acquired five players, including infielder Logan Forsythe and reliever Brad Boxberger, from the San Diego Padres in a sevenplayer deal. The Rays also retained veteran free agents Jose Molina and David DeJesus by signing them to multi-year deals.
On the international front, the Rays have significantly increased their presence in Latin America with an expanded scouting staff and training facilities in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Colombia. The Rays have also expanded their efforts in Europe and Asia.
In December 2011, Friedman was named to MLB's eight-person International Talent Committee responsible for discussing the development and acquisition of international players.
Prior to assuming his current role, Friedman spent two years with the Rays serving as director of baseball development. His previous experience includes two years as an analyst with New York City-based investment firm Bear, Stearns & Co., Inc. and three years as an associate for the private equity firm MidMark Capital.
Friedman received a baseball scholarship to Tulane University, where he graduated with a bachelor of science in management with a concentration in finance. He played outfield for the Green Wave before injuring his shoulder. Andrew and his wife, Robin, reside in St. Petersburg with their two young sons, Ethan Jack and Zachary Evan.