After resisting overtures from other teams in years past, Friedman made the decision to leave the familiar that was Tampa Bay for a new challenge — one with grand expectations and the financial backing to reach the goals set forth.
While Friedman is a respected hire in his own right, speculation naturally led to Rays manager Joe Maddon also making the transition out west. While Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said last week he expects to return, and team president and CEO Stan Kasten said he believed Mattingly would remain as manager, he said it would ultimately be Friedman’s decision.
During his introductory news conference Friday, Friedman needed just one word when asked about Mattingly returning in 2015. “Definitely,” the new executive said. Friedman added he and Mattingly had already held discussions, which went well and he expects them to meet in the coming days.
“We’re very aligned on a lot of things philosophically and have thoroughly enjoyed those conversations,” Friedman said. “We’re going to get together next week and I’ll look forward to building that relationship.”
Friedman also addressed his longstanding relationship with Maddon, but is ready to move on and believes he’ll be working with Mattingly for years to come.
“That being said, Joe is now working with Matt Silverman [Rays president] and baseball operations people there and I’m excited about working with Donnie. I’m going into it with the mindset that we’re going to work together for a long time. I had one manager in the 10 years I’ve been doing this and I’m looking forward to working with Donnie for a long time.”
While Friedman going on record with his intentions to retain Mattingly offers more clarity on the situation, the ominous cloud and pressure hanging over the manager likely won’t subside until Maddon signs an extension with the Rays, which he intends to do; his current contract expires after the 2015 season.
Until then, Mattingly and the Dodgers may proceed as they did in 2013 — publicly stating they’ll be partnered together moving forward but understanding situations can change.
[divide] Dodgers Introduce Andrew Friedman As President Of Baseball Operations