David Laurila of Baseball Prospectus recently interviewed Andrew Friedman about many of the Rays’ organizational philosophies, the importance of specific individuals and true to the team’s M.O., he skirted a number of topics…
On Joe Maddon:
One of Joe’s biggest strengths is his ability to relate to each player on the team. He appreciates that there are 25 players with 25 personalities, and he approaches each one of them personally. He gets to know them, he cares about them, and he is very good at motivating them and getting the most out of them performance-wise…He is a student of the game who isn’t afraid to try new things. One of Joe’s pet phrases is “Tell me what you think, not what you’ve heard.” It is something he employs in his life, and he challenges every person in the clubhouse to approach the game the same way.
On Don Zimmer:
There’s no substitute for institutional knowledge…Zim has forgotten more about the game than most know about it, and he hasn’t forgotten much. He’s a great resource for our clubhouse. With the experience that he can draw from, he’s been a great sounding board for some of our younger players.
On Branch Rickey:
There are a few people responsible for major shifts and progress within the industry, and Branch Rickey is at or near the top of that list. He was an early pioneer in a lot of respects, and his actions led directly to changes throughout the game and industry. The thought process that he had and the ways he sought to create competitive advantages are things we strive to achieve.
On which defensive metric is most valued by the Rays:
For the most part, defensively, we do things in house. The way that we go about trying to evaluate defense is proprietary…
On the Rays’ draft philosophy:
I think that, definitely, [drafting the best player available] is the approach that most teams employ, but for us, we factor in a lot of other things as well, in terms of overall player procurement, and which type of players we feel are more fungible and which types of players we feel are most difficult to acquire. We place a premium on those types of players. We also factor in the international market. Simply said, all of those things contribute, philosophically, to how we approach things.
Prospectus Q&A [Baseball Prospectus]