The worst kept secret in Houston is new owner Jim Crane’s infatuation with Andrew Friedman, and Crane’s desire to hire Friedman to be the Astros next General Manager.

John Romano tackles this issue, and nicely lays out all the reasons Friedman would choose to stay with the Rays…

Friedman will stay because he will never find another working relationship quite like the one he has with Silverman and Sternberg. It is not just that he has autonomy, which he does. And it is not just that the three arrived with similar work backgrounds, which they did…The key is that they think alike. They share philosophical views. They are comfortable with one another, and that exists on a level well beyond the boxscore…So, no, I don’t think Friedman is looking for a greener lawn.

Romano goes on to speculate that the “only wild card” might be if Crane offers Friedman an ownership stake.

But wait. Romano also conveniently ignores the most important factor of all. This card is so big, it is not even wild.

Money.

It is unknown how much money Friedman makes with the Rays. But let’s assume he makes something in the neighborhood of $500 thousand per year.

Brian Cashman of the Yankees makes $2 million a year to manage a $200 million payroll. And Theo Epstein makes $1.5 million per year to manage a $160 million payroll. Both of those GMs are being paid about $500 thousand per $50 million in payroll.

Now let’s assume that Crane is really in love with Friedman. We mean, really in love. Like, the wallpaper on his iPhone is a picture of World B. Friedman with a big heart around it.

And let’s say Crane really wants to make a big splash in his first off-season, only there is no one player that will instantly make the Astros contenders. Does he give Free Agent X $15 million per year even though he wants the Astros to be analysis-driven like the Rays? Or does he offer to make Friedman the highest paid GM in baseball.

Let’s say $3 million per season. Considering what Friedman can do. That is a bargain. That is also a 500 percent raise over what Friedman is (hypothetically) making with the Rays now.

We don’t care if Friedman has Stuart Sternberg’s name tattooed on his buttcheek and “I Heart Matt Silverman” on the other. How many people do you know that will turn down a 500 percent raise?

If we were offered a 500 percent raise to go blog about pregnant primordial dwarfs that can’t get to rehab because their front door is blocked by 20 years of magazines and newspapers, you bet your ass we’d take the job.

So why wouldn’t Friedman go home and run his childhood team that sells tickets and plays in a beautiful ballpark? We’d all like to think that Friedman and Sternberg are like Frodo and Samwise, with some unbreakable bond.

But let’s face it, everybody has a price.

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11 Comments

  1. Don says:

    Your right on.... WHat guys like Romano don't understand these are "money" guys(wallstreet).... personal (working)relationships are nice but Friedman wants the Money
    Like Romano wouldn't be at the TRib. for $100.00 more per week, greatly increasing his salary..

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  2. Beth says:

    Who, other than John Romano, thinks that Friedman can't be lured away from the Rays? Of course he can.

    As long as Sternberg knows, and is willing to pay for, his value, we're fine.

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  3. rayalan says:

    There is a goal here that cannot be duplicated anywhere else, that would be amazingly satisfying. Can you imagine how satisfying it would be to win a World Series working under the many constraints this team has. Once that is accomplished then it might be a temptation. Until then I would be surprised to see him leave this challenge. It would be without precedent in all of sports and that my friends is worth more than money to many people, and I feel like Friedman is one of them.

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    • Don says:

      Have you ever known anyone who worked and make mega bucks on wallstreet... thats not how they think....WHy do you think Stuie is so tight with payroll...let me tell you... Making money is FIRST with these guys..Winning the WS would be a great accomplishment for them but making lots of money comes first...the offer will be the deciding factor..

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    • Mike says:

      I think we all want those that we root for to feel this way, but it is not often that those people actually feel that way. Just ask Cleveland Cavalier fans.

      Sure, getting the Rays to the top would be a monumental achievement. But at what point does it become impossible, or nearly so? Wouldnt taking the Astros, Friedman's childhood team, to the top also be a grand challenge? They are the worst team in baseball with no farm system.

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  4. John Romano says:

    Um, I typically try not to respond to criticism because, well, I'm kind of in the criticism business myself and so I figure it comes with the territory. But in this case, I feel like the column is being misrepresented so I just want to clear a few things up. I did not "conveniently'' ignore money. The whole point of bringing up Crane as a wild card and wondering about the possibility of ownership stake is a direct acknowledgement that money could be the tipping point. That a financial windfall would be hard to ignore. I didn't get into specific salary issues because I think Sternberg is going to be willing to pay Friedman whatever the going rate might be.
    What would concern me is if Crane went beyond typical salary structure. And, Beth, I never said he couldn't be lured away. I said I don't think it is his preference to leave, and I don't think he is shopping himself. I did say that Crane's offer could change things. Do I know all of these things for certain? Not at all. But I have spoken to a lot of people, and feel this is a pretty well informed opinion. I could be wrong. And, obviously, anyone is more than welcome to disagree. I just get a little disheartened when I feel the column is being misrepresented. Thanks for listening. (And thanks for not calling me an $#^%@&. Usually by 11:30 a.m. I've been called that in several different inventive ways.)

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    • Beth says:

      Thanks for the clarification, John.

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    • Don says:

      and now.....on to baseball...

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    • Mike says:

      But an ownership stake is a fairly extreme and unlikely event. Isn't that move typically reserved for somebody that is already "in the family," so to speak? Maybe somebody else can come up with an example, but I can't think of an owner offering up part of the team to a player or executive as a way of luring that person to the team.

      And I think what Prof is saying is that it doesn't need to be that complicated.

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      • John Romano says:

        You're right. It is rare. And Crane might not go that direction. He made just back up a Brinks truck. There are tons of scenarios out there. I don't have a problem if someone thinks my scenario is unlikely. I only commented because I felt the column was being mischaracterized.

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  5. John Romano says:

    Ooops. Meant to say "may'' just back up a Brinks truck.

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