MLB: FEB 19 Rays Spring TrainingBefore we get to the rest of the links, the Rays have announced that Chaim Bloom and Erik Neander have been promoted to Vice President, Baseball Operations thus presumably completing the front office shake-up following the departure of Andrew Friedman.

The most important aspect of these moves is that the Rays are trying to just go with the status quo and don’t want anything to change. Most decisions in the front office were made following committee discussions and most of those voices are still with the team.

But there is one big difference that will be hard to replace.

When talking to other teams about potential deals, Friedman will no longer be on the phone and from everything we know, he was a master of negotiations.

Will Matt Silverman be able to replicate Friedman’s never-flinch style? That is the most worrisome part of the front office shake-up.

Here are some other odds and ends.

  • The Rays have signed right-handed pitcher Michael Kohn to a big league contract and added him to the 40-man roster. Kohn was up and down with the Angels this past season posting a 3.04 ERA with 26 strikeouts in 23.2 innings at the big league level.
  • “[Andrew Friedman] also got out because, after six consecutive winning seasons, five of them of 90 wins or more, he saw how the Rays are going in the wrong direction, and his stock was never going to be higher…The Tampa Bay Rays can spin it any way they want, but Andrew Friedman’s defection as their GM to the Dodgers was about a whole lot more than just tripling his salary and the opportunity to work with the biggest budget in baseball as opposed to one of the smallest. It was a concession of defeat, and no matter how everyone is spinning this one, Joe Maddon will be following Friedman out the door in St. Pete for the same reasons.” [NY Daily News]
  • Marc Topkin speculates on which minor leaguers will be added to the 40-man roster in the coming weeks. [TampaBay.com]
  • “Andrew Friedman is going to do something that infuriates [Dodgers fans]” [Dodgers Digest]
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6 Comments

  1. Gus says:

    Bill Madden is a dope. Never mind that the Rays have the best starting pitching in baseball, they have some dead money with Molina therfore last place? That just seems silly, especially when he is praising the Roylas for being young and fast. Without much choice, the Rays are going to be geeting younger here as the payroll comes back and the only options are the farm (which to me is usually a better option than Friedman's selections off of the mid-price rack at the free agent store).

    I do agree with Cork here though that unless the Rays want to change, we are going to get more of the same.

    I for one am willing to give the new GM team a chance to do better than we saw in the last years of Friedman. Of course my sneaking suspicion is that Sternberg and the limited partners have a lot more involvement in player moves than they let on and that isn't changing.

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    • Dave says:

      The Rays don't have good pitching - they have historically great pitching. And still can't play in October. That's a very badly lopsided team. Either they focus on playing a complete game or they drift into irrelevance.

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  2. Jim says:

    offer jim hickey a 5 year extension today as pitching coach, at 3 times his current salary.

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  3. Greg says:

    It's tough seeing Friedman go, however, I'm curious to see how the Rays drafting goes in the coming years. Our high draft choices have been awful for several years now and I don't know that our scouting dept. has changed much so we'll see how much of that was Friedman. It's been said before: we can't miss this badly on draft choices in our model of running a team.

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    • Gus says:

      I guess we'll be picking much higher this year, so that should (could) help the first couple of picks.

      I'd also note that under Friedman's tenure, the Rays minor league system was a mess of drug suspensions (both PED and recreational) and many of those suspensions happened to impact their top players (Beckham, Sale, Colome). They need to clean that up; those suspensions are killers in a player's development timetable, and they hurt the player's value for trades. Need to stop looking the other way there and try and figure how those suspensions are costing them big time.

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