Andrew Friedman‘s end-of-season press conference came a bit earlier than everyone hoped. He spoke to the media at Dodger Stadium on Monday and while he did his level best to not answer questions specifically — you know, like almost all executives — a couple bits of news came out of it.
That’s right. Friedman’s first contract with the Dodgers was for five years and $35 million, and that came about five years ago. Because an extension hadn’t happened yet and with Farhan Zaidi leaving last winter, some wondered if Friedman would be back. The Boston Red Sox have a somewhat intriguing front office opening at present. Alas, it seems Friedman is going to stay. And no matter what you’ll read on Twitter, this is a good thing. Which brings me to this:
First, yes, it sucks that there’s no line for “World Series title” on this list, but the most frustrating thing for Dodger fans is the last line. None of us really, honestly, care that Friedman has been able to reduce payroll by 38 percent. That’s money in ownership’s pocket. That doesn’t enhance the fan experience and does absolutely nothing for us — it isn’t our money. The fact that an MLB.com employee singled that out as an accomplishment shouldn’t be surprising, yet it kinda is.
With the Dodgers heading into a pivotal offseason with at least two huge free agents available (Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon) and the fact that LA has been on the cusp of a title for the last handful of seasons, the last thing fans want to hear about is Mark Walter and Co. pocketing some extra cash.
The other big piece of news — which was kind of expected — is this.
Rick Honeycutt has been the Dodgers’ pitching coach since 2006. In that time, Dodger pitching sits at or near the top of every important pitching category. Sure, it’s been nice to have the kind of talent necessary (Chad Billingsley, Zack Greinke, Kenley Jansen, Clayton Kershaw, Hiroki Kuroda, Derek Lowe, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Takashi Saito, etc.) to accomplish such a feat, but Honeycutt’s importance and value to the organization over the last 14 years has been immeasurable.
He’s transitioning to a front office position — something that should be much less stressful on his surgically repaired back. In his place, Mark Prior will take the reigns. Perhaps the “best” pitching prospect ever, Prior couldn’t stay healthy as a player but has found a niche as a coach. If he can come anywhere close to Honeycutt’s level of success, that would be grand.
A couple other notes of significance include the fact that the Dodgers might lose Bob Geren to a managerial job. He should be a fairly hot commodity with so many managerial vacancies.
The other is while Jansen is penciled in as the Dodgers’ closer for 2020 (should he not opt-out), that could change depending on performance. Friedman didn’t go into detail other than to say things could change. Stay tuned.