Dodgers introduce Andrew Friedman, questions about GM spot remain

The Dodgers formally introduced Andrew Friedman, their new president of baseball operations, on Friday at Dodger Stadium. Despite having to read from a prepared speech, his first foray into the Los Angeles media went relatively well.

Friedman said all the right things — the 79 million outfielder problem is a good one to have, Don Mattingly is “definitely” going to manage the Dodgers next year and Joe Maddon works in Tampa Bay and Friedman is excited to work in Los Angeles. It really was a bunch of nothing.

After all the questions about chemistry and all other kinds of nonsense, Eric Stephen of True Blue LA asked Friedman about the player development department. Friedman said there is a list a of candidates he’s reviewing. The same can be said for the general managerial opening. Friedman said he will hire someone, but there isn’t a timetable for said hiring.

However, Jon Heyman posted an article shortly before the press conference saying former Padres’ general manager Kevin Tow … just kidding. But, former Padres’ GM Josh Byrnes is the “leading” candidate for the position. We heard the same thing through the proverbial grapevine. That would be an interesting (for lack of a better term) hire. Byrnes was fired in San Diego in June and was a once-promising/up-and-coming GM from the Theo Epstein school of decision-making. He took over for Jed Hoyer after Epstein tapped him to be the Cubs’ GM.

“Byrnes is viewed as a strong possibility to get the coveted job, as sources familiar with the situation say his experience is viewed as a plus for a storied, big-market team with heavy media coverage and add that his philosophy aligns with that of Friedman. The pair are also said to be fairly close, though a prior relationship had been less than obvious.”

I’ll be honest: Byrnes wasn’t on my list of preferred GM candidates. Hell, he probably wasn’t even in the Top 10. But, if Friedman hand-picks Byrnes to be the man to run this franchise (under his careful watch), then who am I to argue? It’s still going to be Friedman making the big decisions anyway.

And, in only the way Heyman can do:

“The Dodgers have a strong front office, with ex-GM Gerry Hunsicker a consultant and scouting director Lohan White, who drafted Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp among other stars, there as well.”

Lindsay Lohan White. Oy (hat tip to Drank). Never forget.

One question I would have liked to see asked was about White and his status with the organization. Friedman didn’t enjoy a lot of success in the draft since the Rays became a good team (you know, after not having a Top-5 pick every year). White, despite not producing a ton of impact players in recent years (thanks mostly to Frank McCourt and his terribleness), has a good track record overall as the team’s scouting director and he should be back. If a move is to be made, it should happen quickly.

Adrian Gonzalez snuck into the presser and asked Friedman about the possibility of acquiring a younger first baseman. Naturally, it drew a laugh from the people in attendance. But, Gonzalez might not be as safe as he once was. I mean, the possibility of the Dodgers trading that contract before Friedman was 0 percent. The chance of them trading it after Friedman is 0.1 percent. Not a good chance, but better than with Ned Colletti in charge.

We’ll see what happens. A GM needs to be in place soon, as does a player development head. And White’s job needs to either be secured or filled. But the offseason is starting soon, and it promises to be one of the most interesting — and possibly most active — for the Dodgers in quite some time.

About Dustin Nosler

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Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.