This is All Andrew Friedman’s Fault

… and Scott Boras is apt put out a hit on Andrew at any time. Andrew should consider getting Secret Service protection.  Currently, the Secret Service protects the most hated man in the America and Friedman is currently the most hated man among agents.

What?  Who?  Why?

The lack of movement in the Hot Stove League, especially among the upper-echelon free agents falls squarely at the feet of one Andrew Friedman.  Yes, he’s the culprit.  He did it.  He caused this stalemate between agents and MLB teams.  Soon, the free agents are going to start shouting that the owners and GM’s are colluding so as to not pay their clients and preventing the agents from getting some really great commissions from those contracts…. and it’s all Andrew Friedman’s fault!

You see, when Friedman came to the Dodgers three years ago, he made some sweeping changes, but he was loathe to hand out big deals to Free Agents.  Not counting Hector Olivera (one of Friedman’s mistakes), who was soon traded for a nice return, Andrew has not given out a free agent contract of more than $48 million to anyone except his own Free Agents… and none of those have even approached $90 million.

The results have been nothing short of spectacular!   The farm system has been rebuilt and is flourishing, but since he was hired, the Dodgers have went a step further each year:

  • 2015 – NLDS
  • 2016 – NLCS
  • 2017 – World Series

Now, they have to win it all in 2018 to show progress… but I digress!While other teams were signing big free agent deals for hundreds and hundreds of millions, the Dodgers were trading for players like Chris Taylor and signing players like Brandon Morrow.  Sure, FAZ made some blunders… like McCarthy and Kazmir, but not too many zeros were attached to their names.

Friedman has been swindled, as has every baseball President or GM, but he has managed to minimize the damage by not giving out nine figure long-term contracts like these:

  • Gioncarlo Stanton – $325 Million
  • David Price – $217 Million
  • Zack Greinke  – $206 Million
  • Jason Heyward – $184 Million (even the great Theo Epstien got swindled)

Look at the complete list atCot’s Contractsand you might conclude that huge, unconscionable,  outlandish, insane, moronic, stupid contracts are usually not the path to success… actually it might be the path to failure.

Andrew Friedman knows that, lives that and preaches that.  Other teams are seeing what the Dodgers and Astros have done and are now loathe to make dope-fiend moves such as signing Yu Darvish for $180 million, signing JD Martinez for $200 million, signing Jake Arrieta for $150 million and on and on!

Andrew Friedman did that! Blame it all on him, but it was about time that most (if not all) baseball organizations realize that you don’t have to overpay to win, but you might overpay to lose.

Blame it all on Andrew Friedman!

Photo credit – THE LA TIMES…  in which Andrew Friedman is doing his best Ray Charles imitation.



This article has 39 Comments

  1. Sooner or later the piper will be paid. Players can’t be kept under control for ever. Sooner or later players like Bellinger and Seager are gonna go to the highest bidder. The golden age of free agency may be ending or it may not be. Hard to keep turning over players in the farms constantly and keep up the high quality of talent. Though if any organization can it might be FAZ and the Dodgers. It’s gonna be quite interesting to see how it all ends up falling into place. I still think 2018 will be a record breaking year for free agents. And 2019 may be even bigger.

  2. What a day for the Milwaukee Brewers and their fans. First trading for Yelich and then signing Lorenzo Cain to a very nice 5 year deal.

    They got a lot lot better today!

    1. Cain and Yelich make a couple of their young MLB outfielders available for trade for rotation help. Does Braun move to RF or traded?

  3. Once again I put my faith in FAZ. Yeah, the Brewers got Yelich, but that tells me the Marlins wanted some guys from us that Freidman just wasn’t going to let go. Still like us for the most part going into spring training. Great article Mark, totally agree with the new and finally sane approach the GM’s are taking this year, Boras needs a little cheese with that wine he’s been spouting. He has hijacked teams for years, it’s great to see him squirm.

  4. Based on the Dodgers schedule for next year–
    6 games each against teams from AL West, NL East and NL Central (90 games),
    18 games against the teams from the NL West (72 games).

    Only 27 games east of the Mississippi River. Less travel means reduced travel fatigue and travel expense.

    Next, used Roster Resource website to identify the starting pitching makeup of each of the 19 teams that the Dodgers will likely face during the upcoming season. I considered the top six starters for each of the teams in the AL West, NL East and NL Central and looked at whether the starter was left handed or right handed. Based on this info it seems that the Dodgers will play 73 games against these teams when facing a right handed starter and only 17 games facing left handed starters.
    In the games against the four teams in the NL West, I only looked at the top four starters for each team since it is likely that all of the teams are likely to set their roster when possible to use their best pitchers against the Dodgers, and this still indicated that the team would play 48 games started by right handers and 24 games started by left handers.
    Overall, the Dodgers are probably going to play about 121 games where they face a right handed starter and only 41 games where a left hander is the starter. Based on this info, the Dodgers need to take advantage of the left handed hitting resources on the roster as effectively as possible as starters in most games and save the right handed hitters who struggle against righties like Kemp and Hernandez as defensive replacement or pitch hitter as appropriate.
    Against lefties, Kemp and Hernandez could be used as starters and guys like Grandal. Petersen and Toles could play these sub roles. I could even envision a line-up against RH pitchers with Taylor (2b), Toles (lf), Seager (ss), Turner (3b), Bellinger (rf), Grandal (1b), Peterson (cf), Barnes (c) and the pitcher.
    To me, the one weak link that I seek in this part of the roster is the need for a LH Infielder who can relieve in the infield so Turner and Forsythe can take regular breaks to stay well rested. Using Hernandez, Grandal and Kemp against righties is just asking for a flood of strikeouts and very limited production and using Peterson against Lefties seems to also indicate similar results.



  5. This year’s class of free agents is not that remarkable, and Scott Boras overplayed his hand. FAZ was never going to go big on a free agent. I do not expect they will next year either. I know Hawkeye thinks that Harper should be in play, but I just do not see it. Hawkeye may be right, but IMO FAZ is out of the big time free agent contract market except for their own…Kershaw and then Seager/Bellinger/Urias/Buehler. I can see Puig getting an extension, and if Wood has another good year, I think he would be a candidate. Seager has his 1st arbitration year next year, but has Scott Boras as his agent, so I do not think he looks for a long term deal before free agency.
    The Brewers did do well today, and I do not think they are done. The two outfielders they picked up make Domingo Santana available. The Giants have nobody they could possible trade to get Santana. Their best hope would be for Broxton or Phillips. The current rumor is that the Brewers are actively talking with the Indians, who need RH hitting OF’s, for Danny Salazar. They are also talking with the Rays about using Santana as a key piece in a pitch to get Chris Archer. They are also in on Darvish. If they pick up Salazar, Archer, or Darvish, they could become the favorite for the NL Central. Along with Chase Anderson, Zach Davies, Jhoulys Chacin and Brent Suter, they would have a pretty good rotation. Not as good as the Nationals, but it would rival the Cubs, unless they pick up Darvish. They could also use a catcher, but they seem happy with Pina.
    The Dodgers are done for the off-season. Next stop, a parade in LA.

  6. Boras a pariah, well at least viewed as such by this fan and probably most baseball management. But FAZ setting a new paradigm – the jury is still out on that one. He did the same thing in Florida, he is just on a bigger stage now, so more prominent. Moving in the right direction but don’t hold your breath on player salaries dropping dramatically. There will be a frenzy at the trade deadline and next year when MLB management will succumb to the pressure to stay competitive with their rivals. And while the Dodgers have not handed out large insane player contracts, I’m not quite ready to sing the praises of Dodger management, because are they not the same people who raised ticket prices to insane levels this off-season, such that the normal person is almost priced out of attending ball games? Looks like MLB in general is out of control.

    1. Well, you can’t blame Friedman for the ticket cost or lack of TV coverage in LA. Friedman is in charge of “Baseball Operations.” A guy by the name of Kasten makes the business decisions.

      Actually, the Dodgers were 27th out of 30 teams in ticket prices. The average Dodger ticket was $44.99 in 2017.

      Dig this:
      #1 Cubs – $150.00
      #2 Yankees -$106.00
      #3 Red Sox – $102.00
      #4 Braves – $101.00

      The Astros and Marlins and A’s tickets all cost more. Dodger fans have been spoiled for years. The tickets went up this year and they will keep going up until they get near what the Cubs are charging. Bet on it.

      Here’s the complete list:

      The Dodgers had the highest payroll and one of the lowest ticket prices. You knew that wouldn’t last! At $44 a ticket, the Dodgers brought in about $132,000,000 in ticket sales. If they raise it to the Cubs level that $132 million becomes $450,000,000. Some people who have had tickets for years will not be able to afford them, but like Chicago, LA is a big city and someone will buy them. I am actually shocked they didn’t do that sooner. It’s just smart business… like it or not!

      1. Raising ticket prices like this is what teams do when they have average tv deals. The Dodgers have the biggest deal by far and yet they still feel it is necessary to raise prices up to 30% and, if what you say is true regarding Cubs level pricing, this is a real slap in the face to die hard blue collar fans in LA. There really is no excuse…

  7. I think a case can be made that FRAZ ( I added Roberts) is willing to offer 5 year $200M+ contracts but will not exceed an amount that they have established for a player, and therefore will not get into a bidding war. Greinke would be an example.

  8. I am on the record. Write this down: The signing of Lorenzo Cain to a 5 year, $80 million dollar deal is a dope-fiend move. A 5 year/$80 million dollar deal for the Brewers is a huge deal. Cain will be 32 in a couple of months and has been injury prone in the past. Watch and learn! This might end badly for the Brew Crew. Yelich was a nice acquisition, but Brinson may be less than a year away – I just don’t see him ever being the offensive player Yelich is.

    The Brewers got better in 2018, but at what expense? This deal with Cain has “dope-fiend” written all over it! They should have spent that on another pitcher – they had enough outfielders. I think it was a bad move!

    1. If anything the Cain deal should be fuel for your “it’s all Friedman’s fault” argument because wasn’t it us who decided that every free agent should be signed for $16m a year . . . Turner, Hill, Jansen.

    2. What if the Brewers now trade Santana to get Salazar? What if they can now package Santana for Chris Archer? What if they can move Broxton to say the Giants for Beede or Duggar or the equivalent of the 3rd round pick they are losing? I do not think these were isolated moves. If they do not end up with a pitcher, then I might agree that they were shortsighted. But Chacin, Yelich, and Cain do make them better, and they did win 86 games last year. Something inside says that they want to move Santana to get the pitcher rather than overpay $150M for Darvish or $100M – $125M for Arrieta. These GMs are thinking 3-4 moves ahead of the rest of us, and if we look at the trade and FA signing as isolated moves, fans may not see the whole picture.

        1. I think that is what it is. I think they were very surprised to win 86 games last year. Teams like the Brewers cannot be perennial contenders, so when they have a chance, why not go for it?

  9. AC is absolutely correct, the overvalue being placed on this year’s free agent class in the amount of money and length of the contracts they are asking for is not reasonable, but unlike in years past the organizations are not listing. One of the problems with the way FAZ is building a team that is a contender every year without the addition of huge money and lengthy contracts that are good on the front end but in most cases a disaster for the organization on the back end is that most of these players are for the first time eligible to make up for the years of productively were the money was not in line with the players true value. Players like Seager and Bellinger and many others like them on other teams are being paid around league minimum and are greatly underpaid. It will be very interesting at the next collective bargaining talks if this trend continues.

  10. I believe the CBA need changed. It is crazy to pay a JD Martinez $200 million and crazier to pay Bellinger and Seager combined a little over a million a year.

    I think changes should happen on both situations. I think it will involve a “hard salary cap.”

    … and I think there will be a protracted strike or lockout. Then Vince MacMahon will start an XLB!

  11. The Brewers and Giants making some moves to be more competitive don’t change my opinion of what the Dodgers approach is. I don’t think the moves make the Giants a threat to win the division and could hurt in the long term. The Brewers without adding some pitching have overloaded their OF so I agree there may be more moves coming.

    The Dodgers will be heavy favorites to win the West with no other moves and it is likely some of the kids and players returning from injuries will also contribute. They can make trades during the season to address needs that unfold. This approach gives the kids a chance to break out, either forcing an opportunity or increasing trade value.

    Looking at all of the free agents still out there with prices dropping means some quality players will take 1 year prove it deals or return to their original teams. I can’t help feeling Faz has another move or two they are at least considering. Kemp is the biggest impediment to such a move with his salary. The Dodgers have tons of trade capital as well including some on the roster now who are on the bubble to make the 25 man. The next 3 weeks could be frantic to make up for the lack of movement to this point. Cain signed the biggest and longest FA contract this off season, perhaps signaling a break of the logjam.

    1. I think that there are $43 million reasons to let Kemp try. I mean, he’s not 40 years old and is it impossible he might play up to his contract?

      Here’s a juicy tidbit that I got which is definitely not 100% reliable, but it does seem plausible:

      The Dodgers “demoted” Grandal last year because he (a) was not engaged with Turner Ward; and /or (b) he was not totally “engaged.” Don’t know if it’s true, but it was kind of like sending Puig to AAA the year before. Yasmani’s wife had a baby during the seaon, so maybe something was going on in his head. Who knows? It may or may not be true, but the same person that told me said the Dodgers were still high on Grandal and he would not be traded.

      OK – now watch him get traded now. 😉

      This is a rumor.

      1. Agreed, Kemp is a sunk cost at this point so he probably makes the opening roster if he shows anything. If he gets off to his normal good start he could be moved then or perhaps they just keep him. That would seem to make other OF’s expendable if he does win a spot. I think he could have a nice bounce back year and it’s worth trying. They also were unable to move him and the Dodgers, Pads and Braves paid to have him go away.

        Grandal’s playing time down the stretch and in the post season signaled the team might be done with him but they surprised me and kept him around. He takes too many borderline pitches trying for walks and swings and misses way too many breaking balls. He is streaky and can get very hot or very cold at the plate but at this point calls a better game behind the plate than Barnes. A more 50/50 time share seems likely while they see how Ruiz and Smith develop. Farmer will never be more than a back up catcher/utility bench piece.

        1. I’ll believe Farmer is a viable back-up catcher option when I see him actually catching for us. Seems like we were worried about playing him there last season. I’m curious to see how many “reps” he gets during spring training. If we’re serious about at least considering trading Grandal, we need to have a back-up who’s capable of playing more with more regularity. Is Paul Bako still active? 😉

      1. Mike Trout, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Cory Seager, Bryce Harper, Kris Bryant and Paul Goldschmidt all wave “hi!”

  12. This is all so very exciting! Who’s going to crack first, management or FA’? For the Dodgers, who is going to win the LF job? Will Buehler make the rotation? Will Bellinger hit even more bombs having added fifteen lbs of muscle? Who is going to play 2b Can’t wait to find out! BTW, Mark predicted FAZ’ strategy long ago, and was on board with it first! Kudos Mark!

        1. The great thing about Forsythe is that on days when he doesn’t play 2b, he can still remain in the lineup by playing 3b or 1b.

          Lacking a true back-up 3b–and, arguably, one at 1b as well–, we are dependent on Forsythe’s versatility as a supplement to the fact he is our de facto starting 2b.

          I have read elsewhere, and believe it to be true, that Taylor might well be part of a complication rotation whereby he occasionally moves to 2b to get more at-bats for Toles or Joc in CF.

          I guess my point is: Just because we have a team that likes to move players around a lot and also likes players that are versatile enough to play multiple positions doesn’t mean that we don’t have 6 firm starters right now (along with a bottleneck in LF and a potential catching tandem).

          Even if we can’t quit Utley quite yet, I don’t think we’ll anything close to a strict platoon at 2b this year. Let’s ride Forsythe hard before letting him walk in 2019 (or re-signing him if he proves to a core piece).

  13. I would like to see Buehler pitch every fifth day but he wouldn’t necessarily have to start. He could be paired with say Ryu and come into that game in the 6th inning and be expected to pitch the 6th through the 9th. He could warm up knowing that he would come into the game and he would know WHEN he would come into the game. A reliever could be used to bridge the innings between the end of Ryu’s start and the beginning of Buehler’s innings as needed.
    Buehler would be able to pitch through the playoffs if limited to 4 innings a game as would Ryu. At some point in the season he could be matched with Maeda instead and if Urias returns, he could be paired with him. Buehler would prepare for a game as a stater would and not pitch in games between starts. He would not be up and down in the bullpen like normal relievers are.

    1. Yep. An argument could be made that A.J. Hinch doing something very similar to this led to a team other than us hoisting the trophy last year. It was a subtle innovation but it might’ve made the difference. Actually, strike that–it was more old school than innovative. Definitely outside the box rather than Roberts’ chasing Francona’s ghost. /strongopinion

  14. I wonder if the ticket increase is related to the debt/ratio (can’t think of the word and I’m too lazy to search for it) guidelines the Dodgers need to follow going forward. I agree that Cain’s signing has to be leading to a trade for a pitcher or it doesn’t really make sense as it spends money at a position they have young controllable players at.

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