Stan Kasten: “I Am Completely Certain” Andrew Friedman Returns To Dodgers In 2020

The contract status of Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has led to some speculation about the executive’s future in Los Angeles, though team president Stan Kasten left little doubt that he expects Friedman to stay with the team.  When asked by Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register if Friedman would continue to run the team’s front office in 2020, Kasten said “I am completely certain of that, yes.”

More details weren’t forthcoming, as Kasten cited team policy against discussing executive contracts.  Friedman has also declined to talk about the impending end of the original five-year deal he signed with the team in October 2014.

Despite the lack of public knowledge about any negotiations, as Plunkett put it, “Kasten sounds like a man who knows a contract extension will be negotiated and announced soon enough.”  In fact, it wouldn’t even be surprising if a new deal has already been reached (or at least mostly worked out), and the club is simply waiting until the end of the season to hold a press conference.  Some teams don’t even publicize front office extensions whatsoever, though given the high-profile nature of the expiration of Friedman’s deal, one would expect some type of formal announcement.

Under Friedman, the Dodgers have won five consecutive NL West titles, winning no fewer than 91 games in each of those seasons.  The club has advanced to the World Series in each of the last two years, and while the championship remains elusive, the Dodgers remain one of the heavy favorites to finally capture the Commissioner’s Trophy this fall.

While Los Angeles was already on a run of success before Friedman’s arrival, he has continued the organization’s calling card of drafting and developing homegrown stars — Walker Buehler, Will D. Smith and Gavin Lux were all drafted during Friedman’s time with the team and are already contributing to the current roster.  Friedman’s front office has also shown a penchant for finding unheralded players (such as Max Muncy and Chris Taylor) who have broken out as regulars in L.A.

These factors and a general reluctance to overbid on free agent talent has caused the Dodgers’ payroll to drop from record highs at the start of Friedman’s tenure to a 2018 payroll that got the team back under the luxury tax threshold.  The Dodgers are still among the league’s biggest spenders and the club hasn’t been hesitant to re-sign key players (i.e. Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner) to hefty contracts, though Friedman has brought much greater efficiency to how the team allocates its many resources.

If Friedman did have a desire for a change of scenery, he would immediately garner a lot of interest from around baseball, even from teams who already have a GM or baseball ops president but are looking to make an upgrade.  The Red Sox are the only team with an open GM position, and they’d stand out as a natural suitor, as they would undoubtedly be keen to see if Friedman could replicate his success in keeping another big-market team in contention while trimming payroll.