Tag:Andrew Friedman
Posted on: November 30, 2011 6:58 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2011 7:01 pm
 

Rangers' Levine declines Astros interview

Thad Levine, Rangers' assistant general manager, has removed his name from consideration for the Houston GM job one day after the Astros obtained permission from Texas to talk with him.

"He loves the Texas Rangers," a person close to Levine said.

Levine issued a statement through the Rangers: "My family and I have happily decided to forego any current outside opportunities and remain part of the Texas Rangers family. We are extremely appreciative of all the opportunities that Jon Daniels, Nolan Ryan and ownership have provided to us. Winning a championship and bringint it home to the Metroplex remains my singular focus."

Considered one of the brightest young executives in the game, Levine, 40, has been one of Daniels' top assistants in Texas for the past six seasons. Before that, he worked six more seasons in the Colorado Rockies' front office, including serving as the senior director of baseball operations in 2005.

Earlier in the off-season, Levine was a subject of interest to the Los Angeles Angels before they filled their GM vacancy with Jerry DiPoto, who had been in Arizona's front office. Levine did not interview with the Angels. This opportunity with Houston would have been his first GM interview.

The Astros also have received permission from Tampa Bay to interview Rays GM Andrew Friedman. Most in the industry think it would be a huge surprise if Friedman leaves the Rays, despite the fact that he's a Houston native.
Posted on: November 29, 2011 6:23 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2011 6:24 pm
 

Astros get OK to speak with Rangers' Levine

Still to be determined is what kind of a closer new Astros owner Jim Crane is, but in looking to fill his club's general manager vacancy, he's off to a rousing start.

One day after obtaining permission from Tampa Bay to speak with Andrew Friedman, the Astros on Tuesday were granted permission by the Rangers to speak with highly respected Thad Levine, assistant general manager to Jon Daniels, according to sources.

Friedman and Daniels are two of the brightest GMs in the game. Levine, in working under Daniels, has built a reputation as one of the smartest and most promising young executives in the game.

With Friedman in the GM's seat, Tampa Bay has won two AL East titles in the past four seasons and earned a wild-card berth in a third. The Red Sox, by comparison, have won only one AL East title in the past 16 seasons.

Friedman also spoke with the Angels earlier this winter, though he never reached the point where he waded too deeply into the interview process. He loves his situation in Tampa Bay with owner Stuart Sternberg, club president Matt Silverman and manager Joe Maddon, according to multiple sources, and is not looking to leave.

Whether the pull of his hometown Astros would be enough will be determined in the near future, though sources indicate it still would be a surprise if Friedman does leave his current situation. With the baseball winter meetings convening next week in Dallas, Houston is looking to move quickly -- though the Astros almost certainly will not have a new man on the job by then.

Levine has been one of Daniels' top assistants for the past six seasons. Before that, he spent six seasons in the Colorado Rockies' organization serving as senior director of baseball operations in 2005.
Posted on: November 28, 2011 10:15 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2011 11:29 pm
 

Astros obtain permission to talk with Friedman

It's a long way from job offered and job accepted, but the Astros on Tuesday obtained permission from Tampa Bay to speak with general manager Andrew Friedman, sources with knowledge of the talks confirmed to CBSSports.com.

New Astros owner Jim Crane, wasting no time after a firing GM Ed Wade and president of baseball operations Tal Smith, is setting his sights on the man widely considered to be one of the top executives in the game. That Friedman is only 35 and is a Houston native are both happy coincidences -- and, as for Friedman's hometown, one huge chip the Astros apparently hope they can cash in.

With Friedman in the GM's seat, Tampa Bay has won two AL East titles in the past four seasons. The Rays also earned an American League wild-card berth another of those years. The Red Sox, by comparison, have won only one AL East title in the past 16 seasons.

Friedman also spoke with the Angels earlier this winter, though he never reached the point where he waded too deeply into the interview process in either place. He absolutely loves his situation in Tampa Bay with owner Stuart Sternberg, club president Matt Silverman and manager Joe Maddon, according to multiple sources, and is not looking to leave.

Whether the pull of his hometown Astros would be enough will be determined in the near future, though sources indicate that it still would be a surprise if Friedman does leave his current situation. With the baseball winter meetings convening next week in Dallas, Houston is looking to move quickly -- though the Astros almost certainly will not have a new man on the job by then.

News that the Astros have obtained permission from the Rays to speak with Friedman was first reported by Houston Chronicle columnist Richard Justice.
Posted on: February 22, 2011 7:07 pm
 

Stuff my editors whacked from the column

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays always have been dependent on B.J. Upton and Evan Longoria. But after taking massive losses this winter, especially in Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena, Tampa Bay is going to be need those two more than ever.

Upton is coming off of a highly disappointing year in which he batted a career-low .237 with 164 strikeouts. Only Detroit's Austin Jackson (170) had more in the AL.

The Rays are bullish on him bouncing back strongly this year, partly because his talent is so rich and partly because they know his character.

"B.J. does a lot of things really well," general manager Andrew Friedman says. "The fact that he had such an incredible year in 2007 (.300, 24 homers, 82 RBI, 22 steals), the expectation bar is extremely high.

"At times, we all get caught up in the 'He's not matching or exceeding that.' But when you just step back and watch what he does do, he brings a lot to a team in terms of what he does defensively, what he does on the bases."

As Friedman notes, Upton is one of only two players last year who had 40 or more stolen bases and 60 or more extra-base hits.

"The other one got $142 million from the Red Sox," the GM says.

Yep, Crawford.

Longoria, a three-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner, quietly has grown into a leader in just three seasons. That said, he is not looking to force things in that department in this post-Crawford and Pena spring.

"I'm not going to look at myself as the veteran," Longoria said. "I'm going to look at myself as I have every year, come here and work hard and maybe continue to set that precedent or be a leader but not vocally. Mainly based just off of my actions and what I do both on and off the field to prepare myself."

-- Tampa Bay has won two of the past three AL East titles, but this is a completely different challenge this year. Which suits this eclectic bunch just fine. Maddon already has chosen his theme for the season: "Another Way."

"One, you've got to look at our manager," Longoria says. He's a player's manager, a real easy manager to play for. A lot of guys who haven't been here in the past have come in here and feel very comfortable playing for him. In turn, it makes it comfortable for them to play, it's an easy environment.

"In turn, I think that's going to play a big part in how we come together as a team. Everybody understanding that we're all here for a reason and Joe's going to make it easy playing for him. The challenge is there, but the challenge is there every year. We understand that."

Sunblock Day: Starting to sound like a broken record, but simply exquisite. Sun, 80s, no humidity.

Likes: The three signs Maddon has posted on the wall in the clubhouse for the players to soak in. One is from legendary coach John Wooden: "Discipline yourself so no one else has to." Another is from Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve: "Rules cannot take the place of character." And the third is from philosopher Albert Camus: "Integrity has no need of rules." ... Bill Chastain, Rays beat writer for MLB.com, has just had a new paperback novel published, Peachtree Corvette Club. It's available on Amazon. ... Can't wait to see the Hank Steinbrenner-Derek Jeter Visa commercial. Tweeted that the other day and few seemed to get the joke. Remember, Hank's dad one year accused Jeter of staying out too late and next thing you knew, Jeter and George Steinbrenner were doing the conga line through a club in the classic Visa ad?

Dislikes: In a development more rare than an appearance from Halley's Comet, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band are firing up for a tour beginning next month. But they've only announced it a couple of shows at a time. We're up to a month's worth, the first 11 shows. Come on, man. Some of us have schedules to keep and summers to plan! Announce the whole tour already.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"You made a rebel of a careless man's careful daughter"

-- Taylor Swift, Mine

 

Posted on: February 21, 2011 8:15 pm
 

Rays back to future with Manny, Damon

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Good Manny Ramirez, not Bad Manny, is here (for now).

So, too, is Johnny Damon -- who waltzed out of camp after Tampa Bay's first full-squad workout Monday in a comical, crisp white T-shirt reading "johnny biceps".

Nothing like the warmth, smiles and sunshine of early spring.

And the unbridled optimism that goes with it.

Say what you want about Ramirez and Damon and how maybe Tampa Bay would be better off if this was, say, 2004. The Rays will counter by insisting there is a method to their Maddon-ness.

"There was a lot of energy out there. At first I thought it was attributable to [infielder] Ray Olmedo," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon quipped of the largest opening day spring crowd any of the Rays remember.

"I really did. Then, seeing all the signs, I knew they were more interested in Manny and Johnny. Seeing [fans] moving around, it was almost like an NFL practice.

"We're not used to that. But we love it."

Ramirez stopped and signed several autographs on his way off of the field. Then he did a round of interviews with the Tampa Bay televisions stations covering the first workout (and then he did one with us, which you'll see later in the week when we post our Tampa Bay Camp Report).

Damon spent some 30 minutes doing rounds of media interviews after the workout.

Which is all well and good. But these Rays think they can contend despite losing Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena, Rafael Soriano and Joaquin Benoit to free agency, and trading Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett.

And as such, they didn't bring Damon and Ramirez in to perform some sort of circus act.

"It really augments our lineup," Rays general manager Andrew Friedman said. "It adds to our depth. We have a number of young players we're counting on this year. It adds protection in the event of injury or poor production from one of our young players, it allows us to be able to shelter them a little bit more."

And, Friedman noted, it helps balance the lineup. Damon is a lefty, Ramirez swings righty.

"Both grind at-bats, both have experience in the division and, more importantly, both wanted to get back into the fray. Both missed playing in the AL East and wanted to get back.

"They're definitely going to make our team better. The question is, how much?"

Part of that, the Rays hope, is by filling the veteran leadership void left by the departures of Crawford and Pena.

"If our young players watch the way Manny prepares every day, I'd be thrilled," said Friedman, who noted that Ramirez was in the cage hitting a few mornings ago at 7:30. "If they watch the way he studies video, and what he does to get his swing right, and the amount of time he puts into it, and our young guys emulate that, I'll be thrilled."

Ramirez has lost 12 pounds from last year after battling leg issues.

As for Damon, Friedman said, "he's going to add a lot to front part of our lineup, whether it's in the one or two hole. The way he grinds at-bats, the value he adds on the bases. We still feel like he's got a lot left in the legs, in the way he takes care of his body."

Maddon intends to have spring training scheduled out for both veterans.

"I want to pay attention to their legs," he said. "I want to set up a schedule in advance that they know they're going to have, and not just 'I'm a little tired today' or "I felt a little something coming out of the box.' I want to avoid those moments."

On Monday, as the Rays kicked things off, the moments were all light-hearted and festive.

The "johnny biceps" T?

"Someone sent it to me," Damon said.

And how many times have you worn it?

"Once before," he deadpanned. "It matches [the shorts]."

Meanwhile, as Manny was leaving for the day, he told me, "Put in a good word for me."

To whom, and for what, I have no idea.

Sunblock Day? Breeziest day yet in Florida, but still sunny and in the 80s.

Likes: Omar Vizquel still hanging around with the White Sox. ... Mary, the nice lady from Bemidji, Minn., who is a snowbird in the winter and works as an attendant outside the press room at Tampa Bay's camp in Port Charlotte. Her first year here, but her husband, a retired law enforcement guy, worked here last year and convinced her to join him at the ballyard. Nice people, and so cute. ... Bennett's Fresh Roast Coffee in Fort Myers. Best coffee house on the circuit. Phenomenal coffee and "hand-cut" donuts made on premises to rival Krispy Kreme's. Seriously. ... Carl Hiaasen's Double Whammy. Nobody lampoons Florida and its characters like Hiaasen, which makes it a perfect read for here. The county morgue is in a converted Burger King because it was the "only building in town with a walk-in freezer." And when the pathologist goes to examine a drowning victim, there's this: "The stench was dreadful, a mixture of wet death and petrified french fries."

Dislikes: Things still do not sound right in Justin Morneau's comeback from a concussion. ... Doing laundry in the hotel.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Like Miles Davis, I've been swayed by the cool
"There's just something about the summertime
"There's just something about the moon
"So I'll lay a kiss on a stone, toss it upside your window, by the roof
"Before you change your mind, Miles, bring in the cool

-- Gaslight Anthem, Miles Davis and The Cool

 

Posted on: February 26, 2009 1:26 pm
 

Something's fishy with the Rays


PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- So how's spring training for Tampa Bay in the Rays' new digs in sleepy Port Charlotte, a couple hours' south of their former spring home in St. Petersburg?

"It's made me pick up fishing," Tampa Bay center fielder B.J. Upton says.

Say what?

"Started about a week ago," Upton says. "I'm staying with (pitcher Scott) Kazmir, and we decided we wanted to start fishing.

"So we went to Cabela's and got some fishing rods. They should be in any day."

Upton says he and Kazmir fish the ponds near their apartment complex. The ponds apparently are stocked with bass.

So they take 'em home and filet 'em? Put the fish on the grill?

"Oh, no, we throw them back," Upton says. "We're just chilling out. There's nothing else to do here."

Upton says he had never fished before this spring. But now, he has a new love.

"I heard when he caught his first fish, he was the happiest guy in Florida," Tampa Bay general manager Andrew Friedman says.

Likes: Bruiser, the Boston Red Sox's bulldog. Well, he's not technically the team dog -- he belongs to one of the spring clubhouse attendants. But it's very entertaining the way Bruiser wanders around the Sox complex with coaches and players opening the clubhouse door to let him in and out at will. ... Yep, I could tell I was driving through a remote part of Florida the other day when I saw this bumper sticker on a pickup truck: "My horse bucked off your honor student." ... Shawn Mullins' 9th Ward Pickin' Parlor.

Dislikes: Dippin' Dots, the "ice cream of the future." You see this sold at ballpark concession stands, in malls, and I don't know. Maybe it's the most delicious thing ever. But they've been calling it the "ice cream of the future" now for, like, 20 years. If it truly was the ice cream of the future, wouldn't regular ice cream have been overtaken by now?

Sunblock day? Wonderful. Bright, warm and sunny. Somewhere near 80 degrees.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day

"I've lost count of the times I given up on you
"But you make such a beautiful wreck, you do
"There's a tavern on the corner called the Milky Way
"And you look so at home there it makes me afraid"

-- Shawn Mullins, Beautiful Wreck

 

 

Posted on: February 26, 2009 1:26 pm
 

Something's fishy with the Rays


PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- So how's spring training for Tampa Bay in the Rays' new digs in sleepy Port Charlotte, a couple hours' south of their former spring home in St. Petersburg?

"It's made me pick up fishing," Tampa Bay center fielder B.J. Upton says.

Say what?

"Started about a week ago," Upton says. "I'm staying with (pitcher Scott) Kazmir, and we decided we wanted to start fishing.

"So we went to Cabela's and got some fishing rods. They should be in any day."

Upton says he and Kazmir fish the ponds near their apartment complex. The ponds apparently are stocked with bass.

So they take 'em home and filet 'em? Put the fish on the grill?

"Oh, no, we throw them back," Upton says. "We're just chilling out. There's nothing else to do here."

Upton says he had never fished before this spring. But now, he has a new love.

"I heard when he caught his first fish, he was the happiest guy in Florida," Tampa Bay general manager Andrew Friedman says.

Likes: Bruiser, the Boston Red Sox's bulldog. Well, he's not technically the team dog -- he belongs to one of the spring clubhouse attendants. But it's very entertaining the way Bruiser wanders around the Sox complex with coaches and players opening the clubhouse door to let him in and out at will. ... Yep, I could tell I was driving through a remote part of Florida the other day when I saw this bumper sticker on a pickup truck: "My horse bucked off your honor student." ... Shawn Mullins' 9th Ward Pickin' Parlor.

Dislikes: Dippin' Dots, the "ice cream of the future." You see this sold at ballpark concession stands, in malls, and I don't know. Maybe it's the most delicious thing ever. But they've been calling it the "ice cream of the future" now for, like, 20 years. If it truly was the ice cream of the future, wouldn't regular ice cream have been overtaken by now?

Sunblock day? Wonderful. Bright, warm and sunny. Somewhere near 80 degrees.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day

"I've lost count of the times I given up on you
"But you make such a beautiful wreck, you do
"There's a tavern on the corner called the Milky Way
"And you look so at home there it makes me afraid"

-- Shawn Mullins, Beautiful Wreck

 

 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com