Rays executive vice president of baseball operations and general manager Andrew Friedman has left the team to join the Dodgers, both teams announced. Friedman, 37, takes over as the Dodgers president of baseball operations and be allowed to hire his own GM.
"Andrew Friedman is one of the youngest and brightest minds in the game today and we are very fortunate to have him join our organization," Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten said in a statement. "The success he has had over the past nine years in molding the Tampa Bay Rays team has been incredible."
Friedman's role will presumably be similar to Theo Epstein's with the Cubs. Epstein is the team's president of baseball operations and Jed Hoyer is the GM. Ned Colletti, who had been the Dodgers GM since 2005, will remain with the team as a senior advisor to Kasten.
"Ned Colletti has played a major role in the success of the Los Angeles Dodgers over the last nine years and I'm thrilled that we are able to retain him as a special adviser to me," added Kasten. "Ned's knowledge and experience in the game covering 33 years will be a great asset to the club as we continue to add and build our player development system."
Friedman, a former financial analyst, joined the Rays in 2004 as assistant of baseball development and was named executive vice president in October 2005. He helped turn the club into a perennial contender despite having one of the smallest payrolls in the league year after year. Now he will have the largest payroll in the game to work with.
"As I embark upon my next journey, I have only thanks and gratitude to the Rays organization and the Tampa Bay region for a wonderful 10 years together. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to have been part of something so special and for the passion and support of this exceptional fan base," Friedman said in a statement. "The Rays organization is loaded with talent from ownership to players and everyone between. We were able to create together an unbelievable culture that no doubt will continue, and I am absolutely confident that the successes we achieved will continue into the future."
The Rays announced that president Matt Silverman will take over as president of baseball operations and run the team as Friedman's replacement. Vice president of business operations Brian Auld has been named team president, replacing Silverman.
"I thank Andrew for all he has done for the Rays organization. We have enjoyed great success together, and that's largely due to the deep and talented organization that Andrew has helped to assemble both on and off the field," Rays owner said Stuart Sternberg in a statement. "While we will miss Andrew, we have prepared ourselves for this possibility, and I have great faith in Matt and Brian in their new roles."
Friedman has turned down several chances to leave the Rays over the years, most notably an opportunity to take over the Angels when the team fired GM Tony Reagins following the 2010 season. They instead hired current GM Jerry Dipoto.
The Dodgers won the NL West for the second straight season this year, though they were eliminated from the postseason by the Cardinals in the NLDS. The team's interest in Friedman reportedly dates back several weeks and was not a direct result of their early postseason exit.
With Colletti essentially being promoted, four of the five NL West teams have changed GMs this year. Only the Giants (Brian Sabean) have not made a change.