Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations
After just four years as executive vice president of baseball operations for the Tampa Bay Rays, Andrew Friedman has already tread where few baseball executives have gone before him.
Having never won more than 70 games in a season in their first 10 years, the Rays have averaged 90 wins over the last two seasons. Only three other teams in major league history have experienced similar turnarounds: the 1912-13 Washington Senators, 1979-80 Montreal Expos and the 2006-07 Detroit Tigers.
Since he was appointed to his post on November 3, 2005, Friedman has engineered the upturn by assembling a nucleus of young players and key free agents. The Houston native has pulled off nearly 30 trades that have turned over the major league roster and improved the franchise's minor league system. One of his latest came at baseball's winter meetings last December when he acquired closer Rafael Soriano from the Atlanta Braves. Soriano is considered one of baseball's most valuable acquisitions of the offseason.
In 2008, Friedman was named Sporting News Executive of the Year as the Rays turned the baseball world on its ear by winning both the American League East and American League titles. At 31 years of age, he was the youngest to win the award in its 72-year history. Of the 27 Rays players eligible for postseason play that year, 20 were acquired after Friedman's arrival including key free agent acquisitions Carlos Peña, Troy Percival, Eric Hinske, Akinori Iwamura, Trever Miller and Cliff Floyd. Likewise, 32 of the 42 players who suited up for the Rays in 2009 were Friedman's acquisitions.
The Rays current roster features more than a dozen players whom Friedman has acquired via trade: Willy Aybar, Grant Balfour, Jason Bartlett, Matt Garza, J.P. Howell, Matt Joyce, Dioner Navarro, Sean Rodriguez, Justin Ruggiano, Kelly Shoppach, Soriano, Alexander Torres, Dan Wheeler and Ben Zobrist.
A greater emphasis on player development and renewed attention on international scouting are two of the hallmarks of Friedman's tenure as the Rays top baseball official. In December 2008, the Rays were named Baseball America's Organization of the Year and in 2007, in large part due to a farm system widely recognized as one of the deepest and most talented in baseball, the Rays were named Topps Organization of the Year.
Recent drafts have produced 2008 AL Rookie of the Year and two-time All-Star Evan Longoria and 2008 USA Today Minor League Player of the Year David Price.
On the international front, the Rays have significantly increased their presence in Latin America with an expanded scouting staff and new training facilities in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Colombia and they are the first major league team to open a training facility in Brazil. The Rays have also expanded their efforts in Europe and Asia.
Prior to assuming his current role in November 2005, Friedman spent two years with the Rays serving as director of baseball development. His previous experience includes two years as an analyst with New York City-based investment firm Bear, Stearns & Co., Inc. and three years as an associate for the private equity firm MidMark Capital.
Friedman received a baseball scholarship to Tulane University where he graduated with a bachelor of science in management with a concentration in finance. He played outfield for the Green Wave before injuring his shoulder. Andrew and his wife, Robin, recently celebrated the birth of their first child, Ethan Jack, on December 23. They reside in Tampa.