Monday, May 27, 2024
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Andrew Friedman Still Doesn’t Get It

Friedman 2022

And it doesn’t look like he ever will. On Monday the Dodgers held their annual end of year press conference at Dodger Stadium. This year’s end of season presser would be even more contentious than ever before after another embarrassing playoff ouster. This season’s playoff loss to the San Diego Padres in the National League Division Series could probably be considered one of the worst out of the multitude of October defeats piled up by Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers over the last 8 years.

The Los Angeles press corp filed into the media room looking for answers but all they received were excuses. This year’s deserved explanations more than in year’s past after the Dodgers won 111 games during the regular season and posted one of the best records in National League history. When prodded for reasons why the Dodgers finished 60 games above .500 but couldn’t last more than a few days into the postseason, Dodger’s president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman was defensive and condescending. I wasn’t there of course, but it didn’t surprise me.

The reporters asked a lot of questions. Specifically about why game 4 starter Tyler Anderson was pulled after only five innings, and why the Dodgers winners of 111 games and could only muster one postseason win before crawling away to the golf courses this winter.

“Isn’t it just baseball?” Friedman posited while shrugging his shoulders. No Andrew, it isn’t baseball.

When pressed further about that and other topics, such as the miscommunication on the pick-off throw in the seventh inning and pulling Yency Almonte before bringing in Alex Vesia in the middle of an at-bat, Friedman refused to answer while giving misdirections and illogical ramblings. According to the LA times, he seemed defensive.

Friedman is echoing what a lot of analytics fans are these days. The claim is that the playoffs and World Series are all luck and hot streaks. The Dodgers have just been unlucky, in 7 of their 8 postseason appearances. They also cited the new expanded postseason format as another excuse for the Dodger’s losing and poor game strategies. To think anyone would consider the World Series champions as not legitimate is ludicrous to me. Tommy Lasorda would roll over in his grave.

To make matters worse, Friedman took no accountability at all for his October failures. Not only will Dave Roberts return as manager in 2023, but so will the entire coaching staff. On top of that, Friedman will not make any changes or adjustments. Why change? The broken system works every fall.

Not that I am in favor of replacing Roberts, (perhaps replacing the hitting coach would help) but to say nothing is wrong is like telling everyone that Kirk Gibson’s home run wasn’t important. It’s an insult to the fans and media, and anyone who isn’t obsessed with defending Friedman can see the path through the trees.

If the Dodgers are ever to win another World Series (in a non-Covid year) they have to change. It’s not a problem of talent. The Dodgers had one of the most talented rosters in baseball. The problem was their lack of leadership and weak game management. Building a pitching staff around middle relievers and scripted batter vs. pitcher matchups doesn’t work in the playoffs. It’s a predictable style that can easily be exposed in a playoff series.

Had the Dodgers allowed their starting pitchers to go deeper into games, and used the bullpen more sparingly perhaps they would have been able to avert another late inning disaster like the one in the seventh inning of game 4 against San Diego. In order to help do that they would have also had to have healthy and effective relievers, unlike the several injured relievers that were wasting roster spots due to being unable to pitch. They had months to prepare and replace those injured pitchers, and didn’t do so.

Having a plan at the plate would have helped as well. There was no situational hitting and no plan at all for the offense. They were already beaten and deflated by game 4. One person commented on their lack of passion by saying he expected them to carry briefcases to the plate. Like they were going into the office.

I think I can speak for a lot of Dodger fans that are getting sick and tired of seeing the club crushed into a million pieces every fall. What’s needed here is a change in Philosophy, game management and strategy. That would have to come from the top. Unfortunately one man’s ego is bigger than the Padre’s seventh inning scoring rally. Baseball is a game of adjustments. Pitcher, hitters, managers, are constantly making adjustments. This is what the Dodgers need to do, otherwise it will be the same old story next season.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

54 thoughts on “Andrew Friedman Still Doesn’t Get It

  1. I believe you hit the nail on the head Scott. I have never believed he was the genius all say he is. His teams are successful in the regular season, but not as much in the post.

  2. I read your great comments on that ladodgertalk, but I’d rather post a comment here than over there. I don’t get a real “welcome newcomers” vibe over there. Anyway, here are some random thoughts about our Bums:

    Mookie is streaky. The question I would ask is how do the Dodgers get him to be less streaky? And is this related to the overall hitting strategy of launch angle and three true outcomes?
    Nobody asked Friedman at the press conference why they seem to prefer to take pitchers out too early and don’t want them facing a batting order a third time. On some radio interview I found on youtube (recorded later in the day of the presser), Friedman WAS asked about pulling Anderson in Game 4 and Friedman started talking some bs about how some situations could go either way, and how Anderson had already thrown 86 pitches and Machado was coming up. This has been going on for years now and that one thing has been consistent throughout most of the Dodger postseason failures. Maybe let a hot pitcher stay out there? This is one stratagem that doesn’t seem to be working.
    -Friedman is a smart guy, no doubt. But he does come across as arrogant, which doesn’t bode well for any future changes in philosophy. Instead of taking personal responsibility for failure, he blames the “organization.” Well, isn’t he in charge? Doesn’t he set the tone? Frustrating to be sure.
    -If our farm system is so great, why not let some of these guys play already? It’s almost like they hoard them so they can continue to brag about the farm system. If these guys are so good, why not let them start next year? If not, package them for someone of value.
    -I don’t see too many major changes on tap for 2023. I do however get a strange feeling that we’ll see Ohtani in Dodger Blue in the future. But who knows?

    This has been the most frustrating postseason loss that I can remember since that asshole Joe Morgan beat us years ago. Almost as frustrating is the inability of the media to ask these tough questions.

    1. Hi Shmolnick,

      Welcome. I totally understand. your leading point.

      As for Mookie, I agree that he’s been very streaky. I think injuries have mostly played the part. Some hitters are just naturally more streaky than others if that makes sense. He’s super talented so I think health is more important than anything else.

      Yes they take out starting pitchers after 4 or 5 innings because that’s what their predictable and lazy analytics game strategy book tells them. They think that all starting pitchers perform worse when allowed to face the opposing lineup a third time through the order. I do agree that may be the case if a pitcher is tiring, but these are the weak game management tactics they’ve been using for years and a big reason why they lose in October every year. You are correct when you say it doesn’t work. Take this season, they probably win game 4 if they let Anderson pitch deeper into the game. Their odds of winning would have gone up significantly.

      The reason prospects are never brought up, or rarely is because they are not that good, and the Friedman crew are not great at drafting. He’s produced only 2 major league regulars (Smith Lux) over the last 7 or 8 years. If those prospects were that good, they would be up in the majors playing everyday and contributing. For example, Seager, Bellinger, urias, those guys once called up made an impact and were good right away. There was no question if those guys would make it.

      Friedman’s problem is his ego. He honestly rarely ever learns from his mistakes and will never change anything. The LA Times guys normally take him to task, but the rest of the media never challenge him. They are scared of losing their press passes and the free dinner/dodger dogs in the pressbox media room. Ohtani is amazing, I’m holding out hope for Aaron Judge. Welcome over here.

    2. I like Scott and have always respected his points of view and his blog. He and Mark have issues. But I write for LADT, am retired and a Dodger fan for well over 60 years. Most of the posters on that site welcome new posters. There are jerks on every site. When I first retired and started reading blogs in 2010, the only place I ever posted was on the Dodger site itself. Lots of opinionated fans there, plus some Giants fan trolls, but the site was shut down some years ago. I first went to this site and I was welcomed. But I also had issues with Mark and him and I went at it tooth and nail. What followed was not really Scott’s fault, but it deteriorated to a lot of name calling and threats one way or the other. I contributed to that by calling Mark out several times. I also told him that if I ever met him in person I would kick his ass. He left not long after that, but I know he kept reading. But some good posters like MJ and a couple of others left and all of a sudden there was not a lot of traffic on here. Again, no fault of Scotts. I went to posting on ThinkbluePC, run by a really avid fan who lives in Pennsylvania, Dennis S. While over there, one of the posters told me that Mark was asked by several of the people there to let me and Badger post on his site. I did, we talked out our differences and I have posted mostly there and thinkbluepc since. I started writing for the site when one of his writers was ill. I mostly stick to writing about Dodger history, and some of the former players. I have also done pieces on Dodger foes like Mantle, Berra Mays and Aaron. I respect all of the posters on all the sites, I dislike it when the baseball post becomes a political forum or a place that allows personal attacks. Sometimes they cannot be avoided, and since I have the ability to delete said posts, there have been times when I have used that, but Mark is still the site administrator. Because Jeff D left to start his own blog, and Harold passed away, Mark got two of the other posters to become writers. Anyway, Do not feel you won’t be welcome there. Whether you post there or not is purely up to you. But I do not wish for hard feelings between the two guys I consider very good writers to be the only reason you would not post. Scott, I think you for keeping your site up and running. I know it has been a tough stretch for you.

      1. Thank you Michael,

        You are without a doubt a good man. Your posts are always thoughtful and Well written. I enjoy reading them. You are always welcome here and I am happy you are a part of the community.

        There is no more politics over here, just baseball.

      2. I want to thank you again Michael. You are such a good guy. But what shmolnik stated is true. Its not a very welcoming atmosphere over there and the reason is because of Mark’s hostile snobby and bitchy attitude. Mark is a punk ass and a huge scumbag.he is also an egomaniac. the site is basically just a big circle jerk for him. He wants everyone to praise and kiss his ass. If you disagree with anything he says, or post anything he doesn’t like then he’ll just bann or insult you or both. He just stated the other day that my blog is “an empty little place” but the only thing empty is Mark’s head and character. He also said that this blog gets no comments, which is obviously false.

        I dont Blame shmolnik one bit for coming over here and feeling more welcome. That one other guy bulldog is a good writer, but him and Dodgerpatch are basically just Timmons minions. They mostly exist just to kiss Mark’s ass. Patch is the worst to be honest. But they are both intelligent Dodger writers in their own right. Michael you are the crown jewel of that cesspool of a site.

        Hilarious that Bulldog wrote an entire piece over there criticizing Friedman and stating many of the same points that I was making just in a less harsh way I guess. I’m surprised Mark isn’t in an uproar over it since he kisses Friedman’s ass and is his constant defender. Millionaires defend millionaires? Never understood why Mark gets so bent out of shape anytime anyone criticizes or is harsh towards his idol Friedman.

        All are welcome over here. I won’t ban anyone for any opinions. Look at Bluto, I’ve told him to fuck off several times and he gets under my skin occasionally, but he’s always welcome here.

        All opinions are welcome here too. Even if you want to talk a little smack and get dirty. It can be Therapeutic. So have at it.

  3. Your point about the prospects is well taken and I’m afraid I agree with it. If they were that good, they’d be playing in the majors. It’s tough to draft well when you pick at the end of each round.

    The other point I forgot to include in my previous comment was about pitcher injuries. Is there something the Dodgers are doing with their young hard throwers that leads them to blow their elbows/shoulders out? Is this happening to other teams as well? I don’t know, but if it is, maybe throwing 100 MPH all the time is NOT a good thing. I fear that the next young Dodger pitching stud will be good for a couple of years then blow his arm out. It just seems like it’s becoming a thing.

    1. I think all of the postseason innings can add up over the course of 4, or 5, or 6 years. But in general nobody can predict how a pitcher’s arm will handle. Look at Kershaw, he’s got about a million innings on that arm, but never has had Tommy John or any problems. He’s had back, and hip problems, but rarely ever arm injuries. Take Stephen Strasburg for example. When he first came up they had him on a strict innings limit, refused to let him pitch in the postseason and the next season he blew out his arm. I do think letting the starters pitch regularly is a good way to prevent injuries. Alot of up and down is what the relievers go through and it can be damaging. The 90’s Braves let their guys (maddux, Glavine Schmoltz) pitch. That was their philosophy, let the starters pitch every 5th day and go deep into games, and those guys stayed healthy for most of their careers.

  4. I doubt he does, at least that is the way his press conference sounded. There will be player personnel change, but none in the front office or coaching staff unless someone gets hired by another organization. Bochy hired to manage the Rangers.

    1. Yep Michael, I did not come away from that press conference feeling better about the teams management and future direction.

  5. Snooze

    Best team in the MLB this year and over the past decade.

    Consistently a top-10 minor league system.
    A front office constantly poached by other teams hoping to emulate the Dodgers’ success.

    I’m a massive Red Sox fan, the enjoyment from the Dodgers easily surpasses the Sox. Even when compared to the short period of time the Sox were winning the Series.

    You have no remembrance of how bad the Colletti / Evans years were.

    1. Red Sox fan?

      I’ve been a Dodger fan since I was 5 years old so I remember all of those years. The Dan Evans years weren’t good, but the Dodgers were regularly winning division titles under Colletti operating on half the payrolls that Friedman has been given.

      Boston….really Bluto? Lolz

  6. Baseball Playoffs;
    Are they a Crapshoot

    Analytics drive baseball today, everything is analyzed, analyzed again, and all MLB teams are driven by analytical algorithms. Every MLB team has a company of analysts that study and spit out the data, with some teams more engaged and with more employees involved. On the field players adjust field position from either cheat cards in their back pockets that are compiled by the analysts or they shift entire infields based on what the analytical reports project as tendencies on the respective player at bat. As far as the manager goes he changes pitchers based on analytical tendencies, and uses pitch hitters in the same way. All that to say Baseball is driven by the tendencies discovered by these analytical geeks.

    The analysis doesn’t make a hitter hit better, or a pitcher pitch better, or a player catch better, but arguably it puts them in position to find greater success.
    A manager uses the analytics also, sometimes with good results, but often with poor results with head scratching decisions that involve pitching decisions, pinch hitting decisions and a plethora of decisions that for the most part ignore many fundamentals of the game of baseball.

    You could include the following at the extreme end of the analytical paradigm, or baseball practices that are no longer given value, and discounted in an analytical approach to baseball: a lack of hit and run, a lack of stealing, a lack of hitting the other way, a lack of sacrificing to move the runner 90 feet, a lack of bunting, a lack of hitting the other way when the infield shifts, a lack of aggressiveness with respect to watching pitches fly straight over the center of the plate. What is highly prized is HR’s, especially on the Dodgers. Strike-outs are unimportant. Call it what you will, I call it selfish baseball when players with 200 batting averages are swinging for the fences every at bat. For teams driven by analytics they should know those are not high success swings. A good deal of that approach is contradictory in thinking.p

    What happens then with an 111 win team that uses more analytics than any other team in MLB and collapses like an bad umbrella in a soft breeze? And does that repeatedly year after year, and all that after having great success in the regular season?

    Andrew Friedman of the Dodgers who brought analytics to the Dodgers (in its present and expanded form) said in response to the Dodger collapse this year that the playoffs are a “crap shoot.”

    Wait a minute, that on itself is a contradiction to analytics in general and everything he believes in relative to how he runs the Dodgers. He wants to control everything from the moment a player signs with the Dodgers to the day he is traded or retires.

    Does he really believe that? I don’t think so, rarely does he speak candidly, or reveal any inside information on the Dodgers. But as smart as the man is, he doesn’t have a good answer to the question of collapsing in the post season. He joins the vast majority of other baseball people and fans who site statistics ad nauseum that the playoffs are indeed a ‘crap shoot’. If he does believe it, it is a major contradiction in his thinking.

    Are the playoffs a ‘crap shoot’? I suggest that the way baseball is played today, yes the playoffs are a crap shoot. In previous days, not so much. Why? Because when teams do not play baseball with the fundamentals listed above in the third paragraph and have their HR power minimized by better pitching usually seen in the playoffs, they have nothing to fall back on. You become experts at something by doing it over and over again, and when you do it so little in the regular season you cannot hope to excel at it in the post season in a high pressure situation when those skills are needed the most.

    You want to play well in the post season, and minimize the ‘crap shoot’, play the game differently in the regular season, use all the tools in the baseball cart instead of relying on one thing, or a few things – change your approach to winning and it will carry over to the post season, value all the tools in your baseball cart, not just HR’s. The Dodgers and every team in baseball has all the tools in the cart, but because they are so seldom used they are in effect not there, and when the players try to use some of those tool the results are not good, because they are not in the practice of using them.

    Enough said
    A frustrated fan

    1. Hint:

      The playoffs are a crapshoot because of sample size. Nothing more nothing less.

      Stop it with these silly rhapsodies about tools, carts and fundamentals.

      I dare anyone to read this paragraph by Bruce twice, aloud and try not to explode into laughter:

      Wait a minute, that on itself is a contradiction to analytics in general and everything he believes in relative to how he runs the Dodgers. He wants to control everything from the moment a player signs with the Dodgers to the day he is traded or retires.

      1. Stop it Bluto,

        He makes a lot of great points. The biggest thing to me is using analytics and then when it doesn’t work blaming it on luck and crapshoots, and small sample size. That is silly as you like to say.

          1. This is what some people are saying Bluto. When the Dodgers lose in October every year its poor luck and the “crapshoot” of the expanded playoffs.

          2. Right. But what does that have to do with using analytics to implement strategy and evaluate players?

  7. Colletti was a joke when hired, was a joke when working and has been barely remembered since leaving.

    Riddle me this, if the Dodgers got rid of Friedman how long would it take him to be rehired?
    A week? A month?

    Colletti can’t even get a whiff of a job.

    The market knows, Scott. The market knows.

    1. Bluto,

      Just an FYI here but Colletti and Logan White won 4 division titles, made 3 LCS appearances and produced twice as many productive Major Leaguers on half the budget Friedman maybe they weren’t doing so badly?

      You and I dont know enough about the job market for MLB executives right now to make the comment you just made but Colletti is in his mid 60s and basically retired.

      1. Hey Scott, Proverbs 18:2
        A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

        Arguing with an idiot, is, idiotic.

  8. False on the productive MLBs players, unless your definition of productive is markedly different.

    Colletti was GM from what? 2005-2014. Let’s call it 9 seasons.

    The Dodgers made the playoffs in 5 of those seasons. 55% of the time.
    They had a losing record 10% of the time.
    They made it to the NLCS 3 times. 33%
    Never won a world series. 0% of the time

    Friedman for his 8 seasons:
    Six division titles, that’s 75% of the time
    Made it to the NLCS in 16, 17, 18, and 20. That’s 50% of the time
    Made the playoffs every year. That’s 100% of the time.
    Never had a losing season. That’s 0%. Zero.

    Baseball America called the Dodgers the model franchise in the sport under Friedman’s tenure, don’t recall that for Colletti’s reign.

    Is there anywhere near the equivalent of the 2016 draft for Colletti if you add up all of Ned’s drafts?

    Colletti’s may be in his 60s now, but he’s also been out of baseball for a decade. NOT one job offer. NOT ONE.

    Meanwhile most of Friedman’s front office is regularly being approached or poached.

    1. Name one position player other than Smith and Lux that became a productive MLB player? He had one good draft in 2016. I named a laundry list of players over at Mark’s site that were drafted under Colletti/White that became productive players, some became all-stars and that was on half of the budget that Friedman has been given.

      I would have liked to see what Colletti and Logan White could have done had most of their tenure not been hamstrung by Frank MCcourts bankruptcy and shoe string budgets.

      Should I list all of those players again for you?

      1. Please do, so I have an idea. But there’s zero chance Colletti had better, more productive drafts.

        Let’s say first four years vs. first four years? That seems fair, no?

      1. Don’t settle for mediocrity, Scott.

        Friedman’s worst season was 91 wins (non-COVID)

        Colletti had:
        An 86 win season! That was a great one.
        An 84 sin season. Five games over .500.
        And an 82 win season, just over breaking even.

        Congrats to Ned for that!

    2. Comparing Colletti to Friedman is comparing apples to oranges. They are/were not competing on a level playing field. Colletti did very well operating under the constraints of a limited payroll because of a morally bankrupt and soon to be bankrupt owner.

      1. Stop making excuses.

        No other owner but McCourt would ever give Colletti a job. He was a PR guy.

        Even with a horrible owner, Colletti was mediocre to barely above average.

        As proven by record and lack of opportunity.

        1. You are so wrong Bluto,

          I just rattled off at least 15 players drafted and signed under Colletti/White that became productive MLB regulars. How many under Friedman? I’m waiting Bluto, name your list. Let’s see if your list is longer than mine.

        2. Something I will remember most about Ned Colletti is that he built winning Dodger teams. Colletti was captain of the ship from 2005 to 2014 and only one time did the Dodgers finish with a losing record. The Dodgers also made the playoffs five times in Colletti’s nine years, and while that may sound easy since the Dodgers have vast resources, it wasn’t always that way. Colletti had the best winning percentage of any National League general manager during his Dodger tenure. The Dodgers went to the NLCS three times during the Colletti era, and while that isn’t the definition of success, it was some of the best Dodger seasons since they last won the World Series in 1988.

          1. That’s fair, OhioDodger.

            I may be a little too harsh on Colletti (then again, maybe not) but I mean he’s nowhere near Friedman in accomplishment, reputation and skill.

    3. Lots of good points Bluto. But, Freidman has had a much better ownership to work for and unlimited finances so far. Colletti did more for less.

    1. Matt Kemp, James Loney, Jonathan Broxton, Clayton Kershaw, Russell Martin, Chad Billingsley, julio Urias, Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager, Alex Verdugo, Jay Guerra, Dee Gordon, dioner Navarro, Scott Van Slyke, Alex Verdugo,

      How many players on the list i just named? 15, 16? I’m waiting for your list Bluto.

  9. Just pathetic.

    dioner Navarro signed by the Yankees. Not Colletti.
    Martin drafted in 2002. Not Colletti.
    Loney drafted in 2002. Not Colletti.
    Broxton drafted in 2002. Not Colletti
    Kemp drafted in 2003. Not Colletti.
    Billingsley drafted in 2003. Not Colletti.
    Seager drafted in 2012. Not the first 4 years.
    Bellinger drafted in 2013. Not the first 4 years.
    Verdugo drafted in 2014. Not the first 4 yers.

    Let’s look at the First Four Friedman years:
    Buehler, Rios, Beatty, Garlick, Lux, Will Smith, Mitch White, Tony Gonsolin, AJ Alexy, McKinstry, Zach Pop, Conner Wong, Outman and Grove.

  10. Pathetic. This stuff is so easy to look up.

    2007, Dodgers 82 wins. A whopping 2 over .500

    2008, Dodgers 84 wins. 6 games over .500.

    2011, Dodgers 82 wins. 3 over .500

    2012, Dodgers 86 wins.

  11. Really interesting.

    Fangraphs has these great heatmaps where you can see a player’s performance by pitch location. Here’s Bellinger’s SLG/Pitch from 2022 on 4-seam fastballs. You can see he really struggled on anything up and away. He basically couldn’t hit that this year and that’s where pitchers were throwing him fastballs all year to get him out.

    While here is 2018. He actually did pretty well on pitches up. He had trouble with pitches up/in and low/away which has been his struggles his whole career.

    Here’s 2019 for fun. He crushed just about everything (except way up/in and way low/away). But it just shows how he was actually crushing pitches up/away that year.

    And just for fun, here’s a guy who struggles with a high fastball because of his uppercut swing. He’s also a guy I might trade prospects 7-22 for.

    Here’s Mike Trout’s career.

    1. If Belli can be fixed, they need to try a way because when he is on, he is a dangerous hitter. If not, move on, nothing to see here. Leaving for home in the morning. Be well all.

  12. Just so I’m clear, regardless of how the WS ends up going (and I’m pulling for the Phills) does anyone on this board think the Phillies have a better team than the Dodgers? Than the Astros?

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