Friedman misses Rays, still building with Dodgers

President of baseball operations left Tampa after 2014 season

Friedman misses Rays, still building with Dodgers

ST. PETERSBURG -- Andrew Friedman said he doesn't regret moving from the Rays to the Dodgers 18 months ago, but he seems to greatly miss colleagues that became friends.

Friedman looked and acted very much at home while reacquainting with former players and staff on Tuesday when the Dodgers came to Tropicana Field to meet the Rays, and he acknowledged one part of the move has been a bigger challenge than he expected.

"The time it takes to create those relationships, I didn't expect it to happen immediately. It doesn't work that way and I probably knew that on a deeper level, but I wanted it to happen," said Friedman, who signed a reported $35 million deal to become the Dodgers' president of baseball operations.

"There was so much change last year, it takes a little bit of time to have it settle into a steady state, which we are now getting into. But it took even more adjustment time than I anticipated it happening."

Friedman overhauled his department and the roster he inherited from former general manager Ned Colletti. While the changes of players, manager and coaching staff get the most attention, Friedman said the relationship building extends to the player development, domestic scouting and international scouting departments, as well as a mushrooming analytics department he didn't mention.

"Whenever you bring in people from other organizations, it takes time to build trust," he said. "It has to happen organically. The group we had here [in Tampa] worked together for a long time. I'm starting to see that and feel that right now. Can't cut corners on it.

"We had a decent amount of turnover, personnel and staff-wise. You're creating systems and processes. It takes time to fully integrate an organization where we're philosophically aligned. Now we're at that point where over the last year, after a lot of change. Now it's about forging relationships and creating something special within the framework of our group."

But Friedman said he'd make the move again.

"I'm excited and invigorated for this chapter of my life I'm living," Friedman said. "This will just always be a really special place for me."

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.