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Friedman wins Executive of the Year Award

@kengurnick
November 17, 2020

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, whose 2020 club dominated the regular season and went on to end the franchise's 32-year World Series championship drought, was named the recipient of Major League Baseball's 2020 Executive of the Year Award on Tuesday. The award resulted from voting

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, whose 2020 club dominated the regular season and went on to end the franchise's 32-year World Series championship drought, was named the recipient of Major League Baseball's 2020 Executive of the Year Award on Tuesday.

The award resulted from voting among the 30 clubs, each of which cast a vote prior to the start of the postseason. The runner-up for the 2020 honor was Rick Hahn of the Chicago White Sox, while last year's winner, Erik Neander of the Tampa Bay Rays, finished third.

In a season shortened and made more difficult by the COVID-19 pandemic, Friedman's Dodgers posted the best regular-season record (43-17) to win an eighth consecutive division title, then marched through an extended postseason by defeating the Brewers, Padres, Braves and finally the Rays in a thrilling six-game World Series.

"Just thinking about everything we were going through in April and May, and thinking that Dodgers fans were not going to get a chance to see this 2020 team even go on the field and compete, and for us to be standing here tonight holding up the World Series trophy, means everything," Friedman said after the Dodgers won the World Series.

"It hit me with the final out, how many fingerprints touched the success of this team. Across every department in our baseball operations group and they all had a hand on this roster. We've been through a lot of adversity in recent years, and for us to continue to improve and get better with what we were doing speaks to the group we have."

Under Friedman's leadership, the Dodgers have advanced to the World Series three of the past four years. In 2020, he built one of the most imposing clubs in franchise history. It led MLB by slugging 118 home runs in 60 games. The pitching staff had the best ERA (3.02), opponents' batting average (.213) and WHIP (1.06). The team lost only one series all season. In his six seasons with the Dodgers, the club has gone 528-343 (.606).

Friedman's key acquisition in 2020 was the blockbuster trade for Mookie Betts and David Price from Boston on the eve of Spring Training. While Price decided not to play because of health concerns, Betts provided the missing piece to the championship puzzle as an omnipresent impact player on the field and a quiet leader in the clubhouse and dugout.

"When we acquired him, my expectations were sky-high and somehow he managed to find some headroom above that," Friedman said of Betts. "The way he makes everyone around him better, it's hard to imagine us sitting here right now without him."

Friedman came to the Dodgers from the Rays, inheriting a winning nucleus of talent that included Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner, Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger and Julio Urías. Friedman's regime then added Walker Buehler, Max Muncy, Will Smith, Chris Taylor and AJ Pollock.

With the financial firepower of owner Guggenheim Partners, Friedman has built out a player development machine that incorporates cutting edge analytics alongside old-school baseball fundamentals, searching for and developing talent with a sustainable model designed to keep the Dodgers at an elite level for the long term.

While with the Rays, Friedman was executive vice president of baseball operations and oversaw one of the league's lowest payrolls. He led the Rays to four postseason appearances, including two division titles (2008, '10), in nine seasons from '06-14. During Friedman's time there, Tampa Bay had the franchise's first winning season and won the American League pennant in '08, when he was named The Sporting News' executive of the year. Friedman joined the Rays in 2004 and spent two years serving as director of baseball development.

Prior to his career in baseball, Friedman was an analyst for two years with New York City-based investment firm Bear, Stearns & Co., Inc., and he spent three years as an associate for the private equity firm MidMark Capital. He went to Tulane University on a baseball scholarship, playing the outfield before graduating with a bachelor of science in management with a concentration in finance.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.