Andrew Friedman leaving the Rays for the Astros was always seen as a long shot, but now it sounds like Houston never really had a chance.
In fact, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times is hearing that Friedman “already has decided against taking the Astros job.”
Friedman is from Texas and obviously the Astros’ payroll leaves a lot more room to maneuver than he currently has in Tampa Bay, but his relationship with Rays management is said to be extremely strong and the Astros’ gig isn’t exactly very appealing from an organizational talent point of view.
Several of the Astros’ other GM targets have already turned down chances to interview for the job.
The Arizona Diamondbacks just announced that they are parting ways with Tony La Russa at the end of the month.
La Russa served as the club’s “Chief Baseball Officer” from 2015-16. For the last year he was styled “Chief Baseball Analyst.” That’s a nice way to saying that he was pushed aside when the club fired his hand-picked general manager Dave Stewart and brought in Mike Hazen to run the club a year ago. La Russa was stripped of his powers, but was told he could hang around as an advisor. Most didn’t think he’d actually take the club up on that offer, but he did. By all accounts he was a pretty unobtrusive presence around the team this year, offering counsel and insight when asked but not making things awkward the way having the old boss around might do.
I suppose that can only last so long, however. The Dbacks had considerably more success without La Russa in charge in 2017 than they had with him in charge the previous couple of years. At some point you just part ways. That point is now.