Dodgers sign Andrew Friedman to extension

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Over the weekend, the Dodgers signed president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman to a contract extension, Jon Heyman reported. Details of the contract are not yet known but his previous deal was for $35 million over five years (then a record), so his new contract figures to be better than that.

Friedman, 43, joined the Dodgers after the 2014 season. His five seasons in Los Angeles have been some of the best in Dodgers history as the club won 104 games in 2017 and a franchise record 106 games this past season. The Dodgers reached the World Series in back-to-back years in 2017-18 but lost both times to the Astros and Red Sox.

Friedman was part of the Rays organization from 2004-14, serving initially as the director of baseball development for the first two years before being named GM. He helped the Rays reach the postseason for the first time in franchise history in 2008, ultimately losing the World Series to the Phillies. The Rays, in fact, made the postseason four times in six years from 2008-13 despite operating with one of baseball’s lowest payrolls.

Despite having access to much more money with the Dodgers, Friedman’s front office has been relatively frugal. They have re-signed players but outfielder A.J. Pollock (four years, $55 million) has been the club’s biggest expenditure on outside talent. The Dodgers plan to stay under the competitive balance tax threshold through at least 2022.

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

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PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.