Andrew Friedman left, Tampa Bay Rays executive vice-president of baseball… (Chris O'Meara, Associated…)
The Angels remain highly interested in Tampa Bay General Manager Andrew Friedman, but their chances of luring the 34-year-old executive away from the Rays are slim, according to people familiar with the team's GM search who are not authorized to speak publicly on the topic.
Owner Arte Moreno and team president John Carpino met last week in Florida with Friedman, who has helped build the small-market Rays into perennial playoff contenders despite extremely limited resources — their $42-million payroll this season was less than one-third of the $142 million the Angels spent on players.
Friedman appears to be the favored candidate to replace Tony Reagins, who was fired as GM two days after the season.
But Friedman's loyalty to Tampa Bay owner Stuart Sternberg, who has referred to Friedman as "a partner," appears to be the biggest obstacle to the Angels luring him to Anaheim.
If the Angels are able to land Friedman, he would be offered a position as club president, with the team likely hiring one of its other finalists as GM, a hierarchy similar to the one the Chicago Cubs used to lure GM Theo Epstein from the Boston Red Sox.
In addition to Friedman, the Angels have formally interviewed Jerry Dipoto, Arizona's senior vice president for scouting and player development; New York Yankees executives Damon Oppenheimer (vice president of amateur scouting) and Billy Eppler (director of professional scouting); Chicago White Sox assistant GM Rick Hahn; and former New York Mets GM Omar Minaya.
Former Dodgers assistant GM Kim Ng, who is now a senior vice president for baseball operations with Major League Baseball, will be interviewed this week.
The Angels hope to interview Texas assistant GM Thad Levine after the Rangers finish the World Series. Former Dodgers GM Dan Evans is being considered for the job but has not been formally interviewed.
The Angels sought permission to interview Detroit Tigers assistant GM Al Avila and Florida vice president of player personnel Dan Jennings but were denied.
The team did not seek permission to interview San Diego Manager Bud Black, the former Angels pitching coach who was on a front-office track with the Cleveland Indians before joining Manager Mike Scioscia's staff in 2000.
The Angels are expected to narrow their list of finalists and conduct a second round of interviews this week, and they hope to have a GM in place by early next week.
The new GM will be given the authority to hire a new assistant GM, player personnel director and farm director.