It takes a strong man not to care in the slightest what people think of him. Most of us, as much as we may not want to admit it, care what someone thinks of us. And most of us don't have millions of people happily waiting to criticize our every decision. I think I can say with 100% certainty that Andrew Friedman does not care. And that's a wonderful quality to have in a General Manager.
That can be taken two ways. I'm sure Dayton Moore doesn't care what people think of him, but he continues to make moves that get him and the franchise laughed at. Friedman, on the other hand, continues to make moves he knows will not be popular with the general public, but will improve the team going forward - if not in the immediate future.
He traded away the beloved Scott Kazmir when the Rays were three games back of the wild card, but with the realization that they were not making the playoffs. The Rays have won that trade 10 fold already. He recently traded expendable and overpriced fan favorite Jason Bartlett for a package of pitchers no one outside the hardcore baseball fan had heard of. He was ripped by local radio and local fans for each move, but they were the absolute right thing to do at the time.
If this trade with the Cubs goes down, and it's looking more and more like it will, it will be the most unpopular move in franchise history. It doesn't matter that Matt Garza may have peaked in production, or that the Rays will likely not miss a beat without him in 2011, or that they can now take the ~$5million he will make in arbitration to sign a DH. People will be upset. They'll cry out in misplaced anger. The Rays will be called cheap. They'll be accused of giving up on the 2011 season, despite the fact that Hellickson will likely match Garza's production. Andrew Friedman will hear it all. He won't care one bit. That is a beautiful thing.