Breaking: Andrew Friedman Seen Dining With Angels Owner Arte Moreno

Update, 3:45pm: This says it all.

Friedman_medium

Update, 3:27pm: It took someone from ESPN LA to confirm the story first, but this is now MLBTradeRumor official. Moreno and Friedman met, but who knows what they talked about and how interested Friedman is in the position. My guess is he's simply doing his own due diligence about his options going forward, but only time will tell.

Update, 12:30pm: Radio host Toby David from 1010AM CBS is hearing from his sources that the Angels have been in town for two days, with the intention of interviewing Andrew Friedman. So chalk this up as further corroboration of our original report, although this is the first evidence that the Angels intended to interview Friedman.

Update, 11:53am: Erik Hahmann has independent confirmation from a source within the restaurant that Friedman and Morerno were both there on Tuesday night. That brings us up to three sources that confirm the story (and we're working on four). So we are extremely confident the two of them met, but we have no idea why or what they were talking about.

Original Story: Important bits highlighted here, full post below the jump.

On Tuesday night, one of our readers was at a restaurant in downtown St. Petersburg when he saw Andrew Friedman dining with Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim team owner Arte Moreno and another individual he later identified as team president John Carpino. This individual lives locally so Friedman is no strange face to him, and he immediately recognized Moreno when walking by their table. Both he and the friend he was dining with feel extremely confident in what they saw, and confirmed after another walk-by and an internet search that the third person at the table was team president John Carpino.

We do not know the nature of the conversation between Moreno and Friedman, only that they were seen dining together in St. Petersburg and talked for over an hour and a half. However, the timing does line up well with the Angels' current search for a General Manager, and if both Moreno and Carpino were in St. Pete, that suggests a conversation more serious than a simple offseason chat.

Here's the original post in full:

Friedman? Friedman? Friedman?

Um, he's sick. My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this girl who's going out with the guy who saw Andrew pass out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it's pretty serious.

We believe we have a strong track record here at DRaysBay when it comes to breaking news. This site was the first to report on the signings of Morgan Ensberg, Gabe Kapler, Willy Aybar, and most recently Kyle Farnsworth. Each report came from tips from sources that we researched as much as possible before breaking the story. We don't run with rumors willy-nilly, and only report the things we hear that check out.

Recently, another one of those tips came in regarding Andrew Friedman. While it does not involve Popeye's fried chicken or Coors Light in the dugout, the Rays' off-season now has a bit of somewhat-substantiated drama involving their General Manager.

On Tuesday night, one of our readers was at a restaurant in downtown St. Petersburg when he saw Andrew Friedman dining with Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim team owner Arte Moreno and another individual he later identified as team president John Carpino. This individual lives locally so Friedman is no strange face to him, and he immediately recognized Moreno when walking by their table. Both he and the friend he was dining with feel extremely confident in what they saw, and confirmed after another walk-by and an internet search that the third person at the table was team president John Carpino.

We do not know the nature of the conversation between Moreno and Friedman, only that they were seen dining together in St. Petersburg and talked for over an hour and a half. However, the timing does line up well with the Angels' current search for a General Manager, and if both Moreno and Carpino were in St. Pete, that suggests a conversation more serious than a simple offseason chat.

Throughout this past season, Rays fans had to put up with copious rumors surrounding the front office -- anywhere from Stu Sternberg selling the Rays to take over his hometown Mets, to Andrew Friedman returning home to Houston to salvage the sinking S.S. Astros or going to Chicago to try fix the mess that is the Cubs. Anyone who has followed the Rays for any amount of time knows that the club operates in stealth; they make the move nobody was looking for when nobody was looking for it, as they play a shell game with other teams and the media.

Up until now, all those those rumors have been based on speculation, and there was no actual indication that anyone within the Rays' organization was testing the market. This report changed things.

Last night, while everyone had their eyes on the World Series, MLBTradeRumors posted a story about the Angels and who they were considering for their General Manager post. Mentioned in the story was the highly qualified Kim Ng, whose name has been in many previous searches but she has yet to become the first ever female to serve the role of General Manager in Major League Baseball. Also mentioned in the article was Jerry Dipoto of the Diamondbacks, Damon Oppenheimer of the Yankees, Thad Levine of the Rangers, Rich Hahn of the White Sox, and internal candidates such as Tony Hernandez who currently serves as Manager of Baseball Operations. Not mentioned in that piece was Andrew Friedman.

Two weeks ago, ESPN.com's Mark Saxon interviewed former Angels GM and current team consultant Bill Stoneman about the vacated GM spot. Saxon flashed back to a conversation that he had with Stoneman in spring training regarding the statistically-driven approach some teams were taking to which Stoneman replied:

When I took a look at the Angels’ use – or lack of interest-- in statistics last spring, I talked to Stoneman about the Moneyball approach. 

"If you're talking about looking at statistics, I can do that myself," Stoneman said. "If I'm going to have someone working for me, I'd rather have someone who can take a look at a guy and tell me if he can play or not."

Saxon went on to say that:

Unless there is a dramatic change in philosophies -- and it’s hard to imagine Stoneman and Scioscia not being heeded by Carpino and owner Arte Moreno;-- look for a more traditional GM to settle into his Angel Stadium suite when it’s all said and done.

Last week, Angels Owner Arte Moreno told Bill Plunkett of the OC Register what he wanted in his next General Manager. 

I think you want a good baseball man – or I should say baseball person because there are some qualified women out there – because you want to be able to evaluate talent," Moreno said. "You also want him to be able to manage a (minor-league) system so you have to look at someone who can evaluate how we're drafting and developing players. And you also want someone with good communication skills.

All we have is visual confirmation of Friedman meeting with at least one and potentially two top executives of another club that has a vacant General Manager role. Friedman certainly fits most of what Moreno is looking for in his next General Manager more than he fits what Stoneman is looking for. Stoneman advises, but the buck stops with Moreno; after witnessing some of the disastrous financial mishaps that Tony Regins brought to his desk, Moreno may be thinking he needs the type of General Manager who has demonstrated a clear ability to remain fiscally responsible while properly valuing both present and future assets.

The Angels were kind enough to allow Joe Maddon to come to St. Pete. Perhaps Friedman is the person to be named later in this imagined deal?

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