It was a wild and crazy day on the rumor mill Wednesday, with multiple reports surfacing that Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman has been cavorting with Angels top brass. DraysBay editor Jason Collette broke the news this morning that Friedman had been seen dining in a St Petersburg, FL restaurant with Angels owner Arte Moreno and team president John Carpino. The story continued to blow up all day with confirmations by multiple news outlets, including FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal, that Moreno and Carpino had in fact been in town to interview Friedman.
The Rays are a notoriously tight-lipped organization, and Friedman has yet to offer a comment on the situation. Don't expect one to be forthcoming either. The team doesn't comment on ongoing contract negotiations with players, and they offer nothing when asked about rumored free agent signings. In fact, it is hard to get a comment about anything from the Rays front office. A confirmed sighting of Friedman in a St. Pete restaurant with Moreno isn't going to change that.
Consider also, that it has been speculated that Friedman may in fact own a share of the Rays. Couple that with his fierce loyalty to owner Stuart Sternberg, and this dinner date begins to look more and more like a courtesy to the Angels, rather than a serious discussion about a change of scenery. In fact, Rosenthal's story even quotes a source as saying: "He's not going.", for whatever that's worth.
There are plenty of reasons why Friedman might be tempted by an offer from the Angels, most of all, the fact that Moreno has some pretty deep pockets. He is also in the unique position of working without a contract, so presumably he could leave at his choosing if he does not in fact have an ownership interest in the Rays. It is also pretty clear that the Angels are taking their GM search very seriously by going after one of the best candidates in the game. Still, the only story that was really confirmed today was that the Angels are courting Friedman, and that he was at least willing to listen to the pitch.
DRaysBay deserves a lot of credit for breaking the story before the big time sports journalists, and they used discretion in not speculating too much about what the dinner sighting was about. However, until we hear from Friedman himself, we have to assume that he is going to be in St. Petersburg for the 2012 season, and that this is just much ado about nothing.If this story does have legs, it would likely be kept under wraps for now. Bud Selig doesn't take very kindly to any other MLB news trumping the World Series, so even if some sort of announcement is forthcoming, it is doubtful to surface until after the Fall Classic.
At this point it would be more interesting to know what Friedman ordered for dinner, or how much he tipped, because speculating any further on his status with the Rays organization is really fruitless until more information is reported.