Friedman on Johnson at first, quest for a bat and the "mistake" of signing Burrell
Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman spent about a half hour Wednesday morning on 620-AM WDAE, including fielding questions from fans.
Friedman talked about having some leads on potential relievers for the bullpen, and that there's a "number of capable bats on the market" that they're eyeing.
"I'm confident we'll be able to line up on someone to come in and hit somewhere in the middle of our lineup," he said.
He took questions from hosts Ron and Ian, as well as callers. Here's some of the highlights from the portions I got to hear:
* (On who he would pencil in at first base and second base, if he had to today)
"Right now, (Dan) Johnson would play first. He's someone we feel could hit 20-plus home runs and get on base. We like what he's capable of, and if we ever got to the point where we upgrade that spot, we're in great shape."
"At second, between Sean Rodriguez and Ben Zobrist, depending on how everything falls. The versatility that those two guys have are incredibly valuable."
* (On plans for Desmond Jennings)
"Desmond is someone that we think has a tremendously high upside, a guy who can absolutely impact the game offensively and defensively. He had some injuries last year, and he was coming back from them, made some changes to his swing. He definitely didn't have the type of year in Triple-A he was capable of on many different fronts. So when he came up last year, it was mostly cause of his foot speed. ...We're anxious to see him in spring training and I still am a huge believer in what he's capable of. I just don't know when that will be.
Friedman did say that he believed Jennings would make an impact on the big league club at some point this season
*(On how Pat Burrell signing didn't work out)
"It's definitely not going to be the last mistake we make, it certainly was a mistake. We went in and signed a guy that we thought would fit in for us really well, the right-handed bat, the plate discipline, power. We knew it was a risk, we felt like it was a sensible, calculated risk. Obviously it didn't work out. ...We're going to make mistakes but we've got to be right more than we're wrong."
*(On what happened with Dioner Navarro at end of season)
"He decided that he didn't want to stick around for the playoffs. When that decision was made, I told him, 'I think you're going to look back one day and regret it. It's not something, you're angry with me, angry with Joe (Maddon), fine. But from a teammate standpoint.."
- JOE SMITH