BALTIMORE — Andrew Friedman is rumored to be of major interest to the Cubs, Astros and perhaps other teams looking for a general manager. But Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg said Monday he doesn't expect Friedman to go anywhere.
"Andrew is a partner here, he's a partner of mine. And he treats this organization even better than I possibly can. There's nothing to report on that," Sternberg said.
"We've been at it now, it'll be six years, and it doesn't feel like six years, and I would think we would keep the band together another six years."
Sternberg said he hadn't heard anything more than the media speculation, and that no team has requested permission to talk to Friedman.
In answering questions for 20-plus minutes, he also said a few other interesting things:
• On the possibility of a 2012 payroll increase (from the current $41 million): "I don't know, but we've clearly fallen short on our financial projections. … I could not have projected our attendance would be down what it was. I don't think anybody would have thought that, either. … Nothing happened positive financially this year. … We were last (and still are, averaging 18,549). I didn't forecast last."
• On the status of manager Joe Maddon, whose contract expires after 2012: "I have no reason to think he wouldn't be here, just like I didn't last time (when he was extended) or the time before that."
• On weekend attendance (average 22,756) at the Trop: "It can only help our performance, the team's performance, the more people that get behind us in the stadium cheering them on."
• On the stadium issue, with nothing new: "I'm glad there's discussion going on."