1. The wrong pick
The Rays had the No. 1 pick in the 2008 draft and whiffed. They chose high school shortstop Tim Beckham, who has been a bit player for three different franchises. Meanwhile, at No. 5, the Giants selected FSU catcher Buster Posey who has won a Rookie of the Year award, an MVP award, made six All-Star teams and won three World Series titles.
2. A losing gamble
Drug addiction and knee surgery limited Josh Hamilton to 50 at-bats in the previous four minor league seasons when the Rays did not protect him on the 40-man roster in 2006 because Friedman was gambling no team would keep him on the active major league roster all season. He was wrong. Hamilton was acquired by the Reds in the Rule 5 draft and hit .292 with 19 homers as a rookie. He went on to win an MVP award and make five All-Star teams.
3. Burrell or bust? Both, actually
The Rays rarely dipped into the free agency pool under Friedman. The one time they did was a disaster. Pat Burrell signed a two-year, $16 million deal and was a complete bust.
4. Points of no return
4. Besides passing on Posey in the draft, the Rays failed to hold on to three other big league catchers. Stephen Vogt, Robinson Chirinos and John Jaso were all traded for little in return. Instead, the Rays went with Jose Molina as their primary catcher in Friedman’s final three seasons.