Letter to Dodgers' Andrew Friedman on how to navigate winter meetings

Steve Dilbeck shares some advice with Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers' president of baseball operations

Dear Andrew,

Can I call you, Andrew? I know we’re still getting to know each other and all, but so far it’s been a fairly lovely start. Seems like you’ve been straight with the media thus far, always a key to any relationship. And your new GM, Farhan Zaidi, showed great humor when I did my little Geek Squad bit. But while we’re still doing the honesty thing, admit it, you are a bunch of nerds with incredible new toys.

Now the winter meetings are about to get underway in San Diego and a new world that’s been hinted to you before is going to be in full, mind-blowing display. It’s one thing to know you’re figuratively the gorilla in the room and another to actually walk in the room and be the guy pounding on his chest.

You probably figure you’re ready for all this, but just in case, I thought I would do the friendly media thing and offer a few tips. Because, you know, we are a helpful bunch out here in L.A.

So here are a few suggestions on how best to navigate these new waters as other teams and agents flock to you like you’ve just come down the mountain.

1. Remember your primary charge is to win now.

This might sound conflicting to an owner's request to start trimming last season’s $240-million payroll down to the $200-million range, but it is your No.1 goal. I realize you’ve said you understand this, but forgive me if I’m not completely convinced.

The Dodgers made it to the playoffs the last two consecutive years and ultimately it was not received as successful. They won 94 games last year and are expected to improve.

So far all your roster moves have been around the edges, which is swell for now, but ultimately that won’t convince anyone the team has improved enough to take that last step. Still have concern you’re having some difficulty shedding your Tampa Bay small-market mentality. Better depth is swell, but so is significant upgrade.

2. Stay out of the hotel lobby.

Between the ring kissers and the agents and the other teams trying to fleece you, it’s a perilous journey. I know what you would really like to do is just sit down with your favorite media types and have a beer, but work calls.

3. Keep laughing at all the Dodgers’ rumors.

They come with the territory these days. If I’m an agent with a high-profile free agent player, I’m spreading word the Dodgers are seriously interested. That can only help the cause.

I can’t claim to know with any certainty how serious your interest is in Jon Lester, but I’m on the skeptical side. Difficult to assume Zack Greinke is going to opt out after next season, and it just doesn’t sound like you to go six years and some $150 million on a pitcher who’ll be 31 next month.

Ignore the conversation and remain focused on your goals, not only on the short term but long term. But while we’re on the subject of starting rumors, that Max Scherzer guy …

4. Eat at the Gas Lamp District’s Chocolate Cremerie.

And sample the pralines and fresh whipped cream crepes. This has nothing to do with baseball, I just need a reliable review. See how this trust thing works?

5. You are not required to do anything this week.

Now maybe you think that goes against the first tip to remember to win in 2015, but not really. Anyway, get used to conflicting orders. It would be great if you came away with a new shortstop, traded an outfielder or two and added a fifth starter, but none of that has to happen by Thursday.

I realize you’ve been to 10 of these before, but never with that giant target on and everyone coming at you. Just make sure you leave with a firm awareness of what moves you can make and then give immediate focus to getting them done in the next month or so.

6. Know how to leak your news.

If you do make any newsworthy moves this week, they immediately go to The Times’ Dylan Hernandez. Only because I have to deal with him if for some miraculous reason he doesn’t get the scoop.

OK, that should get you going. Anything else, I’m at your service. I think this has been good for both of us. Just remember, you’re not in Kansas or Tampa Bay anymore. And, oh yeah, uneasy lies the head that wears the financial crown.

Your new best buddy,

Steve

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