Friedman, a native of Houston, played college baseball at Tulane and worked in finance in New York City before joining the Tampa Bay Rays as a Director of Baseball Development in 2004. He became the Rays GM at the age of 28 in 2005.
He's widely credited with building playoff teams in 2008 and 2010 despite playing in the same division as the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, whose payrolls dwarf Tampa Bay's. Friedman has been able to develop a strong line of cost-controlled young talent to compete at a fraction of the price.
While there are no indications he is interested in leaving the Rays, the Astros would present an opportunity to work for a much bigger-market team that would allow him to re-sign his own free agents. As Billy Beane proved in Oakland, even the sharpest GM can eventually be worn down by huge payroll disparities with his competitors.
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