By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer
Published November 11, 2005
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. - As part of his efforts to make the Devil Rays better in the future, new executive vice president Andrew Friedman has to fix some problems from the past.
Thursday, that meant leaving the general manager meetings to talk for two hours with top prospect Delmon Young, trying to soothe the hurt feelings that surfaced last season when Young called the Rays "cheap" for not promoting him to the majors and indicated he wouldn't be part of their long-term future.
"It went pretty well," said Young, 20, the minor-league player of the year. "It was great to meet him instead of seeing him walking around on his internship. We got to know each other and talked about backgrounds and philosophies. I know more which way the organization is going and what I need to work on to become a big-leaguer."
Friedman offered no promises as to when Young would be called up, which Young said was fine. The speculation was the Rays didn't want to accelerate the outfielder's eligibility for arbitration and free agency. "All we ask is that he be evaluated fairly based on his performance," agent Arn Tellem said, "and we have every reason to believe he will be."
Friedman said meeting with Young was high on his agenda while in California. "It was important for us to have a chance to talk and for us to be on the same page," he said. "Delmon obviously is going to be a big part of our winning teams."
Friedman also had extensive talks this week with Larry Reynolds, the agent for top infield prospect B.J. Upton. "I had very positive discussions with the Devil Rays regarding B.J. and I appreciate their straightforward approach," Reynolds said.
Also, the Rays continued discussions Thursday on picking Joe Maddon or John McLaren as their next manager, with a decision expected in the next few days. One issue is the benefit of continuity since McLaren was on their staff. Bobby Valentine, close to a new deal in Japan, is officially no longer a candidate.