The biggest name in the Chicago Cubs’ general manager search – other than Brian Cashman, I suppose – is Tampa Bay Rays GM Andrew Friedman.

The 34-year-old wunderkind has been in charge of the Rays since 2006, and guided the team to its first winning season in its then 10-year existence. He utilizes the blend of scouting and advanced statistical analysis prized by Tom Ricketts, and he’s already picking up support from Cubs players.

“He flipped the Tampa team around in two-plus years,” Garza said of Friedman. “Yeah, we went on a great run in 2008, but it’s not like it was a one-year wonder. The following season we still had a winning record, and last season we won the division once again. And this year, you know, I don’t know how he does it. But year in and year out he can put together a bullpen and put together the pieces he needs with the type of market he has.”

“I think he’d be great here, but like I said that’s just a biased opinion,” Garza continued. “I know there’s plenty of great GMs out there who would be great for this gig …. I think it’s going to be a fun couple months to see who we get and how it goes.”

Garza wasn’t the only player publicly supporting Friedman’s possible candidacy. Cubs’ first baseman Carlos Pena, a former Tampa Bay Ray, himself, complimented Friendman’s abilities as a GM.

It’s interesting to note that, this past offseason, Friedman allowed Pena to walk and traded Garza. Yet neither bears any ill will toward Friedman, which suggests Friedman the same likeability among players that helped make Hendry’s tenure so long.

FYI: As the search process goes on, I’ll be preparing a ‘Meet the Candidates’ type post (cheesy name, yes) for each of the notable possible Cubs GM candidates, in addition to these kinds of shorter updates.

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