Hunsicker brings credibility to Tampa

Gerry Hunsicker, Tampa Bay's new senior vice president, has the biggest name and most impressive portfolio in the team's revamped front office. All he lacks is the ultimate authority on moves: That designation belongs to Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman, a 28-year-old Tulane graduate who worked on Wall Street before gravitating to baseball.

Friedman and club president Matt Silverman, 29, are bound to invite skepticism from the old guard that's growing tired of front-office whiz kids. If the Hunsicker hiring shows anything, it's that they're smart enough to realize they don't know everything.

Hunsicker, who led the Astros to a 701-595 record and four National League Central titles as general manager, arrives in Tampa in a sort of mentor/adviser/sounding board role. Can he work effectively with Friedman? There's a fine line between a mentor helping to cultivate a protégé and smothering him (for evidence, check out the Larry Lucchino-Theo Epstein rift in Boston). But you wonder whether Paul DePodesta would have benefited from a similar front-office veteran to help him through the rough times in Los Angeles.