Dodgers Management: Is Extending Dave Roberts a Good or Bad Thing?

roberts
(MLB.com photo)

Yesterday, Ian shed some light on the announcement that the Dodgers decided to exercise their 2019 team option on skipper Dave Roberts. This came after many folks familiar with the situation anticipated that a four-year extension was imminent. Admittedly, boss Andrew Friedman has been bogged down with human resources duties, but many are still left wondering if Roberts’ future is secure in Los Angeles.

The option calls for Roberts to earn $1.1 million for the 2019 season, a salary that keeps him in the lower-tier of MLB skippers.

“We remain optimistic about working something out long term,” Friedman said on Wednesday from the GM meetings in Orlando. “The reason we’ve kind of slowed down a little bit is we’ve got a lot of coaching staff decisions to make and interviews. I think it speaks more to the optimism that something is definitely going to get done and allows us to focus on what we need to do in the near term.”

Throughout the 2018 World Series, Roberts was the victim of a virtual firing squad, especially when it came to some of his maneuvers when managing his bullpen. Social media, seemingly, was in a state of frenzy. While much of the fan base knew a victory over the Red Sox was improbable, many expected the series to be much closer than what it turned out to be, especially when considering the talent level of the Dodgers. When Rich Hill was pulled for another lefty pitcher in the seventh inning of Game 4, Boston capitalized on the decision and started pounding the nails in the Los Angeles coffin. Even the folks in the White House, who probably knew nothing about the dynamics of the Dodgers’ roster, shouted out criticism of Roberts’ late game relief pitching choices.

Nevertheless, a few days after the end of the series, the fallout felt as if it settled down a bit. Friedman give his customary year-end spiel to the media, emphasizing how it was the lack of offense that prevented the Dodgers from bringing home a coveted World Series trophy. There were still a few disgruntled protests about the inconsistency of the Los Angeles lineups and the thought processes behind the batting orders, but for the most part, the majority of people in the Dodgers’ camp began looking towards the winter and the prospective squad the club would field in 2019.

Still, some were surprised about the reports of the possibility the team was considering extending Roberts four more years. Yet, these concerns arose from folks who almost certainly did not know how the management crew functioned. There were theories that most of the lineup decisions and prospective in-game substitutions came from the analytics department in the front office, while other theories suggested that the executive management team only made “recommendations” to Roberts and his coaching staff. Some even believed that Roberts was operating in the capacity of a puppet, allowing Friedman and his crew to call all the shots from the luxury box.

Whatever the case was, though, there are few managers with the personality, people skills and communication ability of Roberts—qualities that set him apart from the majority of his counterparts across the game. And, when considering all the talent the Dodgers left on the bench on a nightly basis, very few managers have the interpersonal skills like Roberts to keep the temperament of his roster in check. Combine all that with his expertise in motivation—the Dodgers dug themselves out of a 10-game under .500 hole in May—and it’s tough to say that anyone else would be better for the job, despite consecutive World Series defeats.

Sure, the Dodgers could have played much better, but at the same time, some of the blame needs to be put on the players. If the Dodgers hypothetically considered replacing Roberts as skipper, who would be a superior choice? When looking at all the evidence and the body of his work over the last three years as Los Angeles manager, there likely isn’t anyone better suited to guide the club.

At the end of the day, a four-year extension isn’t the worst thing in the world.

 

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17 thoughts on “Dodgers Management: Is Extending Dave Roberts a Good or Bad Thing?

  1. I disagree that some of the blame needs to be put on the players. I think most of the blame needs to be put on the players. Roberts has the highest winning percentage of any Dodger manager in history. There have been eight managers since Lasorda last won a Series and none of them did this well. Lasorda went his last 8 seasons without winning a World Series. Yes, a lot of fans are frustrated and it’s easy to blame the manager. Yes, he’s made some bad strategical decisions. Should he be fired? No. Should he get that extension? Absolutely, and for the amount of money they’ll be paying him they can cut him loose after a couple of years if need be and hardly notice the money left on the contract.

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    1. Correction – I meant to say the highest winning percentage in L.A. Dodger history. There were a couple who did better in Brooklyn.

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    2. I don’t think you can put MOST the blame on the players, especially when considering cases like when some mathematical genius hits Enrique Hernandez third when the Dodgers are barely breathing in Game 5 of a WS. That’s just piss-poor decision-making right there from a logistics standpoint. There are a lot of things which are out of the players’ control.

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      1. Yeah, maybe they were using the Reversion to the Mean theory there with Kike. I guess they disproved the theory. No denying that the roster which Friedman gave Roberts has contributed a lot to his success but I also think the way he handles the players has a great deal to do with it. I’m sure Doc and Friedman and the players would all say that they share in the accolades when things turn out well and share the blame when things turn out poorly. Not sure if they really believe that but I’m sure that’s what they would say if you put a mic in their face. I was amazed at how quickly I got over the Series performance this year. I kept thinking of what it would be like to be an Orioles, Reds or Mariners fan and that really helped.

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      2. Not sure if you guys saw, but Friedman said yesterday that there’s a possibility that he doesn’t hire somebody to replace Farhan, as he, Byrnsey, Slater and Gomes can all work as a team to assume Farhan’s old duties.

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      3. I found that statement very interesting because they’ve now lost both Farhan and Alex Anthopoulos. Does that mean he figures he had too many people before? I would be surprised if they don’t bring in someone else before next season. It just may be that with all of the other positions he has to fill, he may think his current group can get the job done on a temporary basis.

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  2. Extended? Sure. Blame? What blame? They won the pennant and were two blown saves and a 7+ Ace ERA (and 2 L’s) away from a Game 7. Players play. Managers manage to get blamed when players play poorly.

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  3. Let’s remember it’s great to be rooting for your home team at the end of October! The Dodgers are doing a lot of things right! And I like Dave Roberts. Game 4 was not his fault! Hill admitted he was on empty. Heck I would have pulled him after he walked the first batter. It’s not Robert’s fault every reliever he brought in blew up. How’s that his fault! That was the bullpen he was dealt. If your looking for fault look no further than your best 2 players. If Jansen closes out game 2 last year that series was ours! And if Kershaw cant win game 5 with the Dodgers scoring 10 runs you don’t deserve to win a World Series. And much the same this year with Boston! Cora’s a genius bc his players came through and Robert’s is an idiot bc his didn’t!

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  4. If Roberts bull pen had done its job, we would be seeing things differently. We all talked, at the trading dead line, how we needed to address the bull pen, but the front office tried to fix things with retreads and bandaids. Granted the pen did play better, I thought they might be good enough, but ultimately they weren’t good enough to play at the highest level. Not Roberts fault. We got what we paid for.

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  5. Hey Dennis, are you going to address shaikins article about the dodgers budget staying about the same as it is for the next couple of years. Seems like a pretty big deal to me. I thought we would spend after the reset, now it seems we may not, if that paper he got ahold of is true.

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    1. I saw that story earlier this evening. Maybe the front office and coaching staffs are gonna have similar caps, too. Perhaps they could save a little more money if they make Doc double-up as the third base coach.

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      1. Why would it be important to come out publicly and say they intend to stay under the cap again? There must be a reason. The reset was done. We paid the price for it. Millions of fans expect to compete with those teams willing to push the luxury cap limits – teams like the World Champion Boston Red Sox. What might be going on behind those closed doors? Doors that house fewer executives every few days. I’m sure there will be explanations given. We get stuff explained to us every day. Some of it believable. Most of it bullsh*t.

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      2. I think Amazon absorbed Sears. Maybe Bezos wants the Dodgers.

        I’d like an explanation, but doubt we get one. I still believe Guggs might be tap dancing around some trouble.

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  6. 195mil isn’t exactly chump change, the dodgers should still remain competitive, but I am disappointed, I thought after the luxury tax reset they would go out and spend what they needed to get over the hump. All of these owners are the same, they talk about winning championships but in the end it’s always the bottom line that wins out. Why did they need to look for additional investors in the first place? Makes a person wonder.

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    1. “Why did they need to look for additional investors in the first place?”

      That’s the question I asked the other day and what I came up with was “because they need the money”. Why would the Guggs need money? Well, I was wondering the same thing about several gargantuan corporations back in 2008. The truth is things are never as they seem. On the surface there is no apparent reason why the Dodgers would be short of money. What’s below the surface? Who knows. One thing we do know, as paying lemmings, if there are financial problems, we won’t be told the truth up front.

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