Quite a bit has changed this offseason, from the Los Angeles Dodgers losing star pitcher Zack Greinke to a division rival to Corey Seager replacing Jimmy Rollins at shortstop, but none has been bigger than Dave Roberts replacing Don Mattingly as the team’s manager.
Roberts got the job this offseason, and the team, from the players to the executives, seems to absolutely love him. As they should. You should always love the new manager that you hire. And Roberts fits the bill of a coach that the players can get behind and play hard for.
But most of the attention and excitement will be aimed at the enthusiastic Roberts as he tries to mold a sometimes fragmented club into a cohesive team, to push them beyond simply qualifying for the playoffs and into a team that advances to the World Series.
If Roberts can help propel the Los Angeles Dodgers to their first world championship since 1988, it’s possible that the organization will build him a statue in the near future. Getting the team to gel together and play as a unit might be tough, but it’s something Roberts is capable of doing.
And, if he is able to do that in his first season, he’ll really have earned his nickname:
First nickname of spring: Andrew Friedman keeps calling Dave Roberts "Doc."
— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) February 19, 2016
Roberts might be playing the role of an actual psychiatrist as much as he’ll be a manager. That’s the lovely nature of the job that he’s inheriting for this team. He’ll need to mold them into a team rather than, as Dilbeck puts it, a “fragmented club.”
Whether the team reaps major rewards under the first-year manager remains to be seen, obviously, but the team certainly appears to be headed in the right direction under a new voice. We all hope it leads to something glorious down the road.