Dodger Fan Letters: Did I miss the signs, Dave?

Welcome to a new series we have at Dodgers Nation where we open up the stage to passionate fans, such as yourselves. Some times, there are just not enough characters in Twitter or that instagram pic needs more than the thousand words to convey your passion.

This week, we received a contribution from Tony Sarsam, who is a season ticket holder and life long Dodger fan. For those who would like to contribute to this, please visit our contact us page with your idea and contact information:

Dear Dodgers Nation,

Things are bad…

Frankly, things were getting bad last year, but in all the excitement we may have missed the signs.

When we think about outcomes, and the relationship to strategy, it is easy to confuse the two.  You have likely heard many sports “analysts” praise the most obtuse tactics simply because the overall outcome was a “W.” Managers charged with leading teams get a pass on flawed practices when they win.

Good managers with good teams win a lot.  Bad managers with bad teams lose a lot. Good managers with bad teams may beat expectations, but no one cares. And that leaves the most bedeviling combination in all sports; good teams with bad managers.

And that brings me to Dave Roberts.

Roberts may eventually become a decent manager (I personally do not believe that is likely for Don Mattingly).  But Roberts has demonstrated bad judgment quite consistently in his time as the Dodgers manager…which earns him the (at least temporary) title of Bad Manager.

In the last 75 regular season games, Roberts has led one of the most talented teams in baseball to a record of 29-46.  That is the equivalent on a full-year basis of losing 100 games.  MLB baseball managers are paid ok (top managers earn around $5 million/year) and there are many who are eager to replace them.  I am a big believer in rigorous accountability for leaders, especially ones so handsomely paid.  Thus I am comfortable declaring that Dave Roberts must go.

His defenders might point to his overall record last year, but I would point to his most active meddling period in the last third of the season, in which he went 1-17 at one stretch. They may point to recent injuries, but I would point to the fact that over most of this period the Dodgers were quite healthy.  They may point to bold moves last spring when Taylor, Bellinger and Wood began to shine.  I would point to the fact that Roberts had none of these three on his roster until one of his poorer choices for opening day got hurt (the technical term for that strategy is “luck”).

But alas it is Roberts’ whimsy with the bullpen that has solidified his title of Bad Manager.  He loses games by taking starting pitchers out after 75 pitches, so struggling middle relievers can seal the Dodgers’ fate. He has clung to the tired lefty/righty mythology such that he frequently missed opportunities to pitch (then Dodgers, now Cubs phenom) RHP Brandon Morrow against LH hitters, even though he was statistically the best in baseball versus lefties much of last year.

Most painful was last year’s World Series.  The lucid management of starting pitchers and relievers would have left the Dodgers with wins in at least 6 games (thus, a 4-1 championship).  We watched the worst of these follies in game seven…licked our wounds…and said we’ll get ‘em next year.

It’s next year.  We ain’t getting ‘em.  And the reason is mostly the same.  Roberts is a bad manager with a good team.  It is time for him to go.


Tony Sarsam

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  1. Absolutely great write Tony. I’m glad you were able to get published what most die hard Dodger’s fans know, but the FO won’t admit to. The team has had 2 straight “player managers”, but neither have shown they are smart enough X & O wise to manage more then a college team. I will debate though that the Dodger’s aren’t near as talented as you and others think they are, but they are much better then their record shows.

  2. Nailed it, and I’d like to add, Roberts and the team lost their playoff swagger when they got to the World Series. They could have pooped diamonds they were so tight. Puig even stopped licking his bat. The moment was too big for them and it clearly showed. I really like D. R. but he’s not at the level the Dodgers need to be. Besides I believe he’s lost the team. If Bellinger can decide to ignore signs from the dugout then there’s a huge problem.

    D.R. needs to lose his sh*t and get some emotion on this team. Last night 9th. inning after getting leadoff batter on base and Joc Pederson is swinging for the fence? Are you kidding? This is HORRIBLE BASEBALL. It’s as if the lunatics have taken over the asylum.

    • I agree with most of the above. I can only conclude that Baez and Pedersen must know some deep dark secrets about DR and/or upper management to keep getting chosen to perform.

      As for starting pitchers, these guys are supposed to be in way better condition than their predecessors (Drysdale, Sutton, Koufax and the like) yet those guys would have fought you to stay in the game thru 9 and these guys go 5 – 6 and are injury prone. DR needs to start thinking like we all know; there is no one worth his salt in the bull pen so let the starter try and figure it out. The exception being Rich Hill. Great curve ball but if a major league batter knows what’s coming, it is hittable.

  3. You got it….last night when Robert let Stripling bat in the 6 th, with 2 on, then let’s him pitch to 1 batter….then takes him out to let his favorite bullpen come in & blow the game up….no common baseball sense……I think he is trying to see how many games he can lose. Gw

  4. I am now coming around to this Idea as well. I have frequently thought WTF about Roberts use of pitchers both starting and relievers. Something is really rotten in this clubhouse. This team even with the injuries has a lot of talent on the field. I hate to say it but It may be time for Roberts to go. I have never approved of the fans booing Baez but he needs to go too. A shakeup at this level and time will do more good than harm.

  5. Roberts’ latest stupid decision was not to walk Realmuto last night with the game on the line. That guy has a ridiculous average against the Dodgers and guess what? He hits the game-winning homer!
    I will keep repeating myself – either Roberts should go – if he is the one handling the pitching staff and/or the front office has to go – if they are giving him orders!

  6. Not only time for Roberts to go but the two dunces managing the front office. They are so use to leading cellar-dwellers that they are turning the Dodgers into that kind of club.

  7. The one thing I’d add is that Roberts inherited a good team 3 seasons ago and last year’s team had several players have career or near-careen seasons. Now, these guys (Taylor, Bellinger, Wood, Puig, Jansen, Barnes) have come back to earth. Then, guys like Hernandez, Peterson, and Forsyth continue to be pretty horrible at the plate, and injuries to Turner and Seager delivery the team that’s playing now. Add in a bad bullpen and a starting pitching staff that can’t stay healthy, well you see what you get. And Doc has no managerial skills to work through this and no help from the FO to keep or bring in guys to improve this mess. And speaking of the front office…sign Forsyth to a large FA deal following his career year, sign Hill to a deal following a careen season with the Dodgers to a ridiculous contract when he has shown he can’t stay off the DL, then can’t/won’t pay Morrow, but sign two guys for the pen who can’t get anyone out (one sent the OKC) combined with other firestarters (Baez) in the pen…OMG this has evolved into a bad team, lead by a bad manager with a bad FO–strike three.