The Dodgers seemed to have not even considered moving on from Dave Roberts even after his awful National League Division Series (NLDS) game 5 performance. There was plenty of blame to go around but a number of Dodgers fans were ready to move on from Doc.
Does Dave Roberts keep his job?
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) October 10, 2019
It does seem that some Dodgers fans have changed their minds and are now split in half over whether they want to keep Roberts as the manager. Time does heal some wounds, I guess.
Now that it has been more than a week, is it the right call that the Dodgers are keeping Dave Roberts as the manager for 2020?
— Tim Rogers – SDDODGER (@SDDodger) October 17, 2019
There are two facts that are not going to change going into the 2020 baseball season: Andrew Friedman is the President of Baseball Operations and Dave Roberts is the manager. We can howl and complain all we want but it doesn’t change those facts. By the way, howl and complain all you want.
Let’s speculate on some reasons why the Dodgers are keeping Dave Roberts as the manager.
Reasons Why Dave Roberts Is The Manager
He Communicates Well With The Players
I look at two pieces of evidence that makes me think Dave Roberts communicates well with the players. The first one is the last two months of the 2018 season and the postseason. That team had a established players like Matt Kemp and Brian Dozier along with rising stars Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy that were all part of platoons. The team improved once the platoons started and that team ended up going to the World Series. I still can’t believe that team made it through the playoffs and Dave Roberts has to be given some credit for maneuvering those landmines of egos.
“At the end of the day, we have a lot of personalities in here,” starter Ross Stripling said. “You think back to 2016 and 2017 when we had Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, and then Matt Kemp, some mega names and stars. How do you keep a locker room of studs like that, where some of them are over the hill and started to lose their job?
You think about how it went down with Adrian, when (Bellinger) came up. We have had some stuff go down. He (Roberts) has kept us on course and focused about what we’re doing on the field.” – Pedro Moura, The Athletic
The other piece of evidence I use is how it seemed the clubhouse seemed much more solid once he took over. When Don Mattingly left after 2015 it seemed that he had written off Yasiel Puig. There were reports that they didn’t even speak to each other. Even after Roberts was hired there were some issues with Yasiel Puig that ended up getting him sent to AAA in 2016. However, Puig had good 2017 and 2018 seasons with no clubhouse chaos that we heard about. I give a lot of credit to Roberts as he helped to manifest an environment that allowed Puig to thrive.
You see the continuance of that with how the team lets Alex Verdugo be himself.
He Works Well With The Front Office
We know that there is a collaborative effort in creating game plans with many different parts of the organization. That is not a secret. They collaborate on the lineups. Roberts and his coaching staff are provided with information for each game that they should use during the game. Just like with any plan it can get derailed in a flash. They still have information but the plan goes away and the coaching staff are in the dugout to manage the game. It is an extreme insult to the staff to say that they are just puppets of the front office. These guys can get jobs in a heart beat and are proud professionals. Heck, Doc has guaranteed money and he can get fired and still get paid. Are Dave Roberts and Bob Geren really stooges of the front office? Is that the regard you hold those guys?
We won 106 games and I think between Dave Roberts, [pitching coach] Rick Honeycutt, [bench coach] Bob Geren… they’ve demonstrated a really strong ability to make in-game moves. They don’t work all work out, but more often than not the questions I have end up playing out in a favorable way. – Andrew Friedman, 10/14/19
The quote has Andrew Friedman talking both about how they are pleased with most of their moves and how they are responsible for the in-game moves.
It’s clear that the coaching staff and the front office work well together. You don’t bring back a group that has worked together for four years, while signing up for more, if they don’t work well together. Having a group on the same page is an important aspect of a team.
He Works Well With The Media
Throughout the term of Dave Roberts he’s had no issues with the media. Some of us are begging the media to ask some good questions, but he is never challenged. After game 5 it was nice to see some tough questions but the media backed off pretty quick. There were some articles from Ken Rosenthal, Andy McCullough and a few others but now they have backed off. Doc deflects well and is a great person to have in front of the media. To be honest, he is much more comfortable than Andrew Friedman in front of the media. He is just about the perfect manager to have as the point person with the media.
There Is Just Something About Him
I’ve had the opportunity to meet Dave Roberts a few times. He has a great presence about him and is instantly someone you like. My son met him and wished he’d had the opportunity to play for him after just meeting him. There is no doubt that people are attracted to his presence. If you watch Dodgers batting practice you will see Doc work the room, and that room is the whole ball field. He works his way around the whole outfield as he tries to talk to every player. Usually he will greet some fans and then work back to the infield. The whole way he is smiling and shaking hands with everybody within reach.
Stripling said he most respected Roberts’ never-changing mood. Many players, including himself, he said, “inevitably ride the wave.” Their moods vacillate from great to poor. The team never sees such changes within Roberts. – Pedro Moura, The Athletic
To have a manager who keeps a steady hand on his emotions is an important aspect to leadership. He seems to be a natural leader.
Will He Improve?
People are going to slam Roberts but it’s what he has to say as a players manager.
The hope is that he did learn from it in reality though. https://t.co/G0ITnOqnRw
— Vincent Samperio (@VinceSamperio) October 17, 2019
Possible Coaching Changes
With Rick Honeycutt moving into the front office, there will be at least one new voice for Dave Roberts during the games. It looks like Mark Prior, the current bullpen coach, will be the new pitching coach. If Bob Geren finds a managerial job, then that would provide another new voice for in-game decisions. This is my best hope for changes. It seems that the same types of mistakes with managing the pitching staff keep happening in the postseason.
Hire A New General Manager
The Dodgers have gone almost a year without a general manager. Hiring a new general manager, especially one from the outside, would bring another new voice. Other changes could happen within the Dodgers leadership that could bring that more new voices. Many Dodgers personnel are wanted by other teams and if those teams offer a better opportunity, that person will move on.
At my work, we do lessons learned every few weeks. We talk about what went right, what went wrong and what can we do to improve. Whatever the Dodgers do in this regard, I hope it improves. Again, there are just too many repeated pitching management mistakes.
Six difficult-to-parse moves by the Dodgers in Game 5:
1. Pushing Buehler to 117
2. Bringing in Kershaw w/ RISP
3. Letting Kershaw face Rendon/Soto
4. Using Kelly for 2nd inning
5. IBB-ing Soto instead of Kolarek
6. Letting Kelly face Kendrickhttps://t.co/urG0yLzcnW
— Andy McCullough (@ByMcCullough) October 10, 2019
Dave Roberts is definitely a major scape goat from the 2019 postseason. The pitching decisions from the postseason have been game-changers. Many call it hindsight to criticize the decisions but it has been foresight in many cases. It just seems like “Bizarro World” pitching decisions are coming from the dugout. The decisions don’t seem to be based on any reasonable analytics and are about going with the “gut” and unreasonable expectations.
I would like to see some different voices and some lessons learned. We’ll see as so many of us feel the in-game decisions for the Dodgers in the postseason have been a net-negative for the team. Nothing was more clear than game 5 of the 2019 NLDS.
Dave Roberts is the manager of the 2020 Dodgers and I wish him great success. What are your thoughts? Feel free to comment below.