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Dodgers: Breaking Down Why Dave Roberts is Returning as Manager

Dave Roberts will be back in 2020.

Dave Roberts addresses the media on workout day ahead of the 2019 NLDS.

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.

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.

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?

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.

Lessons Learned

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

Written by Tim Rogers

A fan of the Dodgers since 1973 since I got my first baseball cards while living in Long Beach. I came to San Diego for college and never left nor did I ever switch my Dodgers' allegiance. Some know me as the "sweater guy". #ProspectHugger

25 Comments

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  1. I have on virtually every article written about Roberts and Friedman have commented my support on the both of them as well on Twitter and have received my fair share of backlash for it, from a very realistic view yes I’m disappointed with the early exit this year and no I’m not just okay with not winning it all but i do believe with Roberts and Friedman it will happen Roberts is the perfect manager to have especially with all our young talent in the farm he is the perfect guy to have welcoming them in to the majors to get them off to a successful career in the bigs and yes, he has made more mistakes then i would care to list, but at the same time but i think his temperament during the big games is what is needed for a lot of players he has true leadership skills it is not easy keeping that many egos in check and i believe if you fire him you set yourself and the team up to sart a slippery slope of a lot of bad years of turnover with failed mangers trying to replace him. Friedman is also very good at what he does i thought getting Friedman to stay with the club was by far the single most important thing to do this off season.

    • I think your first sentence is about the longest sentence I’ve ever seen. Periods are a good thing. ?

    • You obviously weren’t around to see Lasorda manage or you wouldn’t be espousing such nonsense. To mismanage in the post season so egregiously three consecutive years with such talented players, is incompetence. The traits of a good manager are demonstrated when they can induce a team of average players, with limited star players, succeed – think Lasorda in ‘88 and San Fransisco’s Three championships.

      • Correct, Casey. But IMHO the team was and still is not a good enough team to compete with the better teams and the better pitching of those teams in the PS. and yes, Dodgers have interchangeable parts but no real great players. In addition they are still tooo left handed on offense without any real impact RH bats. Dodgers won 106 games but as of now nobody really cares because when it mattered the most (in the PS) they fell far short.

  2. It has been clear for a long time that Jansen is very questionable as a closer, hopefully things will change for him, and that Kelly is very inconsistent. What was Roberts suppose to do when the FO never really addressed these issues? They have to tighten up their starting and relief pitching, and moving Turner to first is a great idea.

    • Right on because pitching WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS Look at the ALCS with Yankees down 3 games to 1 against the Astros.. Right now I am very glad Dodgers are not in the PS or going to a WS because just imagine how Dodgers would be completely embarrassed by the opposing team.

  3. Absolutely get rid of Roberts…out managed by everyone in the playoffs and simply not capable of making the right call in critical moments. Great guy! So let’s admire him from afar managing another team and get a real winner at the helm. Otherwise,
    don’t count on winning a WS…not going to happen.

  4. Absolutely get rid of Roberts…out managed by everyone in the playoffs and simply not capable of making the right call in critical moments. Great guy! So let’s admire him from afar managing another team. Otherwise don’t count on winning a WS…not going to happen.

  5. Why reply?? nothing is going to change.. just samr heartsche over again… same to losers directing the team..same players who can’t handle the pressure of playoffs and WS…..win 106 games.. big deal!!!! and lose ones that count…losers in 2019..losers in 2020

  6. I don’t think Dave Roberts manages well in the post season, proof is looking back at 2017 and most recently, 2019. Dodgers could have won 2017 World Series but keeping Kershaw in and Darvish to pitch game 7, both backfired.

  7. A big sugar-coated article. Don’t care if he gets along with the media. Don’t care if hes liked by the players. Sometimes making the right decision causes you not to be liked. Don’t care if he gets along with the FO. Sometimes a dissenting voice needs to be heard. Bottom line is he doesn’t learn from his multiple mistakes and continues to make boneheaded decisions. Would hate to see his record with another team like the Padres. He is a terrible manager.

    • I agree completely, if you keep making the same mistakes and expecting different results
      there must be something wrong with you.

      • One other thing is that I am not that convinced the position players are’all in’ on the way Roberts shuffles lineups and players around on a daily basis.. It kind of lens itself to the inconsistencies we have seen with the offense. We have covered those pitching decisions and we know of the results of them.

  8. As long as Roberts is the manager of the Dodgers we will never win in a world series. Game 5 is the typical Roberts managing a game. When Kershaw gets rocked with the 1st home run, why was he still in the game after that? I would have yanked him immediately. It just shows the ignorance on the front office. Just like they needed another pitcher for the run back in July so why was nothing ever done? I have to come to the conclusion that we will never get a world series.

  9. So, do all you naysayers re Roberts think he forgets what he has done during the regular season when playoffs occur?. What would you all be saying about the Cardinal Management after their less than inspiring show in the four game sweep if you were St Louis fans? I would suggest holding final judgment until after the World Series and see what Washington does against the Yankees or more likely the Astros. The Dodgers would need Kershaw in his prime along with a Koufax and Drysdale to surpass Scherzer, Strasburg and Corbin. Sanchez was no slouch in his start either. The Nats may just be for real

    • What it also points to is that Dodgers got rich in winning against many sub par teams with less than stellar pitching in the regular season. Look at the division they play in. But when it comes to the elite pitching of the better teams that is a different story.

  10. You will notice in Doc reply why they did not get it done,.number one was “Hitting”, I agree. If you don’t hit you don’t win. Period.

    • Agree, Harold, that if ya don’t hit ya can’t score and if ya can’t score at least some runs, ya won’t win. And Dodgers were just not good enough offensively when it came down to facing better pitching.

  11. Ok so he has the presence the personality down to perfection but what about the terrible decisions he makes in the playoffs specifically the last 3 years. Peoples votes changed because they cooled down and got brainwashed by the media but their initial feeling were correct and they are smarter than they think. NEVER FORGET he pulled a dealing Hill in game 2 in 2017 after what 4 or 5? Emptying out the bullpen and blowing the lead the bullpen was never the same after that. Then he doesn’t pull Darvish in game 7 before it gets out of hand (which all of us at home could see transpiring) supposedly an all hands on deck game. Then in 2018 after a huge game 3 win and crushing blow to BOS we had a golden chance to tie the series after a big homerun from Puig, what does dodo do? Pulls Hill AGAIN too early and the two come up with a ridiculous excuse afterwards. Game was blown down in the series 3-1 now, the team was deflated demoralized because of him. Then 2019, up 3-1 in the 8th, instead of using a setup guy Maeda or Kelly he sticks with homer prone and choker Kershaw who serves up 2. Maeda finishes the inning with ease. But there’s still a chance after that, game tied he goes to Kelly which is good but then trots him back out for a second inning it was well documented that he falls apart when you push your luck. He’s good for one but somehow our manager doesn’t know this, boom in classic Kelly fashion he loads the bases on slop and gives up a slam season over the way we all suspected it to with Kelly giving it away. Unreal. NEVER FORGET. Don’t let the media change what you know to be true

  12. The fact remains. Roberts lost two world series, two national all-star team loses and now this years playoffs. It is true we need more black players and true we need one less manager.

  13. Roberts is not going to deliver! Friedman (the genius) never delivered in Tampa!
    Analytics coupled with poor decision making personnel spells doom!
    Communication with players? He couldn’t communicate with Bellinger to lay Off pitches in the dirt! Seager to work the count! For Taylor to open his eyes when he swings at a pitch! Roberts and Friedman needed to go!
    Now that’s behind us! GO BLUE????????

  14. ONE THING I NOTICED IN THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER. DAVE ROBERTS WAS MANAGING LIKE A MANAGER WHOSE TEAM HAD A 20 GAME LEAD OVER THE NEXT TEAM. HOWEVER, HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN WORRIED ABOUT HAVING THE BEST RECORD SO THEY WOULD GET HOME FIELD ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE PLAYOFFS. HOW MANY GAMES WERE THE DODGERS TIED OR BEHIND BY ONE RUN IN THE 8TH OR 9TH INNINGS WITH A MAN ON THIRD BASE AND NO OUT AND HE DIDN’T BUNT? I SAW TWO GAMES WHERE THE DODGERS WERE TIED OR ONE RUN BEHIND ON THEIR LAST TIME UP. THEIR FIRST BATTER GOT TO FIRST. ROBERTS WOULDN’T BUNT TO PUT THE PLAYER IN SCORING POSITION. THEIR WERE A NUMBER OF TIMES WHEN THEY HAD A MAN ON THIRD WITH NO OUT AND ROBERTS WOULDN’T BUNT.. I HAVE NEVER SEEN A BATTING PRACTICE, BUT I HAVE BEEN TOLD MOST PLAYERS TRY TO HIT THE BALL OUT.. THEY SHOULD ALL SEE FILMS OF TONY GWYNN HITTING. THANK YOU

  15. Dave Roberts managed position players well but he is the worst handler of pitchers in the world. He is not content to let pitchers pitch and insists on making his presence known by making stupid moves.

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