Sometimes it can be a tough room for Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. Despite being the winnest manager in Dodger history (by winning percentage), Doc tends to catch a lot of flack over moves and lineups deemed “analytically driven.”
Recently on the Bleav in Dugout Dudes podcast, the manager opens up with friend and former big leaguer Brett Tomko about his time coming to the Dodgers, among other things. And opens up is indeed the correct descriptor as Dave shares a more vulnerable side to his story.
Exclusive: Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts talks adapting in quarantine + everything that goes into his job.
— Bleav Podcast Network (@BleavPodcasts) May 5, 2020
Surprisingly, he goes all the way back to former LA manager Don Mattingly to start his story.
It was from the very beginning when I took this job and they parted ways with Don Mattingly and Andrew and Farhan were running the baseball operations from day one, whoever the manager was going to be deemed as a puppet. No matter who it was. So now it’s just something that I’ve just got to deal with I know what’s real, what’s not real, but there’s a narrative that was built from the very beginning.
The Mattingly Era
For those who might not remember, Mattingly managed the Dodgers from 2011-2015. By the middle of his tenure, the clubhouse began to get away from him as egos grew larger and larger amongst players. After an NLDS loss to the New York Mets in 2015, the club held an impromptu and tense press conference where it was announced that Donnie Ballgame would no longer be leading the team.
Former LA GM Farhan Zaidi had been hired a year before and as his time with Mattingly went on, it became clear that the two did not quite see eye to eye. Zaidi was much more of a computers and numbers guy as where Mattingly was a former player from the 80s — a very different era for the game.
So with Zaidi given a blank check to hire just about whoever he wanted (although he didn’t get his first choice of Gabe Kapler at the behest of ownership) and ultimately landed on Dave Roberts to be the guy to lead the club.
But with that came the perception Roberts mentioned above — he’d be a yes man, a figurehead… a puppet. Something Doc strongly says he is not.
Through his growing pains, Roberts has become a top manager in the game, even if every move doesn’t work out in his favor. Still, he sees the criticism.
Whether I take a pitcher out because he’s not throwing well — it’s analytics. Whether he takes him out and he does well, there’s nothing to be said it’s never it’s always when it goes bad — it’s the analytics. And then when I do stuff that goes against analytics then its always ‘he should have used the analytics’ so you can’t win and you can’t play that game.
Seeing a little fire come out of Roberts is a nice thing to hear… I think quarantine might be getting to him. Great stuff with Dave and the Dugout Dudes!