NOV. 23: The Dodgers have formally announced the hiring. In the press release announcing the move, Friedman issued the following statement:
“We could not have been more impressed with [Roberts] through this process. His energy is infectious and he has the rare ability to make a genuine connection with every person he comes across. He has developed strong leadership qualities and accumulated a breadth of baseball experience over his career as both a player and coach. He is a “baseball man” and “people person” in the truest sense of those words. We feel fully confident that he will effectively lead our team in pursuit of its ultimate goal — bringing a world championship back to the city of Los Angeles.”
NOV. 22: 11:12pm: The official introductory press conference will be held after the Thanksgiving weekend, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports. Roberts will sign a three-year deal, Nightengale reports, and Hernandez adds that the contract also contains a club option on a fourth season. (Both links to Twitter.)
7:28pm: The Dodgers are expected to hire Dave Roberts as the team’s next manager on Monday, sources tell Dylan Hernandez, Bill Plaschke and Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Talks are in the “final stages” according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports the last contractual details are expected to be completed by tonight.
Roberts, 43, has spent the last five seasons on the Padres coaching staff, first acting as a first base coach from 2011-13 and then as the bench coach for the last two years. He wasn’t a candidate for the Padres’ managerial vacancy, though he did interview to be the Mariners’ next manager before Scott Servais was hired. This will be Roberts’ first managerial job at any level of pro baseball, aside from one game last summer as a fill-in for the Padres after Bud Black was fired.
It’s not, however, Roberts’ first time wearing Dodger blue. The Dodgers (2002-04) were one of five clubs Roberts played for during his 10-year Major League career, as he amassed a .266/.342/.366 line over 3092 with the Indians, Dodgers, Red Sox, Padres and Giants from 1999-2008. Roberts is probably best known for his brief tenure in Boston, as his steal of second in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS is hailed as the key turn-around moment in that incredible Red Sox comeback (and their eventual march to a curse-breaking World Series title).
Roberts may have also somewhat come from behind in getting the Dodgers job, as director of player development Gabe Kapler was heralded as the early favorite. Team ownership, however, insisted on a thorough search that expanded to include experienced former managers such as Bud Black, Kirk Gibson and Bob Geren, Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez, University Of Nebraska head coach Darin Erstad and Dodgers coaches Tim Wallach and Ron Roenicke. According to the latest reports, the search had been narrowed to Roberts and Kapler.
Roberts will jump right into the deep end as a rookie manager, as he will be tasked with leading a star-studded roster with a $200MM+ payroll to its first World Series appearance since 1988. The Dodgers won three straight NL West titles under Don Mattingly’s leadership, though the team only won one playoff round in those three seasons. Mattingly and the Dodgers, of course, mutually parted ways after the team was eliminated by the Mets in this year’s NLDS and Mattingly went on to take over the Marlins’ managerial job.
Roberts is Andrew Friedman’s first managerial hire since taking over as the Dodgers president of baseball operations, and thus it could be argued that Friedman now has all of his ideal personnel in place in both the front office and the dugout. It’s also just the second managerial hire that Friedman has made in a decade as a top executive; as he did in hiring Joe Maddon to manage the Rays in 2006, Friedman has again picked a well-regarded bench coach to become a first-time big league manager.