The Dodgers have exercised their 2019 club option on manager Dave Roberts, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman tells reporters (Twitter link via Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register). The two sides have been discussing an extension since the 2018 season ended, and while they’ve yet to reach an agreement, talks on a multi-year deal will continue. Friedman adds that he expects a multi-year deal to be reached at some point.
Though there have been numerous reports pointing to a likely extension — Fancred’s Jon Heyman indicated yesterday that a four-year deal could be in the works — the Dodgers’ front office has had plenty of other issues with which to deal in the days since the World Series concluded. The team has already renegotiated David Freese’s contract to retain him for the 2019 season at a slightly lesser rate than his previous club option would’ve called for. More prominently, Dodgers brass hammered out a contract extension for ace Clayton Kershaw that guarantees him $93MM through the 2021 season.
Added to the pile of complications is the fact that the Dodgers have been in the process of sorting out how they’ll proceed without general manager Farhan Zaidi, who left the organization to become the president of baseball operations for the division-rival Giants. Meanwhile, third base coach Chris Woodward has been named the new manager of the Rangers, while minor league hitting coordinator Paco Figueroa is on his way to the Phillies, where he’ll serve as an outfield/baserunning coach.
The delay in lining up the terms of a new contract with Roberts, then, is somewhat understandable. And while some Dodgers fans will bristle at the notion of a new contract given Roberts’ affinity for platoon-based matchups and an adherence to limiting the number of times a starting pitcher is allowed to face an opposing lineup, the front office is clearly pleased with both the on-field results and the manner in which Roberts has managed a clubhouse filled with big personalities. Los Angeles has appeared in back-to-back World Series and won an NL West division title in each of Roberts’ seasons at the helm, and the Dodger staff has been largely successful in getting high-profile players to buy into functioning in reduced roles that are often dependent on matchups.