MLB: Were the L.A. Dodgers Right to Hire Dave Roberts?
On Sunday night The Los Angeles Dodgers announced that they have decided to tab former player Dave Roberts as the team’s new manager on a three-year deal with an option for a fourth season. The 43-year-old was one of the nine reported candidates that interviewed for Los Angeles’ open managerial vacancy and was one of the final two choices for the position with the presumed favorite Gabe Kapler, who is the team’s current Director of Player Development and believed to be a huge analytics backer. However, it appears that Roberts blew away the Dodgers’ management in his interviews that gave them the strong belief that he can take the team to the next level.
He effectively replaces Don Mattingly, who had spent last four seasons as the manager before he mutually agreed to part ways with the team earlier last month, and Mattingly departs as the only manager in Dodgers’ history to guide the team to three straight postseason appearances.
With that in mind, it begs the questions- did the Dodgers make the right decision to hire Roberts as their next manager?
Los Angeles is relying on someone that has no managerial experience and has just recently began coaching in the majors. This is not stating that Roberts can’t get the job done, but the Dodgers are putting a lot of faith into a guy that has no track record of success managing a major-league team. He’s taking over a team that has the World Series-or-bust mentality — something that kept Mattingly on the hot seat for the entirety of his tenure.
The pressure to succeed right away will be there for Roberts. There will be the expectation that the team adds a fourth straight NL West division title in his first season and also vie for a World Series title because of the talent of the roster. The Dodgers are in the position to win now and to maintain for the foreseeable future with promising young talent like Corey Seager leading the charge. Roberts is well aware of the high expectations, and Los Angeles has clearly shown their faith that he can be the man that take them to greater heights.
He has already garnered support from players on the team such as All-Stars first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who has called the team’s new skipper “the best human being I’ve ever met.” The move has also been lauded by several former Dodgers players and coaches around the league. He has been heavily praised as being a charismatic person that has the ability to connect with others, which will certainly be put to the test with his handling of Yasiel Puig.
There has been nothing but support for the team’s decision to go with Roberts, but when it comes down to what’s going to matter above all else is the results on the field. The Dodgers will likely give him some leeway in his first season if they don’t contend for a championship, but things will ramp up in his second year with little margin for error. Management will need to see that the team is headed in the right direction towards meeting their goal of winning a World Series title.
The Dodgers will head into next season as the favorites to win the NL West and one of the teams with the highest odds to hoist the World Series trophy. All in all, there’s no clear-cut answer to whether Roberts can get Los Angeles over that final hump in the playoffs as only time will tell if he was the right choice.
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