Dodgers Rumors: Dave Roberts Returning As Manager Amid Growing Criticism

Since hiring Dave Roberts as manager before the 2016, the Los Angeles Dodgers have continued to add to an impressive stretch of regular-season success. Roberts additionally guided the club to their first World Series appearance since 1988, but a championship has continued to elude them.

When the Dodgers won the National League pennant in 2017, most labeled them the favorite against the Houston Astros. A back-and-forth series went in favor of the Astros, who won a decisive Game 7 at Dodger Stadium.

Last year, the Boston Red Sox dispatched of the Dodgers in five games. L.A. again was pegged to return to the Fall Classic this season, and that expectation grew behind a franchise-record 106 wins.

Instead the Dodgers flamed out in the first round, falling in five games to the Washington Nationals in the NL Division Series. Despite the disappointing finish to the season, Roberts is expected to remain as manager, according to Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times:

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who has been heavily criticized in the aftermath of the club’s season-ending loss to the Washington Nationals on Wednesday, will return next season, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.

Roberts remaining manager of the Dodgers doesn’t come as much of a surprise when considering his success (October shortcomings aside), contractural status, and the organization’s restraint from knee-jerk reactions. Roberts signed a four-year extension last December.

He became the first manager in MLB history to lead his team to division titles in each of his first four full seasons at the helm. In 2016, Roberts joined Tommy Lasorda (1977) as the only rookie managers in franchise history to guide the Dodgers to a division title.

While his decision-making in prior postseasons has garnered some criticism, Roberts’ management of the bullpen in the Game 5 loss to the Nationals has brought about increased scrutiny.

“So there’s always going to be second-guessing when things don’t work out,” Roberts said after the loss. “But I’ll take my chances any day on Clayton, and it just didn’t work out right there.”

Roberts previously identified the 2019 Dodgers as the “best” team the franchise has seen but was hesitant to subscribe to the idea of the season being World Series or bust.

With Roberts due to return, the next order of business for the Dodgers presumably lies with president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, whose contract expires this month. President and CEO Stan Kasten recently said his expectation was Friedman would remain with the club.