Connect with us

Dodger Baseball

Dave Roberts and 2023????

You are never going to get me to bad-mouth Dave Roberts.  Is he the best in-game manager tactician?  No.  But in today’s game it is the job of the manager to be a positive communicator with the players and face man for the organization.  Nobody has done that better than Dave Roberts.  Strategies, however, are made by a consortium of sorts.  I know this is a contentious topic.

I am not going to get hung up on WL percentages, as he has been blessed with some of the best rosters in MLB.  That being said, even with the talented rosters he has inherited, he has never lost the dugout full of prima donnas like lots of managers.  In his 7 seven seasons as the LAD manager, he has guided his team to 7 playoffs, 6 NL West Championships, 3 NL Pennants, and 1 World Series (and cheated from a 2nd). Could he have done more?  I know those of us sitting in our armchairs in front of the TV could have done better if given the chance.  But yes, he could have been more successful in the playoffs.  Should he have been?  That is harder to say.  None of us were there.  None of us were in the pre-game meetings.  None of us spoke with Bob Geren or Mark Prior (or Rick Honeycutt) before changes were or were not made.  None of us spoke with the players.  And it wasn’t Roberts who left all those runners in scoring position.

What we do know is that we did not like the outcomes, and someone has to be blamed.  It happens everywhere…in sports and in business.  You cannot fire the team, so maybe a different leader could have done better.  However, since 2000, only two managers have been WS Champion more than once.  Terry (Tito) Francona – Red Sox (my favorite manager for personal reasons), and Bruce Bochy – Giants.  Bochy is a 3 time winner, but holds a less than .500 winning percentage as a ML manager.  In 25 years, his record is 2003-2029 (.497).

Comparatively, Doc Roberts is 653-381 (.632) over his 7 seasons.  Also please note that Bochy did not win his first WS Championship until his 16th season.  Francona won his first in 2004.  It was his first season with Boston after 4 unremarkable seasons with Philadelphia. (1997-2000).  5th season as a manager.  Same as Doc.  Tito won his 2nd WS in his 8th year (2007).  In 22 seasons as manager, Francona has been to the WS 3 times (twice with Boston and once with Cleveland).  Same as Doc.  Bochy 4 times to the WS in 25 years.  I am going to go out on a limb and say that Roberts will get to at least one more WS in next 18 years as manager, maybe even win one.

2023 figures to be a different year…maybe a more complex one for Doc.  Justin Turner was the leader in the clubhouse, but now he is in Boston.  Who is going to be the go-between the clubhouse and management?   JT was trusted by both the players and managers/coaches.  I do not expect this to be much of a problem, but it will be different, and someone else is going to need to step up to be that voice.  Clayton Kershaw?  Austin Barnes?  Those are not JT personalities.  One is a pitcher and one is a reserve catcher. But how much of a JT will the team need?  I am okay with Doc trying to navigate that issue.  He is going to have to.

We all know that Doc’s biggest issues have been with pitching changes.  We do not need to revisit all of them AGAIN.  Biggest mistakes on the biggest stages.  We know this is a concern, and Doc needs better results. The team does not have a closer, and the team (AF/BG) says they are going with closer by committee.  What is going to happen when he makes the wrong decision as to who should close out the game?  Daniel Hudson?  Evan Phillips?  Brusdar Graterol?  Yency Almonte?  Alex Vesia? It was easy to go with KJ and Kimbrel even when they were faltering.  It was their role, and Doc loves to keep his players in their lanes.  Closer by committee takes those lanes away.

Doc has generally been in charge of a veteran team that did not rely on a lot of youth infusion.  That is not going to be the case this year.  Stan Kasten has said it is time for the next youth movement.  One, and maybe both, of Miguel Vargas and James Outman are going to play significant innings.  Michael Busch also figures to get meaningful playing time.  How many rookie pitchers are going to be counted on?  This is going to be a challenge for Doc.  What if the rookies get out to a slow start and AF/BG and the nerds say that the rookies still need to play?  We go back to the first issue.  Who does Doc turn to if the word is no change in the rookies role?

While I may have thought about these issues and how Doc might be affected, I need to give Noah Camras at DodgersNation credit for pushing me to make a comment here.

Doc has never encountered a season with this many questions before.  How is he going to handle it?.  How does he traverse the open questions?  Will the Dodgers hit WRISP in the playoffs this year?   This could be a tumultuous year for the Dodgers and Dave Roberts.  However, for me, at least going into the season, I have confidence in Doc.

26 Comments
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
26 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Oldbear48

Roberts is what he is. He has a great record as a manager, better than Alston or Lasorda percentage wise. Fans tend to forget he has to beat a lot more teams to win a World Series than Tommy or Walt did. Tommy was the first Dodger manager to win a World Series within the playoff format. Walt lost his only playoff format series in 74. Because of the split season in 81, he had to win two series, then in 88, they only had to beat the Mets for the flag. Roberts had to win 3 series to get there in 2020. The same thing holds true now since there is now a wild card series of 5 games. In all, it takes the team in the wild card 14 wins to become the champion. Roberts had to get 13 in 2020. The team with the best record needs 11 wins for the championship. Tommy missed his first two shots at the series, so di Roberts, He also missed in 83 and 85 when they were ousted in the playoffs. He mad a couple of bad decisions in those series. Pitching to Jack Clark was one. Alston made some too. No one is perfect. Roberts is the manager for the foreseeable future. Worrying about it or complaining is not going to change a thing. I think this will be Roberts first real difficult year. He has a lot of unknowns and question marks in his lineup.

Watford Dodger

Hi Jeff, hope life is good.

Brave decision to “go there” on Doc lol.

Totally agree with your assessment of his attributes but, what i find interesting is where you touched on JT and his role of conduit between Doc and the players for these past few seasons.

I don’t think that it is a coincidence that JT has been moved on at this point in the Dodger’s transitional period, as they try to bed in a number of Rookies at the same time.

He has undoubtedly been a great Dodger, and certainly (until recently), has performed when the lights have been at their brightest. It’s this other role he fulfilled that I’m not so enamoured about.
I’ve thought for sometime that somebody from the players needed to step up, and make Doc a bit more accountable – to challenge him a bit more, if you will.

For all his attributes of managing a lot of Egos and a very deep pool of talent, and to tow the Guggenheim line, the Dodgers were far too flat on many occasions, most recently in our deflating exit to the Padres. It turns out that JT was our “Clubhouse Leader’”, something I was unaware of before now. Of course I knew he was respected, but “ Leader” – No!

Interesting that a couple of well regarded “Club House Presences” in JDM and Miguel Rojas have been bought in. I think AF has decided to change things up in the Clubhouse, especially in this time of potentially 3 Rookies at one time, and unwilling to change things at the top (Roberts), he has done the next best thing.

Everyone was expecting JT back on a lesser deal, and I’m sure he would have liked to remain in Dodger Blue, but it seems to me that AF decided to change it up, and leave Doc a little more exposed. Removing his comfort blanket of JT does this, and personally I’m very pleased.

Have thought for a while that Doc has surrounded himself with Nodding Dogs, and could do with someone with a harder edge to
make him a bit more accountable, someone to take him out of his comfort zone.
By taking JT out of the equation, AF has done this. Just my thoughts – but I’m glad some changes are coming.

Have to say that I’m looking forward to this season as much as anybi have in a long time.
Very optimistic about things, and it was definitely time to make some changes. No more excuses about Belinger. No more Bauer saga. Let the kids play.

Bumsrap

Very thought provoking W. You bring up thoughts I haven’t considered before. Maybe related to what you are saying about JT was when AJ Ellis was traded. I really disliked that trade and it left me wondering if AJ was using his own data and analysis to call a game and talk with pitchers instead of Honeycut’s and the front office’s.

Badger

Hey W. Nice to see you.

Roberts didn’t have one at bat with runners in scoring position. In my estimation it’s always the player.

The challenge for the Dodgers remains – how to continue a .600 winning percentage in October.

Kasten has said “it’s time for the next youth movement”. We’ll see about that.

Bumsrap

Several times during the 2022 season the Dodgers would get into ruts where they could not score runs wRISP. It seemed like nobody wanted to be the one to sacrifice an at bat to take advantage of a scoring situation at a time when key hits just were not coming as usual.

When the playoffs came the Dodgers never had experimented with at bats that were something other than full swings when in a scoring drought with wRISP. When all is going well doubles will flow and runners will score but when those key doubles aren’t happening, maybe hit and run etc might be used. The regular season would have been the time to experiment and they didn’t.

OhioDodger

We need a manager with the balls to get in the players faces. Roberts is a gelding. A front office puppet.

Last edited 9 days ago by OhioDodger
Dionysus

He does weird shit with starting pitchers come the playoffs. He overmanages.

mqarep

I agree with OhioDodger. A chimpanzee managing the Dodgers teams that Roberts the Clown has had would have won just as many games. A decent manager would have won far more and a couple of WS titles.

Bumsrap

Profound.

Bumsrap

Those types of Managers never last more than two seasons so to get one means to get on the pendulum every two years.

Oldbear48

Agreed. Look how Kapler fared in Philly. That kind of managerial hard ass does not work with players making millions. Maybe back in the day when players had to earn their jobs every year. Even Lasorda would have a hard time with today’s players. It is about managing egos, and Roberts does a great job of that. Some hard ass comes in, and the players will just shut him off. Most of the discipline and dressing down these days comes from fellow players. If there was a problem, someone like JT would nip it in the bud.

tedraymond

Excellent write up on Roberts. You rationally expressed on who he is, what he has done, and what he has ahead of him this season. I have, like many others, been critical of Roberts’ past in game moves and his interaction with the media. But, he was hired for his player interaction and to keep things under control within the locker room and dugout. He has been very successful at doing this. The fact is what other managerial candidate would have or could do a better job than Roberts has done? Probably no one. So I accept that fact and move on. I agree with Bear with respect that perfection isn’t in the cards.

If you look around MLB and the managers running teams right now and communication skills seems to be the main thing front offices are looking for. I remember watching St Louis in the playoffs this year and the deer in the headlights of their manager during a late in the game critical situation and I thought “hey Roberts may not be so bad after all”. Yikes.

With the potential to have several rookies playing for the Dodgers this year it will be a perfect time for Roberts to shine in his role. If he can get this team to the postseason and have some success there then that will be another feather in his cap and give us skepticsa reason to relax and enjoy the ride.

Last edited 9 days ago by tedraymond
Singing the Blue

Nice to see you over here, Ted. Stick around, the atmosphere is much calmer than at other places you might have visited previously.

Bumsrap

Roberts has said he has learned a lot over the time he has been Manager. That showed when he let Urias close out a key playoff game instead of using the script that would have brought in Jansen for the 9th.

Roberts is a better Manager now than during his first year. There is a story about a junior executive working for IBM whose decision cost the company several million dollars. He went to see the President and offered his resignation. The President said, “why would I want you to leave? I just spent several million dollars training you.”

I would like Roberts to stray from the script more often and I think he is finally confident enough to do so. Past aggravations are just that as are all of his wins. If he likes Outman in the lineup, I hope he keeps him in the lineup regardless of suggestions from the front office and at the same time I hope he stays open to front office suggestions.

We seem to be in agreement that 2023 will be a different challenge. Getting 111 wins with terrible production from half the lineup was impressive and sets a high bar for wins and a low bar for Outman, Vargas, and Thompson.

Singing the Blue

I think people tend to make up their minds about a manager early in his career. Your example at IBM is a good reason why that is not a good idea.

Corporate managers and baseball managers, if they are any good at all, will learn through experience.

Badger

Roberts has made a few seemingly odd decisions that have been talked about over and over for quite a while. But the team has been in a position to win for several years running. A key hit here and there would have made all the difference. The players didn’t come through, so what we’re left with is looking for someone else to blame. Roberts? I’m not buying it.

I thought maybe Bum was on to something about situational hitting but when I looked I saw the Dodgers led the league in average and OPS WRISP during the season. But they hit .147 in those situations in the post season. If they had just continued to hit they way they had in the regular season they move on. Roberts’ fault? Again, I’m not buying it.

Bumsrap

I was trying to say their situational hitting worked except when they would go into scoring droughts even though they were still getting risp. Those droughts typically lasted 3 to 5 games. That’s when the Ks seemed to pile up.

Singing the Blue

I am not one of those demanding the firing of Roberts but if he were to be let go, my choice would be Chase Utley.

I realize he has neither coaching nor managerial experience, but from what I saw when he was here, players don’t want to let him down and tend to listen to what he tells them in terms of how to play the game.

He strikes me as being an “in your face” guy without being in your face.

So that’s my choice. The Silver Fox.

Oldbear48

Totally with you Jefe. They hated Kapler in Philly. He mad some real boners in his first managerial job, and he was the other finalist with Roberts for the LA job.

Badger

Good choice.

I don’t fire Roberts, but my second choice would be Chris Woodward. He knows how things are done around here and the players respect him.

Singing the Blue

I agree, Jeff, that he probably doesn’t even want to manage, but maybe he’ll change his mind when his kids get older.

I don’t think it was just coincidence that Woodward was brought back into the organization. We’ll see if he’s still available when upper management finally decides to wave good-bye to Doc.

Either it will be sooner and he’ll still be available, or it will be later and Utley will become available.  😎 

Bluto

What does this mean:

I don’t think it was just coincidence that Woodward was brought back into the organization

how could it be coincidental? Coincidental with what? Bauer being released?

Singing the Blue

Coincidental with the fact that Doc has only won 1 WS in spite of the repeated successes during the regular season. At some point, possibly sooner than later, the front office might feel the urge to make a change.

I’m not necessarily lobbying for that outcome, just bringing it up as a possibility.

Must See

More in Dodger Baseball

26
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x