The Dodgers will turn to their former center fielder to manage them in 2016, according to the LA Times.
After weeks of deliberation, the Dodgers have finally made their choice, as Dave Roberts will become their next manager, per reports.
Dylan Hernandez, Bill Plaschke and Bill Shaikin each contributed to the initial report from the LA Times, and it was confirmed by Ken Rosenthal and Dave Vassegh.
The details of the contract aren’t released yet, but it appears that Roberts beat out Gabe Kapler for the final managerial opening in all of baseball. They were two of the more likely candidates throughout the process and ended up being the final two names attached to the job after Bud Black reportedly took a job in the Angels’ front office.
Feb 21, 2014; Peoria, AZ, USA; San Diego Padres bench coach Dave Roberts (10) poses for a photo during photo day at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Roberts was born in Japan and went to high school in Vista, CA. He went to UCLA and was a 28th round draft pick in 1994.
The 44 year old Roberts patrolled center field and led off for the Dodgers for two and a half seasons and held a .266/.342/.366 slashline and 118 steals in 1189 plate appearances as a Dodger from 2002-2004. He was traded in the middle of the 2004 season to the Boston Red Sox, where he infamously stole second base in a potential elimination game in the ALCS. His steal propelled the Red Sox to a game four victory against the Yankees, and took Boston from facing elimination to their first World Series victory in 86 years.
Roberts spent three years as the San Diego Padres third base coach and two years as Black’s bench coach. He managed for one game this season after Black was fired (a game which the Padres lost).
Per True Blue LA, Roberts is the 15th former Dodger player to be hired as their manager (fourth in LA). He will also be the first minority manager in Dodger history, as his father is African American and his mother is Japanese.
While the manager slot is now reportedly filled, there are still plenty of holes in the Dodger dugout. There are rumors of Mark McGwire headed elsewhere, and with Ron Roenicke and Davey Lopes taking third and first base coaching jobs in Anaheim and Washington, the Dodgers need to fill out their base coach jobs. Rick Honeycutt will return as their pitching coach, but former manager Don Mattingly mentioned his belief that Tim Wallach would join him in Miami.
Offseason news is starting to roll in with the Dodgers, as they made their first signing (Charlie Culberson) and signed a pair of Cuban prospects. They’re still considered a frontrunner for Darren O’Day and they’re seen as a favorite for Jordan Zimmermann. It seems like the hot stove is finally beginning to heat up.
UPDATE: According to Hernandez, Roberts will have a three year deal with a team option for the fourth. His introductory press conference will likely be held after Thanksgiving.