The Dodgers front office expects to compete for a title year in and year out. Despite their attempt to lower the team payroll, they still expected to win this season. Even with their playoff hopes being up in the air, both Friedman and Roberts are here to stay.
If the Dodgers miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2012 season, it would be very disappointing to say the least. There will be plenty of finger pointing going on by the fans. Whether it be Roberts, “Fraudman”, Kershaw or even some sort of curse, fans will be looking to place the blame on someone or something.
First off, Dave Roberts is not going anywhere. After all this is the same manager who won the NL Manager of the year award and has a World Series appearance under his belt within his first two seasons at the helm. One season of barely missing the playoffs is not going to cost him his job. If they miss the playoffs in back to back seasons, then he would be on the hot seat.
However the criticism he is receiving is fair. He has put together some questionable lineups all season. He has treated guys like Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger like platoon players even though they have proven they should and need to be everyday starters. He has also made some questionable bullpen moves. But that can be summed up perfectly by this Andy McCullough tweet:
Dave Roberts may not be the best in game manager, but he brings something else to the table. Unquestionable leadership skills. He is the ultimate player friendly manager. The team just gravitates to him. Every single player is willing to “run through a brick wall” for Roberts.
His charisma and player relationships are something that cannot be taught. On the other hand his in game managing can be taught. He can work on his managing skills, but finding a manager who has complete control of the locker room is special. Roberts’ attitude remains the same whether the team is struggling or not. Roberts is always composed and has full belief in his team.
The fact that the team knows he fully believes in each and every one of them, does so much for team morale. That is exactly why this team comes out to play hard every single day. Whether it is a game in Miami mid-June or a decisive game in St. Louis you know the team will be playing hard and that is because of their love and respect for Doc.
Now onto Andrew Friedman or as some fans like to call him “Fraudman”. Similarly, he is not going anywhere. This is the same man who has managed to lower payroll while maintaining a World Series caliber team. He has gotten rid of bad contracts all the while keeping his young core together.
It is hard to find a trade that Friedman has definitively “lost”. Forsythe was a bust but De Leon has not pitched for the Rays much because of a major injury.
You can however find some impact under the radar signings and trades. NLCS MVP Chris Taylor for Zach Lee who is no longer in the big leagues. Brandon Morrow went from a dumpster dive pickup on a minor league deal to a vital setup man for the 2017 Dodgers. Max Muncy also came along on a minor league deal and the list goes on.
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Friedman has done exactly what ownership had asked. Lower the payroll while maintaining a competitive team. He has accomplished his goal of getting under the salary tax. Even though Friedman moved from Tampa Bay to Los Angeles he still had to somewhat act like he was in a small market to accomplish his goal.
This season the goal was accomplished and now Friedman will be able to finally play with that big market money. It is very exciting to see what Friedman can accomplish without having to worry about getting under the tax in 2019. With the tax penalties being reset, Friedman will have all of his tools available to make a trade or sign a big free agent.
Believe it or not Friedman is just getting started. After this season fans should expect more spending in free agency and in the trade market. Not to say Friedman was not going for it in seasons past, he was just going for it while being cautious with the budget. Now the “handcuffs” are off after 2018 and it is going to be fun to watch.
Both of these guys have been heavily criticized. Which can be a good thing, because it shows fans expect nothing but the best. However, the criticism has been a bit blown out of proportion because both Roberts and Friedman are here for the long haul.