As another decade of Dodgers’ baseball waits to begin, it’s time to review the Dodgers’ managers of the 2010s. Which one was the best?
Following a disappointing 2007 campaign and the resignation of manager Grady Little, Dodgers’ General Manager Ned Colletti hired former Yankee skipper Joe Torre. Torre, who had won four World Series and six American League pennants during his 12-year tenure in The Bronx, had gotten into a contract dispute with notoriously erratic owner George Steinbrenner which ultimately left with him leaving the team.
Colletti and the Dodgers were hoping Torre could bring his winning ways and league-renowned leadership from his historic New York run to LA, but the team never quite put it all together during his tenure. The 2008 and 2009 seasons both ended in 5-game defeats at the hands of the Phillies in the NLCS.
The promise the Dodgers had shown in the previous two years had dissipated, and the 2010 season ended in a disappointing fourth-place finish. Following the conclusion of the 2010 season, Torre stepped down as Dodger manager and retired from managing altogether. He remains active working in the Commissioner’s Office and was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Expansion Era Committee in 2014.
Following Joe Torre’s retirement, the Dodgers announced Don Mattingly as his replacement. Mattingly had served as the Dodger hitting coach under Torre, as well as being his star first baseman with the Yankees in the 90s. The Dodgers missed the playoffs in Mattingly’s first season as manager, finishing third despite a strong late-season push and breakout years from Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp.
The Dodgers narrowly missed the playoffs in 2012, finishing two games out of the second Wild Card spot. There was some speculation that Mattingly’s job was in jeopardy early in the 2013 season with the team off to a bad start, but the debut of Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez’s return from the disabled list helped turn the season around.
The Boys in Blue went on a 46-10 tear, which led to a playoff berth and a second-place finish in Manager of the Year voting for Mattingly. Players praised his positivity and determined yet laid-back demeanor. The Dodgers ended up winning the division in 2012 and the two following seasons under Mattingly, and he became the first Dodger manager to win three consecutive division titles.
Unfortunately, the Dodgers never made it past the NLCS during Mattingly’s tenure. Following their defeat in the NLDS, the Dodgers and Mattingly made a mutual decision to part ways, despite one year remaining on Mattingly’s contract. Mattingly left the Dodgers with the second-highest winning percentage in team history (.551) and has managed the Miami Marlins since 2016.
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The incumbent skipper, ex Dodger outfielder Dave Roberts, was hired to replace Mattingly in November of 2015. Despite having one game of managerial experience and a then-record 28 players hitting the disabled list, Roberts led the Dodgers to a fourth consecutive NL West crown and took home National League Manager of the Year honors.
He was praised for his innovative use of Kenley Jansen and set the record for pitching changes in a season (606). The Dodgers lost the NLCS to the eventual World Series champion Cubs in six games. In 2017, Roberts led the team to a 104 win season and their first World Series appearance in 29 years, but they were defeated by the Houston Astros in seven games*.
The Dodgers’ 2018 season was a bit of a disappointment, but they squeaked their way to a sixth consecutive division title after winning a tiebreaker against the Rockies. Roberts’ Dodgers made it to a second consecutive World Series but lost in five games to the heavily favored Red Sox. In case you forgot, the Dodgers won 106 games this season but failed to advance past the NLDS.
Roberts drew criticism for his misuse of the bullpen in the playoffs (and to a lesser degree the regular season) and for his extensive use of matchup analytics, with some fans and pundits calling for his firing. However, the Dodger organization is sticking with him, and he is signed through 2022.