The one thing teams can do during the lockout is sign players to minor league contracts and tinker with the coaching staff, but the Dodgers have yet to address the fact Roberts is heading into the final year of his deal.
Though he’s a polarizing figure among fans, he has the highest win percentage (.622) of any manager in franchise history who’s been with the team for longer than three seasons. He’s been to three World Series (one victory), has yet to miss the playoffs, oversaw three 100-plus win teams, and helped capture five division titles in six years.
Why is his future not secure? Well, if you’ll allow us to speculate, we think it’s because the Dodgers need to figure out if their post-lockout moves will go their way. What if they lose more of their core? Will Roberts still be the right guy for the job? Or will the front office want to go with a younger, more raw candidate?
Are the Dodgers waiting to determine Dave Roberts’ future?
The Dodgers are staring down the barrel of a potential roster overhaul by the time 2023 arrives. This offseason has already been difficult enough watching Corey Seager, Max Scherzer and Joe Kelly leave (in addition to Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen being unsigned, with the real possibility that they depart in free agency as well).
And that’s just the beginning. Come next offseason, as things stand, Trea Turner, Max Muncy, Justin Turner, AJ Pollock, Blake Treinen, Austin Barnes and others could all hit the open market. If Seager leaving was the first domino and then Kershaw and Jansen follow suit, who’s to say the Dodgers won’t start looking to go in an entirely different direction? Or, what if their plans to replace those guys for the 2022 season don’t come to fruition?
At that point, would Roberts be the guy for the job still? He even said himself that it’s going to be difficult watching the team’s core since 2016 (when he started managing) getting upended this offseason.
It’s hard to doubt Roberts’ managerial skills, but it’d also be neglectful not to acknowledge he was brought in to instill a very specific philosophy at the request of the front office. He’s not devoid of baseball instincts or acumen, but it’s evident how Andrew Friedman operates, and if there’s a major shift in the team’s blueprint, then it’s not out of the question to ponder if that means Roberts may no longer be the voice or leader required for the job.
The season ended nearly three months ago. Don’t you think if the Dodgers believed their future was with Roberts he’d be inked to a new deal by now?