The Los Angeles Dodgers find themselves in unfamiliar territory at the moment as they currently are down two games in the NLDS and on the verge of being bounced early from the playoffs for the second year in a row.
Not all the news is bad in LA, though. They still have one of the best offenses in baseball currently being led by perennial MVP candidates Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts. Their run differential is still among the leaders in the National League despite having a steady run of injuries to key players. In many ways, it just seems like the Dodgers' current position is more a function of some bad luck and the Diamondbacks playing out of their minds than anything else.
However, that doesn't change the reality that expectations are sky high for the Dodgers (just like every other year) and a team that's on track for an early playoff exit falls short of those expectations. If the trend continues, there will be more whispers about the future of Roberts as the Dodgers' manager because, well, managers are the easy fall guys.
Is it Roberts' fault that the team didn't spend more last offseason? Nope. Is it on the manager to somehow be able to predict and prevent injuries across the roster? A little bit if we are talking about overuse, but mostly nope. However, we have seen time and time again that guys lose jobs as victims of circumstance. While Roberts has built up some measure of goodwill over the last few years, he isn't overly lauded for his managerial skills to keep him out of larger philosophical changes if the Dodgers were to pursue that path later on.
It's pretty clear that there's next to no chance the Dodgers would ever make a change at manager midseason unless something very severe happened. This is still a good baseball team and such a move wouldn't make much sense -- it'd probably be more disruptive than anything.
Who could replace Dave Roberts if the Dodgers decided to fire him?
However, lets pretend for a moment that the Dodgers finish the season with 90 wins or so and either don't make the playoffs or get eliminated early, which is very much a possibility this season. In that world, an honest accounting of what Roberts brings to the table as a manager may reveal that a different voice in the dugout could be needed.
If that were to happen, here are some candidates to keep an eye on to take over for Roberts if the Dodgers decide to move on from him.