Before the start of the 2022 MLB season, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had no problem declaring that his team would be crowned World Series champs when the dust settled at the end of October.
After a historic offensive season, 111 wins, and the most talented roster on paper, the Dodgers were ousted in the NLDS by the San Diego Padres in what was a massive disappointment.
Heading into 2023? He's thankfully not going to offer any guarantees this time around. And he doesn't really need to, anyway, because the Dodgers roster is significantly worse (on paper) than it was less than a year ago. On so many fronts, it's going to be as difficult as it can possibly be to replace the impact of Trea Turner, as well as the clubhouse presences of Cody Bellinger and Justin Turner (among other departures).
Makes sense. Hard to guarantee much of anything when you don't have a true starting second baseman, shortstop, third baseman and center fielder.
But then what's this talk of "expectations" and not "giving a crap what people think?" It all sounds like a weird "deflect, then attack" strategy that's a bit aimless.
What's Dave Roberts' approach for the 2023 Dodgers?
"We’re not going to run from expectations. But I do think it takes a special character of people to maybe not realize expectations but to kind of bow your neck and try to do it again."- Dave Roberts via The Athletic
In this very same, lengthy and well-done article by Fabian Ardaya (subscription required), Roberts also talked about being disillusioned after the team's early playoff exit in 2019 to the eventual World Series champion Nationals to the point where he briefly considered walking away from the job.
"You just sort of don’t give a crap what people think. I’m going to do this as long as I feel that I can give the best version of myself to the organization every day, and the players. Once I don’t feel that, I don’t need to do this job. … Right now I’m having the time of my life. I love what I do."- Dave Roberts via The Athletic
And again, these quotes come after Roberts revealed that he couldn't even return to his home in the San Diego area after the Dodgers were ousted by the Padres last October because he was so miserable. Can't really face the music/results, but then ready to take expectations head-on and embrace "rejuvenation" when the Dodgers clearly got considerably worse year over year?
Hey, whatever helps ya, Skip, it just doesn't make much sense to us after reading all of it.