The first two years as manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers for Dave Roberts went almost as well as anyone could have hoped. He led the Dodgers to two National League West division titles, extending their current streak to five, was named NL Manager of the Year in 2016, and guided the team to their first World Series since 1988.
So far, the 2018 season has not gone as well as the last two though. At 16-24, the Dodgers are off to their worst 40-game start since 1958. They were swept at home in a four-game series by the Cincinnati Reds, who still have the worst record in the NL.
Coming off that World Series run, the Dodgers have obviously not met expectations so far in 2018, and while part of it is due to injuries, a good chunk of it is also because players are just not performing as well as they did a season ago.
Thus, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman is still confident that Roberts is the right manager for the organization moving forward, via Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times:
“There is no doubt in my mind that he is the right guy to lead this team going forward. The way our minds work is not to assign blame to anyone at this point. It’s to hunker down, all together, and try to solve problems.
I’m very comfortable in saying that, if we had to assign blame at this point, it should be me who is taking that, and not Doc.”
That is a very strong endorsement from the head of the Dodgers front office for a manager that many fans have been calling to be fired since the day he took over the job. General manager Farhan Zaidi also endorsed Roberts at the beginning of this season, saying he is hopeful that the two sides could reach an agreement on a contract extension in the near future.
Roberts certainly has his flaws, as does every other manager, but his job becomes exponentially more difficult when the players simply are not playing anywhere near the level that they have shown they are capable of.
There is still plenty of time for Roberts and the Dodgers to turn things around, and he should feel more comfortable now that he knows he has some job security.