The Los Angeles Dodgers tied a franchise record with 106 wins but Dave Roberts was not voted among the finalists for 2021 National League Manager of the Year.
That instead went to Craig Counsell of the Milwaukee Brewers, former St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Shildt and the San Francisco Giants’ Gabe Kapler. Shildt oversaw a Cardinals team that went on a franchise-best stretch to play their way into the NL Wild Card Game.
St. Louis played L.A. tight throughout the matchup before getting eliminated on a Chris Taylor walk-off home run. Shildt was fired just over one week later. He previously won NL Manager of the Year in 2019.
Meanwhile, Counsell is finalist for the third time in the last four seasons; he was the runner-up in both 2018 and 2019. Although Counsell guided the Brewers to another NL Central title and fourth consecutive postseason berth, he figures to again fall short for Manager of the Year.
In his second season — but first full campaign — as manager of the team, the Giants put together a historically great campaign to end the Dodgers’ reign over the NL West at eight consecutive division titles.
Each of the aforementioned finalists are deserving, but it came as a mild surprise Roberts wasn’t named among the three. Roberts won NL Manager of the Year in 2016, which was his rookie season.
He then placed second in 2017 and hasn’t been a finalist since — finishing sixth (2018), fourth (2019) and fifth (2020).
Since taking the helm as manager, Roberts has led the Dodgers to an MLB-best 542-329 record, five NL West titles, three NL pennants and one World Series championship. Yet, he has faced constant criticism from outside the organization ever year.
That held true this past season despite it arguably being Roberts’ best as manager. The Dodgers dealt with a rash of injuries to starting pitchers and key contributors, along with controversy stemming from sexual assault allegations against Trevor Bauer, yet continued marching.
“He’s been great,” Justin Turner said in September. “He’s been great for us since the first day he put on the Dodger uniform as our manager.
“He’s a positive guy, he loves the game, he loves his players. We love going out and competing for him. I can’t say enough about him and what he’s done. We’re going to do everything we can to go out and win him another championship.”
Will Dodgers sign Roberts to extension?
In addition to the Dodgers facing the likelihood of roster turnover via free agency, Roberts’ long-term future is not quite clear.
He signed a four-year contract extension after the 2018 season but now is in position to be a lame-duck manager. Roberts expressed hope a new extension will soon be agreed to, and Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has continued to publicly state his importance.
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