After another postseason run fell short of reaching or winning the World Series, Don Mattingly and the Los Angeles Dodgers agreed to a mutual separation. In his five seasons as Dodgers manager, Mattingly went 446-363 (.551).
He guided the club to three consecutive National League West division titles — a first in franchise history. Additionally, Los Angeles had three consecutive seasons with at least 90 wins for the first time since 1976-78.
However, for all of their regular-season success, the Dodgers only advanced beyond the Division Series once during Mattingly’s tenure. While he was quickly hired by the Miami Marlins, the Dodgers exhausted a thorough search for their next manager.
The interview process ended with Dave Roberts getting named as manager, becoming the first minority skipper in Dodgers franchise history. Roberts’ hiring was met with plenty of praise as he’s renowned for being able to connect with others.
Clayton Kershaw recently discussed the changes that have come with Roberts at the helm, via Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
“I think ‘different’ is the best word,” Kershaw said. “I love Donnie. I love Wally (bench coach Tim Wallach, also in Miami with Mattingly). I love all those guys. I’m going to miss them not being around every day. But Doc, everybody says it just because it’s the truth. The personality, the positivity – it’s infectious, for sure.
While Kershaw had high praise for his manager, it has already become apparent that the two don’t exactly see eye-to-eye on all matters. The Dodgers ace restated he is not a fan of shifts being utilizied while he is pitching. Roberts openly stated during Spring Training shifts will frequently be used, though did say he will work with Kershaw to come to an understanding.
Justin Turner is also among the Dodgers players who have showed Roberts praise. Before Spring Training the third baseman said he hoped to see a culture change under Roberts, and it appears that has already begun to happen.