The Los Angeles Dodgers organization underwent significant changes this offseason, with the most notable turnover at manager and the coaching staff. After five seasons with Don Mattingly at the helm, the keys are handed to Dave Roberts, who is the Dodgers first minority manager in franchise history.
Although Mattingly was extremely successful during his tenure as the team’s manager, the Dodgers only reached the National League Championship Series once in that time span — they were defeated by the St. Louis Cardinals in five games in 2013.
That was neither good enough for Mattingly nor the front office, thus the two sides mutually agreed to part ways after last season.
Roberts has placed an emphasis on building strong relationships with his players and bringing a noticeable passion for the game on a daily basis. He recently said he hopes to use Spring Training as a time to create an unbreakable bond within the team.
According to Bill Plaschke of the LA Times, Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner agrees with Roberts, and would like to see a culture change in the organization:
“I loved playing for Donnie, but hopefully we’re going to kind of change the culture in there,” Turner said. “We need to get away from it being about one guy. It’s about everyone, all of us doing the right things, doing the little things.”
Turner also added it is up to the players to hold each other accountable:
“It’s all about accountability, not being afraid to let guys know when you don’t think they’re doing what they should be doing,” Turner said. “If somebody comes up to you and says you’re not playing hard, you can’t take that as a personal attack, you have to take it as constructive criticism. Everyone should be working hard and grinding and trying to win games, and if you’re not playing hard, you should feel embarrassment.”
The Dodgers have plenty of veterans on the roster, led by Clayton Kershaw, Adrian Gonzalez, Howie Kendrick, A.J. Ellis and Turner, to go along with young stars that can certainly use mentoring in Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson and Corey Seager.
Pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training on Friday. Position players are due at Camelback Ranch by Feb. 24, with the Dodgers’ first full-squad workout scheduled for Feb. 25.