While much of the Los Angeles Dodgers roster from last season returns in 2016, the club will be led by first-year manager Dave Roberts. He replaces Don Mattingly, who went 446-363 in five seasons as manager of the Dodgers.
Under Mattingly, Los Angeles won three consecutive National League West division titles for the first time in franchise history, and have strung together three straights seasons with at least 90 wins for the first time since 1976-78.
However, postseason success has continued to evade the Dodgers. They’ve yet to advance beyond the first round since reaching the National League Championship Series in 2013.
With Andrew Friedman taking over as president of baseball operations, a managerial change was seemingly inevitable.
Mattingly and the Dodgers called their parting this offseason a “mutual” separation. In an interview with ESPN’s Hannah Storm, Dodgers part owner Magic Johnson said he believes Roberts is the manager for the roster in place:
“He’s not far removed from being a player, he used to play for the Dodgers, and I think all those things really allowed Andrew and the team there with the Dodgers to say, ‘Hey, we want Dave as our manager.’ I think he can relate to the players and motivate them. Right now, we have a veteran team with a blend of some nice, young talented guys. We want the right manager to be able to put them in position to win.”
Since his introductory press conference, Roberts has stressed the importance of establishing strong relationships and trust between himself and the players. Yasiel Puig has been labeled one of his focal points, and the two met for the first time at the Jan. 30 FanFest event.
Roberts will get to work with his complete roster on Feb. 25 for the first full-squad workout of Spring Training.