Although the Los Angeles Dodgers installed a new front office following the 2014 season, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi elected not to make a change at manager.
Don Mattingly’s time with the Dodgers came to an end one year later, however, as he and the front office mutually agreed to part ways. That set off an exhaustive search for the Dodgers’ next manager, with Dave Roberts ultimately being hired for the position.
As a rookie skipper he guided the team to a fourth consecutive National League West title and trip to the postseason. The Dodgers eliminated the Washington Nationals in five games and reached the NL Championship Series for the first time since 2013.
They fell to the Chicago Cubs but under Roberts’ direction the Dodgers extended their streak of NL West titles in the two ensuing seasons and made back-to-back appearances in the World Series.
While he’s faced criticism along the way, scrutiny was harshest for Roberts during this year’s Fall Classic. That type of treatment is something co-owner Magic Johnson explained doesn’t sit well with him, via FOX Sports:
“I get disappointed because the first thing they always mention is, how much money we’ve spent. Instead of saying, ‘Hey this guy Dave Roberts has done a wonderful job of managing 25 egos, making sure he has everybody involved, he explains their role, and last but not least, everybody plays hard for him. He gets the best out of everybody.’ We’re happy to have him, we’re glad we have him. It’s hard to make one World Series, let alone go back-to-back.”
Roberts managed the entire 2018 season without any reassurance he would be back with the team next year or beyond that. Nonetheless, Friedman and Roberts maintained contract discussions were held during Spring Training and only put on hold so the focus could remain on the season.
The two reiterated as much after the Dodgers fell to the Boston Red Sox in the World Series. Then while speaking at an end-of-season press conference, Friedman said there wasn’t any concern over the lack of a contract extension being in place.
Having re-signed David Freese and coming to terms with Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers reportedly shifted their focus to Roberts and getting a long-term deal in place.