UPDATE (Nov. 13, 12:45 p.m. PT): According to J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News, the Los Angeles Dodgers may only interview three finalists:
Two sources familiar with the process told me that this is not entirely accurate. One source told me that three candidates, not four, will get second interviews, and that one of the three might not be from the group of five ESPN reported.
Since mutually parting ways with Don Mattingly as manager, the Los Angeles Dodgers have conducted an exhaustive search for a new skipper with as many as nine candidates believed to have been interviewed.
Dodgers director of player development Gabe Kapler was the perceived early favorite, though the team’s ownership group reportedly asked president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman to refrain from making a quick hire and consider other options.
Friedman’s search was said to include interviews with former San Diego Padres manager Bud Black, Padres bench coach Dave Roberts and University of Nebraska head coach Darin Erstad, among others.
Both Friedman and Dodgers general manager recently stated the club’s intention remained to have a manager in place prior to the Winter Meetings beginning on Dec. 7. Zaidi added the list of candidates would be trimmed by the end of the week.
According to ESPN’s Jim Bowden, the Dodgers have reached that point with four candidates emerging as finalists:
The Los Angeles Dodgers have interviewed nine candidates for their managerial opening and are going to bring back four of them as finalists next week. The four will come from the following five candidates: Bud Black, Darin Erstad, Gabe Kapler, Kirk Gibson and Dave Roberts.
Among the group of five that the four finalists will be chosen from, former Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson appears to be the odd man out. Surprisingly, Martinez did not make the cut.
An impressive interview reportedly put Roberts in the lead, however the Dodgers have not commented publicly on the matter. It was also reported the Dodgers’ desire was to add Roberts to the staff if not hired as manager.
Erstad, Kapler and Roberts don’t have managerial experience in the Majors; Roberts did manage one game on an interim basis after the Padres fired Black.
Lack of experience shouldn’t be viewed as a negative or disadvantage. Friedman and Zaidi said on Oct. 22 their focus was on finding a manager with strong leadership qualities.
With the Dodgers not including bench coach Tim Wallach among the finalists, it’s likely Wallach will join Mattingly’s staff in Miami.