After mutually agreeing with Don Mattingly to part ways at the conclusion of the 2015 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers immediately conducted a lengthy search for a new manager.
One obvious candidate that stood out was the organization’s then-director of player development, Gabe Kapler, who had previous ties with Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman when he was head of the Tampa Bay Rays front office.
Moreover, Kapler was lauded for his extensive knowledge of analytics and nutrition, in addition to his work in the Minor League ranks. While he was deemed an early favorite for the managerial position, the Dodgers nevertheless continued their due diligence with additional interviews.
That created an opening for former San Diego Padres bench coach Dave Roberts, who impressed the front office brass with his charming personality and ability to resonate with players.
The rest was history, as Roberts would be named the 32nd manager in franchise history. Nearly three years after missing out on the job, Kapler, now manager of Philadelphia Phillies, firmly believes the Dodgers made the correct decision, via Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times:
“I gave everything I had to that process and it was a long one,” Kapler said. “I worked really hard leading up to that moment and I also worked really hard to be really good in the process. Ultimately, I think Doc just did a tremendous job and was the absolute right choice for this job and has done a tremendous job since.”
Since being named Dodgers manager, Roberts has racked up a plethora of accolades and achievements. In his inaugural year as Los Angeles skipper, the 46-year-old led the organization to a National League Championship Series appearance en route to earning NL Manager of the Year honors.
The 2017 season saw significant progress made, as Roberts guided the Dodgers to their first World Series in 29 years behind a Major League-best 104 wins during the regular season — ultimately falling one win short of a championship.
For Kapler, his early work as Phillies manager has generated more positive reviews from around the league after a rough start to his tenure. Among his supporters include Roberts, who recently offered complimentary words for him.
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