Manager Dave Roberts will be returning to the Dodgers thanks to a four-year contract extension, according to Jon Heyman.
Roberts and Dodgers will have deal. Believed to be completed by tomorrow for 4 years.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 6, 2018
Roberts had a team option for 2019, but they reached an extension before that came into play. He has spent the previous three seasons at the helm of the Dodgers, guiding them to back-to-back-to-back division titles and back-to-back trips to the World Series. Roberts has won 287 games against 200 losses for a .589 winning percentage that represents a 95-win pace. He is the first Dodgers manager to be in charge of the back-to-back World Series feat since Tommy Lasorda in 1977-78, which were also both lost.
On that note, as Jon Weisman pointed out, firing Lasorda early on in his tenure would’ve been a mistake. And the reality is that Lasorda had a worse record than Roberts at the same point in their tenures. So I feel like staying the course is the correct decision here.
Obviously I don’t agree with every move that Roberts makes, but game decisions will always draw the ire of fans no matter who is in charge unless the team wins the ultimate prize, so making a decision to retain or move on based on that kind of thinking always seemed foolish to me. Since there’s been no indication that the players themselves have lost faith in him, it’s hard to argue that Roberts shouldn’t continue on, hopefully with lessons learned.
It was recently revealed that the one-year option in Roberts’ contract has been exercised, so no extension yet but they still expect to get one done.
#Dodgers have picked up Dave Roberts club option for 2019 season but will continue to negotiate and expect to reach agreement on multi-year deal at some point.
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) November 8, 2018
If Roberts is going to be the manager next year, it would seem rather absurd to just pick up the option and not extend him, as the optics on that would be terrible.
One person who will not be staying with the Dodgers is General Manager Farhan Zaidi, who will be leaving the team to take a job with the Giants as the President Of Baseball Operations.
#SFGiants have announced it. Zaidi will be president of baseball operations. News conference at 1 p.m. tomorrow at the ballpark.
— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) November 7, 2018
Hard to begrudge him for leaving since it is a promotion, after all. But just as important as the title is likely the fact that no matter what he does with the Dodgers, the credit (and blame) will go to Andrew Friedman. While the buck does likely stop with Friedman, Zaidi has obviously played a significant role with the organization, with one prominent example coming just last season with the acquisition of Max Muncy.
Just for the sake of continuity with a key offseason ahead, losing Zaidi is far from ideal. But his loss sucks mainly because of the work he has done that has earned him the reputation as one of the top executives in baseball … and maybe the top fantasy football player as well.
— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) November 7, 2018
I don’t doubt that the Dodgers will be able to replace him with a quality candidate, as there should be plenty of options considering the state of the Dodgers and the fact that it can be used as a springboard to a promotion (Alex Anthopoulos with the Braves, as well). Until then though, I’ll be sweating it out a bit and hoping for the best.
The Dodgers also suffered further losses to their coaching staff, as now they not only have to replace third base/infield coach Chris Woodward (now the manager of the Rangers), but Turner Ward has departed for the Reds.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) November 6, 2018
An odd bit of news if the Dodgers actually wanted him to return, however both Friedman and Ward are citing family as reasons for the switch.
Friedman: "I think proximity to home and an opportunity for him that he just couldn't pass up. Our philosophy is to never stand in someone's way if something makes more sense for them for whatever reason. I think it was a situation that falls under that umbrella." https://t.co/aDatx5Z46v
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) November 6, 2018
It's not always about money. Turner Ward's home is in Alabama. His wife has had some health issues. Ward: "I’ve been impressed with their offense (Reds). Also, add the logistics of being closer to home. Family is very important to me and it made it hard being in LA.” https://t.co/atS3qxVO80
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) November 7, 2018
Sounds reasonable, but I do think being skeptical is also reasonable. Knowing how Stan Kasten hates to officially fire people (look at how he handled replacing Ned Colletti, for example), it’s entirely possible that after the inconsistent offense of last year the front office felt it was best if they went in a different direction.
That said, I’m skeptical about how much of the situational struggles of 2018 were Ward’s responsibility given that he had almost the exact same players in 2017 and they didn’t have similar issues. Well, for better or worse, he’s gone now and the Dodgers need to find another replacement.