7:09 pm: The team officially announced the extension.
4; 53 pm: Team Dodgers and manager Dave Roberts have agreed to a three-year extension, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link). He is now under contract until 2025.
This has seemed like an inevitable for some time. Reports emerged during the lockdown that the team and captain were eager to seal a new deal before the start of the regular season. Roberts was on his way to the final year of his contract, and teams could be hesitant to avoid entering the season with a manager in a lame duck state.
That doesn’t mean Roberts’ job seemed to be in jeopardy at all, even before news of the extension negotiations came out. Los Angeles hired the 10-year MLB veteran to replace Don Mattingly during the 2015-16 season. It was Roberts’ first managerial gig, and may have been a risky proposition for a team that had won the Western National League title in each of the previous three seasons under Mattingly.
Despite his lack of experience, Roberts has consistently led rosters of talented candidates in Los Angeles to much success. They won the Division in each of its first five seasons at the helm, and surpassed the Division Series in three of those years. The Dodgers won back-to-back pennants between 2017 and 2018, but lost back-to-back World Championships to the Astros and Red Sox, respectively.
Like any manager, Roberts has come under some criticism from the fan base for some of his post-season decisions. Throughout his tenure, though, the front office maintained confidence in both his leadership of the club and his management when the lights were most bright. The Dodgers’ copper obviously never believed Roberts’ post-season management was fatal to their chances of winning a title, and they were proven right in 2020. After an incredible record 43-17 in the short regular season, the Dodgers broke into the post season to claim their first title. World Championships since 1988. That was despite this year’s unique match format, which required all teams to advance through four rounds (instead of the usual three) thanks to an expanded field.
The division’s championship stretch ended last year, although that was no reflection of the team’s lack of success. The Dodgers’ 106 wins narrowly beat their arch rival’s 107 victories in San Francisco. However, they defeated the Cardinals in the final NL Wild Card game, and then beat the Giants in the NLDS. Los Angeles lost to the Braves in the NLCS, but it marked another season as one of the league’s most successful teams overall.
Los Angeles has fought the playoffs in all six seasons of Roberts’ tenure, the only team in MLB to do so. They were 542-329 in regular season play at the time, winning over 57% of their games. Sure, Roberts had a fortune overseeing one of baseball’s most talented clubs on an annual basis, but there is little question of the organization’s success. Front Office and Property seem happy with his work behind the scenes, and he’s now slated to remain at the top of the bunker until 2025.
If Roberts remains the Dodgers manager during the term of his new deal, he will be up to a full decade in the position. Only three female captains – Hall of Famers Walter Alston, Tommy Lasorda and Wilbert Robinson – have made it to the 10-year milestone in franchise history. This trio and another Hall of Famer, Leo Durocher, are the only skippers to have led the Dodgers to more victories than Roberts in the past six years.
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.