The Dodgers hired Dave Roberts as the tenth manager since the franchise moved to Los Angeles, the team announced via email Monday. The 43-year old Roberts has been with the Padres since 2010, serving as special assistant, first-base coach, and bench coach for San Diego.
“We’re extremely excited to bring Dave Roberts on board as the next manager of the Dodgers,” said Dodger President, Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman. “We could not have been more impressed with him through this process. His energy is infectious and he has the rare ability to make a genuine connection with every person he comes across. He has developed strong leadership qualities and accumulated a breadth of baseball experience over his career as both a player and coach.”
Roberts played for the Dodgers from 2002-2004, finishing in the top five in stolen bases among National Leaguers. The speedy centerfielder hit .262 in 302 games with the Dodgers and is the fourth man to both play for Los Angeles and serve as their skipper. Roberts spoke of the tradition of the franchise in the press release.
“It’s hard for me to put into words what it means to be named manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers,” said Roberts. “This is truly the opportunity of a lifetime. The Dodgers are the ground-breaking franchise of Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Sandy Koufax, Maury Wills, Fernando Valenzuela and Hideo Nomo. When I put on this uniform as a player, I understood the special responsibility to honor those that played before me as well as the amazing bond between the Dodgers and their fans. I feel that I have now come full circle in my career and there is plenty of unfinished business left in L.A.”
Friedman chose Roberts from a field of at least nine initial candidates. The field was believed to be reduced to two, Roberts and Gabe Kapler the Dodgers’ Director of Player Development. In a tweet, Kapler posted a picture of a handwritten statement.
“Dave Roberts and I played together twice,” Kapler’s statement read. “Once in 1998 for the Jacksonville Suns, once in 2004 with the Red Sox. The man is an exceptional teammate and a tremendous human. He is prepared and diligent. His work ethic is strong. Dave is going to do a phenomenal job, and Dodger fans have a man they can be proud of at the helm.”
Roberts inherits a team that has won the National League Western Division each of the last three years but was considered a disappointment this season. With the largest payroll in baseball, the Dodgers did not make it out of the first round of the playoffs. While Friedman was effusive with his praise of Roberts, the expectation is clear.
“He is a ‘baseball man’ and ‘people person’ in the truest sense of those words,” Friedman said. We feel fully confident that he will effectively lead our team in pursuit of its ultimate goal — bringing a world championship back to the city of Los Angeles.”