With the reported hire of Dave Roberts as the next Dodgers manager, the final managerial vacancy filled in MLB, there were reactions from several corners of the baseball world.
Tim Brown of Yahoo says Roberts defines what a Dodger is today:
Along comes Roberts to steer a team still in transition, that’s sorting through the pains of roster turnover, annual October meltdowns and a keen sense that whatever’s happening now is the midway point between what Friedman found when he arrived and what he really wants it to look like. Maybe Mattingly’s message ran dry after five years, and in the end he did not appear to be particularly happy. Maybe that was his public face, or his end-of-the-season trudge, or the realization that his new bosses had a different idea about what makes a winning ballclub. Roberts presumably was chosen not only for his baseball acumen, his leadership skills and his charming personality, but also because all of that fit with what Friedman and Zaidi are thinking.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports says Roberts' five years of major league coaching experience made him the right call over Gabe Kapler, the reported other finalist for the job:
Roberts, too, will need to earn the players’ respect, but at least he’s coming from the outside. He is just as energetic as Kapler, just as positive, but somewhat of a more traditional choice and perhaps a better communicator. Kapler has strong opinions on everything from sabermetrics to diets. Roberts, to be sure, is his own man, but figures to be more restrained in his beliefs.
Roberts' deal is for three years, plus an option for a fourth year, per Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times.
Mark Saxon of ESPN LA says ownership exerted some influence on the decision:
From the minute the team held that awkward news conference at Dodger Stadium to repeat about 200 times that Don Mattingly's departure was "mutual and amicable," everyone in baseball seemed to think Kapler would be the guy. He had the longstanding ties to Andrew Friedman. He had the bona fides as an analytics enthusiast. He was already in the organization, so everybody knew him.
But then the Dodgers' owners got involved, sources indicate, and the Kapler parade slowed down. It slowed down long enough for Roberts to come in and give a couple of interviews that apparently turned the tide in his favor. He is, by all accounts, a very charismatic person. He must be. It’s not as if the San Diego Padres have been such a powerhouse over the past few seasons that their bench coach simply had to get a plum job.
David Vassegh of LA Sports 570 and J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News chimed in:
This was Andrew Friedman's decision, but Dodgers Owner/Chairman,Mark Walter did meet with Dave Roberts over the weekend. #Dodgers— David Vassegh (@THEREAL_DV) November 23, 2015
General reaction from baseball people outside the organization: A bit surprised Kapler wasn't the choice but confident Roberts will succeed.— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) November 23, 2015
Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register pointed out the Dodgers players held weight in the process:
Kapler’s only experience as a manager or coach was the 2007 season with a Class-A team. Nonetheless, he was seen as the likely choice based on his long history with Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and his open embrace of progressive ideas including the use of statistical analytics.
But there have been reports indicating Dodgers players expressed to management a preference for Roberts over Kapler.
USA Today's Bob Nightengale said as much earlier Sunday night:
Several #Dodgers veterans recently conveyed to management that they wanted Dave Roberts to be manager once he reached the final stage.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 23, 2015
But then later Sunday Nightengale said something seemingly different:
To be clear, hiring of Dave Roberts was solely decision of #Dodgers front office. Ultimate decision-makers uninformed of players' wishes.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 23, 2015
One player took to Twitter:
Glad to have Dave Roberts on our side!!! Looking forward to getting out to AZ to get 2016 going already #LA @Dodgers ⚾️— Justin Turner (@redturn2) November 23, 2015
Roberts was a coach in San Diego for five years, though was passed over for the Padres' vacant managerial job. He wasn't interviewed after the season, says Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune, but was interviewed by Padres general manager A.J. Preller for the interim position in June after Bud Black was fired:
Sources said the Padres began their managerial search expecting to hire someone from outside the organization, indicating a desire to move away from Black’s coaching tree. They did just that on Oct. 29, tabbing former Arizona third-base coach Green.
Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, who covered Roberts as a player with the Dodgers, points out this age-related fact about the new skipper:
At 43, Roberts is the youngest Dodgers manager since 42-year-old Walt Alston was hired in 1954 (Glenn Hoffman, interim manager in 1998, was 39).
There was an outpouring of support for Roberts' character and experience among the Twitter reactions:
One person who spoke to Dave Roberts tonight said, "He is really excited. I could see his smile through the phone."— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) November 23, 2015
Really happy for Dave Roberts! If I were to make a list of my 10 favorite athletes I've covered in 20+ years, he'd certainly be on the list!— John Hartung (@_JohnHartung) November 23, 2015
When this ends up being announced it will be a great day/moment for ANYONE that knows Dave Roberts! God Bless DR!!! https://t.co/T4oVQcQYKz— Curt Schilling (@gehrig38) November 23, 2015
dave roberts is a bold pick. I like it. ucla product, had key steal in red sox historic '04 run, overcame cancer. #dodgers— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) November 23, 2015
Dave Roberts, one of nicest guys in the game, will also be the first minority manager in #Dodgers history— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 23, 2015
#Dodgers players should love playing for Dave Roberts. Soft-spoken, yet firm. Terrific people skills and a lot of integrity.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) November 23, 2015
Dave Roberts is a great choice. Dodger players will be more comfortable with a guy who has coached at major league level.— Molly Knight (@molly_knight) November 23, 2015
Maury Wills had told us on #DodgerTalk he would like to be at the Press Conf if Dave Roberts was hired to manage #Dodgers— David Vassegh (@THEREAL_DV) November 23, 2015
Congrats to Dave Roberts on being #Dodgers new Mng. He taught me to be a professional on & off the field! True leader and a great man!— David Ross (@D_Ross3) November 23, 2015
Congrats to Dave Roberts, he might be really REALLY really short, but stands tall as a leader, person, coach and now Manager, happy for him— Huston Street (@HustonStreet) November 23, 2015
Someone who became a big fan of Dave Roberts: Pat Murphy. From Sept.: "I really appreciate...how he's handled this." https://t.co/ETyiAw7gmr— Dennis Lin (@dennistlin) November 23, 2015