Dave Roberts will not be a lame duck manager in 2022. The Dodgers have agreed to extend Roberts’ contract, the team announced Friday. The contract is for three additional years, through 2025, per multiple reports.
Roberts, who had one year left on his four-year contract signed the 2018 season, has reached the playoffs in all six of his seasons leading the Dodgers, including three World Series trips, three years over 100 wins, and the franchise’s first championship in over three decades. He earned $6.5 million in 2021, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register.
“We’re moving forward. Hopefully we can get it done sooner rather than later. I think we’re really close,” Roberts said via Zoom on March 11. “I don’t think that it’s going to be an issue here in the coming days.”
The Dodgers under Roberts are 542-329, with 23 more wins than the next-best team (Houston) during that span. His .622 winning percentage is third-best in franchise history, behind only Bill McGunnigle (.658) and Chuck Dressen (.642), a pair of three-year managers with Brooklyn.
“Since becoming the manager in 2015, Dave Roberts has consistently demonstrated elite leadership skills and infectious energy,” said president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said in a statement on Friday. “He has been a vital part of the Dodgers’ success over the last six-plus years and we all look forward to seeing him lead the organization from the dugout for a long time to come.”
Roberts’ first contract with the Dodgers was for three years, plus an option for 2019. He made the playoffs all three years, including two World Series, and managed 2018 without a guaranteed contract for the next season. The Dodgers picked up Roberts’ 2019 option in November, then replaced that with a four-year contract in December, though 2022.
The day after the Dodgers were eliminated in the NLCS in October, Roberts told Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times he was hopeful to work out a contract extension with the Dodgers this offseason.
“I just think that this is where I want to be,” Roberts told Castillo. “And I expect that we’ll have some really good conversations at some point in time this winter.”
With Roberts already under contract for 2022, there was no urgency to work out an extension early in the offseason, not with the three longest-tenured Dodgers reaching free agency, along with the third-place finisher in National League Cy Young voting.
Aside from 12 Dodgers becoming free agents, there was the matter of sorting out the rest of the coaching staff. Bench coach Bob Geren and first base coach Clayton McCullough each interviewed for the Mets managerial position this winter, for instance.
“For us, we’ve got a lot of near-term things with people we aren’t sure are going to be here that we’re working through,” Friedman said at the GM meetings in November, per Plunkett. “I’m sure it’s something we’ll have conversations on at some point.”
The entire major league coaching staff under Roberts from last year will return for 2022 as well.
Even with the lockout preventing roster moves for major league players, there wasn’t much urgency towards an extension for Roberts, nor was there concern.
“It’ll get done,” Roberts told Andy McCullough of The Athletic in the first week of February. “It’ll get done.”
Roberts is in the top 20 percent among major league managers in tenure with one team, having been hired by the Dodgers before the 2016 season. Three of the other five in that group have been signed beyond 2022.
Craig Counsell (2020) and Brian Snitker (2021) both signed multi-year extensions before the final year of their previous contract. Atlanta exercised Snitker’s 2024 option after winning the World Series.
Kevin Cash after 2018 signed the longest-term contract of the bunch, a six-year deal through 2024, with an option for 2025.
Counsell, Snitker, and Roberts all made the playoffs multiple times before signing extensions. Cash didn’t make the postseason before his second contract, but has led the Rays to the playoffs the last three years, including the best record in the American League in both 2020 and 2021.
Counsell and Cash were hired in 2015, Roberts and Snitker in 2016. The other two managers hired in 2016 — Don Mattingly and Scott Servais — started the final year of their deals last season without a new contract. Mattingly, whose 31-29 Marlins made the expanded playoffs in 2020, had his 2022 option exercised in July. The Mariners, who last reached the playoffs in 2001, signed Servais to a multi-year extension in September.
The 2022 season will be Roberts’ seventh at the helm in Los Angeles. The five Dodgers to manage longer than six years — Walt Alston, Tommy Lasorda, Wilbert Robinson, Leo Durocher, and Ned Hanlon — are all in the Hall of Fame.