LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers fell short of their championship goal in 2023 in spectacular fashion. Not only did they not win a game during the National League Division Series, but they never led at any point. The Diamondbacks led at the end of 25 of the 27 innings in the series, swept in three games by Arizona.
“Our goal was to win 11 games in October and we didn’t win one,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday. “So we need to figure out what we can do differently and how to go about it.”
The folks tasked with making those changes for next season will essentially be the same as this one. Manager Dave Roberts isn’t going anywhere, which shouldn’t be surprising yet amazingly somehow is among some fans whose taste for blood matches the Halloween season.
Roberts has two seasons left on his three-year contract extension signed in March 2022. He made $3.25 million in 2023, per Bob Nightengale at USA Today.
Since signing that extension, Roberts led the Dodgers to 211 regular season wins, including 111 victories in 2022, the most in the National League in over a century. But they were eliminated in the Division Series in both seasons, winning one game against the 89-win Padres in 2022 and no games against the 84-win Diamondbacks this season.
Because the ultimate goal is to win a championship, Friedman called it an organizational failure in both seasons. But that doesn’t mean he’s pointing any fingers.
“Organizational failure means it’s on all of us, and we all have a hand in it. If this were one person or a small collection of people, in my estimation, then we would make changes,” Friedman said. “We just wouldn’t do it to say we made changes and cover up what has happened. Instead, we have a lot of extremely disappointed, angry people who are all going to work really hard together to avoid being in this position next year.
“I feel like making a change would be for the sake of it instead of actually bringing better and more talented people.”
Also returning with Roberts is his coaching staff, with no changes expected there either.
“The collective effort of this group and the culture — not just, ‘Hey, everyone gets along’ — going through the clubhouse and watching how everyone is focused, all of our players on how to try to win a game,” Friedman said. “The one thing I can say with absolute certainty — and there aren’t many things I can do that about — as we postmortem, it was certainly not from a lack of effort. Watching the way these guys prepared, cared, and did everything they could to put themselves in the best position to go out and have success.
“Now, we didn’t do it, and that ultimately is what matters most, so it’s figuring out from that. But I think Doc, our coaching staff did a good job this year, and none of us did a good job for any of those three games against Arizona.”
Gomes staying put, too
The Red Sox have had trouble filling their top front office job after firing chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom in mid-September, with heavily influential manager Alex Cora entrenched and an ownership group that hasn’t spent at the top of the market in recent years.
Brandon Gomes, the Dodgers general manager the last two years and a part of the organization for seven seasons, declined to interview for the open Red Sox position, per Chad Jennings and Fabian Ardaya at The Athletic on Monday, preferring to stay with the team that has Mookie Betts than the one that traded him.
On Tuesday, Gomes explained his decision.
“I’m very flattered and appreciative of the interest,” Gomes said. “But I love it here, my family loves it here. I’m passionate about this organization, and focused on winning a championship.”