Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Category: Managers

The Dodgers, Dave Roberts and the human element

Dave Roberts (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

In front of an emotionally eviscerated Dodger fan base, in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 4 of the 2018 World Series on October 27, Kiké Hernández came to the plate at Dodger Stadium.

Only an hour earlier, a thrilling glow suffused Chavez Ravine. Having survived an 18-inning Game 3 marathon, Los Angeles had taken a 4-0 lead into the seventh inning against the Boston Red Sox. The Dodgers were eight outs away from evening the Fall Classic at two games apiece.

Then their world collapsed around them like a dream in Inception. Nine Boston baserunners crossed the plate, the final four in the top of the ninth, obliterating a beautiful consciousness.

In that soul-darkening ninth inning, Hernández stood at the plate as a symbol of star-crossed Octobers. Coming off the most successful regular season of his major-league career, Hernández homered in his 2018 playoff debut, the Dodgers’ 6-0 trouncing of Atlanta in Game 1 of the National League Division Series. The multiposition master, baseball’s Swiss Army knife, then went 12 consecutive games without a single extra-base hit or RBI.

Hernández couldn’t hit right-handed pitching. He couldn’t hit left-handed pitching. He couldn’t hit, period. Entering the gloom of Game 4’s waning moments, Hernández had made 30 outs in his past 33 at-bats.

As another fallen hope stood on first base in the person of Brian Dozier, Hernández took two fastballs from Boston closer Craig Kimbrel, then let rip at a knuckle-curve and launched a fly ball to deep left-center for a two-run home run. Except for the fleeting sliver of hope it kindled in those who could conceive the greatest miracle postseason comeback in Dodger history, it was a footnote. The Dodgers lost the game by the score of 9-6 instead of 9-4.

The next day, in a game the Dodgers could not spare, Hernández was in the starting lineup against Boston lefty David Price, batting third.

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Live-blog: Dave Roberts introductory press conference

By Jon Weisman

Dave Roberts is being introduced at Dodger Stadium shortly after 11 a.m. as the Dodgers’ manager. We’ll highlight some of the key quotes as they come here …

(Also, note that Roberts will be holding a live Q&A on Twitter this afternoon – check the hashtag #AskDave.)

Introducing Roberts is Dodger president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman: “We are highly confident that he is going to play a significant role in us shaping a culture of sustained success here. Magic Johnson then presents Roberts with his Dodger jersey, wearing No. 30.

Roberts begins with some introductory remarks:

  • “For me, this is obviously a huge day for me, speaking personally and on behalf of my family. … I think for me to have an opportunity to put the Dodger uniform on again, it’s come full circle.”
  • “People have asked me in passing about this opportunity. I look at it as a responsibility.”
  • “I see Don Newcombe. I see Maury Wills. I see Tommy Lasorda. I see Adrian Gonzalez. These are people, when they wear that Dodger uniform, they wear it the right way — they wear it with pride.”

https://twitter.com/Dodgers/status/671771309529939968/photo/1

Next, the Q&A begins:

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New manager Dave Roberts is the Dodgers’ somebody

Dave Roberts in 2002 (Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Dave Roberts in 2002 (Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

Dave Roberts first came to the Dodgers as a nobody. On December 22, 2001, the Dodgers traded two single-A minor-leaguers, Christian Bridenbaugh and Nial Hughes, to Cleveland for an outfielder who had 40 career Major League hits at age 29.

Neither Bridenbaugh nor Hughes would play at any level in any of MLB’s 30 organizations again. But Roberts, he wouldn’t easily be forgotten.

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Report: Don Mattingly to manage Marlins

Dee Gordon says hello to Don Mattingly in his first game at Dodger Stadium as a Miami Marlin on May 11, as Lorenzo Bundy observes. (Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Dee Gordon says hello to Don Mattingly before Gordon’s first game at Dodger Stadium as a Miami Marlin on May 11, as Lorenzo Bundy observes. (Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

Don Mattingly and the Marlins have agreed to a deal for him to become the next Miami manager, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com confirmed today.

An official announcement is expected after the World Series. Mattingly will be the 15th manager in Marlins history and the second with Dodger ties, following Jeff Torborg (2002-03).

John Boles (1996-2001) later became a Dodger senior advisor, and Cookie Rojas, who managed the Marlins for one game in 2006 between Rene Lachemann and Boles, was the starting second baseman as a roookie for the Reds in the first game ever at Dodger Stadium. A week later, according to Baseball-Reference.com, Rojas got his first Major League hit — off Sandy Koufax.

But I digress. Mattingly will return April 25-28 to Los Angeles, when Miami plays at Dodger Stadium to start the Dodgers’ second homestand of the year.

Deconstructing the departure of Don Mattingly

Friedman IMG_2246

Andrew Friedman at the televised press conference discussing Don Mattingly’s exit.

Don Mattingly and Andrew Friedman chat at an October 7 workout. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Don Mattingly and Andrew Friedman chat at an October 7 workout. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

This would have been a good day to own stock in the word “mutual.”

Dodger president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi — along with outgoing manager Don Mattingly — fought an uphill battle before a skeptical press corps this afternoon to emphasize that the decision for Mattingly to leave the Dodgers was a shared one.

“If there was a reason that this happened, we would share it,” Friedman said during a 45-minute session for him and Zaidi at Dodger Stadium. “There’s not. It was a collection of a lot of different conversations over many days that got us to this point. So it’s not so black and white here. There is a huge middle, and it’s gray, and that’s how everything played out.”

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Dodgers, Don Mattingly part ways

Don Mattingly went 446-363 as Dodger manager. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Don Mattingly went 446-363 as Dodger manager. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

Eight people have managed the Dodgers since their last World Series in 1988, and soon there will be a ninth.

Here’s this morning’s announcement:

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Don Mattingly have mutually agreed that Mattingly will not return to manage the club in 2016.

Dodger president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, general manager Farhan Zaidi and senior vice-president of baseball operations Josh Byrnes met and talked extensively with Mattingly for several days following the conclusion of the season.

“As our end-of-season process began, we discussed the past year, our future goals, necessary changes, roster needs and other matters relating to next year’s campaign,” said Friedman. “As the dialogue progressed daily, it evolved to a point where we all agreed that it might be best for both sides to start fresh. We decided to think about it for a couple of days and when we spoke again, we felt comfortable that this was the direction to go. I have the utmost respect for Donnie and thoroughly enjoyed working with him this past season. I want to thank him for his hard work and collaboration, as well as his accomplishments, including three consecutive National League West titles. I wish him nothing but success in the future.”

“I’m honored and proud to have had the opportunity to manage the Los Angeles Dodgers,” said Mattingly. “I’ve enjoyed my experiences and relationships with the organization’s staff and players throughout my eight years in L.A. After meeting with Andrew, Farhan and Josh, we all felt that a fresh start would be good for both the organization and me. We talked about several scenarios, including my returning in 2016. However, I believe this is the right time and right move for both parties. I’m still very passionate about managing and hope to get the opportunity in the near future. In the meantime, I want to thank the Dodger organization, the city and our fans for the opportunity and wish the club well going forward.”

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Damon Berryhill named PCL Manager of the Year

Damon Berryhill - OKC Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers manager Damon Berryhill has been named 2015 Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year, the league office announced today.

Berryhill won a vote of managers and media representatives from each PCL city. He is the first Dodger Triple-A manager to win the award since Lorenzo Bundy did for Albuquerque in 2012.

Oklahoma City won the PCL American Northern Division title with a team-record 85 victories so far and is headed for the PCL playoffs, despite roster turnover that put over 80 players in uniform during the year, amid more than 300 transactions.

The team has 11 walkoff wins, tied for the most in the PCL.

Berryhill joined the Dodger organization in 2009 at Ogden, and moved up to Albuquerque last year. Overall, he is 416-384 in eight seasons as a manager, after a 10-year career as a Major League catcher with the Chicago Cubs, Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati and San Francisco.

Dave Roberts the latest Padres manager with Dodger connection

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Dave Roberts had a .342 OPS in 1,189 plate appearances with the Dodgers from 2002-04 and ranks 20th in franchise history with 118 stolen bases. (Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

Dave Roberts, named interim manager of the San Diego Padres today after Bud Black was fired, is the latest in a line of Padre managers with Dodger ties.

  • 1969-72: Preston Gomez (Dodger coach and minor-league manager)
  • 1972-73: Don Zimmer (Dodger player)
  • 1978-79: Roger Craig (Dodger player)
  • 1981: Frank Howard (Dodger player)
  • 1982-85: Dick Williams (Dodger player)
  • 1986: Steve Boros (Dodger scout)
  • 1987-88: Larry Bowa (Dodger coach)
  • 1992-94: Jim Riggleman (Dodger coach and minor-league player)

Black, who replaced Bruce Bochy, had managed the Padres since 2007.

In case you missed it: Scioscia catches Hershiser (smile)

LOS ANGELES ANGELS OF ANAHEIM VS LOS ANGELES DODGERS

By Jon Weisman

Now, that was a nice battery. True or false: Mike Scioscia caught Orel Hershiser’s first Major League start. Answer below.

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In case you missed it: Upside down, boy you turn me

By Jon Weisman

One week until it’s time for Dodger (Spring Training) baseball …

  • Injury updates on several Dodgers are provided by Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. It could be a couple of weeks before we know more about Matt Kemp.

    … Kemp has had monthly MRI exams since having surgery to remove torn cartilage in his left ankle in October. Mattingly said the last exam was roughly two weeks ago, so we could have another two weeks or so before hearing anything new. …

  • More encouraging news — and a great quote — are coming from Josh Beckett and Dan Haren, according to Mark Saxon of ESPN LosAngeles.

    … “I said, ‘Did you ever dream you’d be watching a guy with a beard like Brian Wilson pitch with Sandy Koufax standing 10 feet from you?’” Beckett said. “Dan Haren’s like, ‘Yeah, it seems like there should be a unicorn somewhere.’” …

  • Since before the beginning of Spring Training, it’s been apparent that there might not be a full-time starter at second base come March 22. As Saxon and Stephen report, nothing has changed on that count.
  • Proclamation time:
  • “There’s no reason not to be confident” in Paco Rodriguez, despite the fact that he ran out of steam last fall, Don Mattingly told Ken Gurnick of MLB.comalong with Stephen.
  • In this Gurnick news feature about Don Mattingly, managers and long-term contracts comes this tidbit: “Jamey Wright has played for 29 managers in his 21 professional seasons.”
  • Yasiel Puig’s signing could have an impact for the Dodgers’ future international efforts, reports Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.

    … “The way it works down there, [amateur] players come to tryouts at your camp, and we had a hard time getting players to come to the academy [in the Dominican Republic] until we signed Puig,” (Ned) Colletti said. “I was down there about three weeks ago or so, and it was probably the best group of players that I’ve seen. A lot of it has to do with our ability to spend, and we’ve increased our scouting internationally three-fold from where it was. We have the finances to be competitive with players from Cuba and amateurs in other countries. Puig was a very key sign for us in more ways than just his talent.”

  • Tommy Davis is the latest to be featured in Ernest Reyes’ 1961 Union Oil Family Booklet series at Blue Heaven.
  • Joe Morgan talked with Bill James? It’s more than 80 minutes (via Baseball Think Factory), but this I gotta hear. “A lot of you may not know him as well as I do,” Morgan said, “but he is the father of sabermetrics, so to speak, and a guy that I really have a lot of admiration for. I don’t agree with a lot of sabermetrics people, but I’ve rarely disagreed with Bill.”

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