Dodgers extend manager Dave Roberts’ contract through the 2025 season
The Dodgers agreed Friday to a three-year contract extension with manager Dave Roberts, locking up the World Series-winning skipper through the 2025 season and ensuring he won’t manage the 2022 season in the last year of his deal.
“You guys know how excited I am, and what it means for me to put this uniform on every day, and really respecting the Dodger tradition, and the people that came before me,” Roberts told reporters after the extension was announced. “So for ownership, the organization, Andrew [Friedman, president of baseball operations], in particular, to entrust me going forward is everything.”
In six years managing the Dodgers — all of which have seen the team make the playoffs — Roberts has been at the helm for five division titles, three National League pennants and a World Series championship in 2020.
No manager in MLB history has managed more games than Roberts with a better winning percentage than his .622 career mark. His 542 regular-season victories are fifth-most in club history. And not since Tommy Lasorda has the tenure of a Dodgers manager lasted so long.
Andrew Friedman’s accomplishments as the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations are significant. He says his passion for the job remains high.
The 2022 season was set to be the final year of a four-year contract Roberts signed in 2018. Although Roberts and club personnel maintained confidence throughout the winter that they would strike a new deal before the start of the campaign, negotiations continued to linger into the early weeks of spring camp.
Roberts, however, said Friday that player transactions, including the signing of first baseman Freddie Freeman, took precedence over his contract.
“I knew it was going to get done,” Roberts said, after finalizing the deal exactly two weeks from opening day. “I was hopeful. It wasn’t a priority for me individually. I think that us, as an organization, to focus on the players, and then obviously with what happened with Freddie … I completely understood and agreed with. But to get it done before the season, I think, it’s exciting for me and my family.”
The new deal — terms of which weren’t disclosed — will keep Roberts under contract with the team for the next four seasons, giving him the chance to become just the fourth manager in club history to hold the role for a decade.
“I’m continuing to grow as a manager,” Roberts said. “I think that the main reason is because, certainly experience helps, but most importantly just really having cemented relationships with a lot of these guys that I’ve gotten to know over the last six years and the front office as well. Everyone. I’m continuing to try to get better, but to look here now almost seven years ago, it’s pretty — I just don’t have a lot of words for that. It blows my mind.”
Despite all his success, there have been criticisms of Roberts’ tenure. His reputation in the postseason particularly has come under the microscope at various points, including last year when several of the team’s pitching decisions were questioned in the aftermath of a six-game National League Championship Series loss to the Atlanta Braves.
Roberts also acknowledged that there have been times he’s thought about whether he wanted to continue as manager of the Dodgers long term, citing the pressure that comes with one of baseball’s most high-profile positions.
“I did think about it at times,” Roberts said. “And I say that, not because I didn’t appreciate the job. I just felt that, at times, for me to do right by the Dodgers and the players, they have to have all of me.”
He later added: “With anyone at different times in their lives, regarding their jobs, it’s like, ‘Man, how long do I want to do this for?’ I think it’s a fair thought that anyone should have.”
With Mookie Betts in MVP form and Cody Bellinger heating up, the Dodgers are in great shape heading into the second half of the 60-game season.
But ultimately, Roberts wanted to pursue the extension, still driven by his connection to the franchise and desire to win another championship.
“I love this organization so much,” he said. “And I think that I’m very embedded with the fan base, the players, and I just feel that I can help impact lives by doing this job.”
Though the condensed 2022 season will present new challenges for Roberts and the team to manage, he has been staunch in his belief this year’s team can win a second World Series in three seasons — even guaranteeing a title publicly during an interview Thursday.
“It’s something that, I just believe, I see it very clear,” Roberts said. “In 2020, I felt that our guys had the combination of urgency, the talent in the room, the undeniable focus to win a championship. And I’m seeing a semblance of that this year.”
He now knows he is under contract beyond this season, too, and that a winter-long negotiation finally reached the endpoint he expected all along.
“It wasn’t anything that we didn’t feel was ultimately going to get done,” he said. “This is the place I knew I wanted to be, my family wanted to be, and it’s good to know that it was mutual.”
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