As Padres fans wake up today, they find a number of familiar faces on their way to the World Series. Unfortunately, these faces are headed there for one of their most hated teams in the Los Angeles Dodgers. One of those faces sparks a lot of controversy in the world of Padres fans–Dave Roberts.
Dave Roberts has led the Los Angeles Dodgers on an impressive campaign in 2017. They ran away with the division fairly early. However, they also faced a historic losing streak that looked to foreshadow another unsuccessful playoff run. Unfortunately for us Padres fans, this is not the case. The Dodgers are headed to their first World Series since 1988, and a lot of credit deserves to be given to their manager.
It is pretty amazing that this team has not made it to a World Series in the last decade given their fairly dominant performance within the N.L. West during that time span.
They have built up a massive payroll to go along with their success, but it has never equated to a World Series berth until now. It is peculiar that they were able to accomplish this feat in, not only Roberts’ second season as the Dodgers’ manager, but in only his second season as a manager in his career. Clearly, he has the knack for the job and the Dodgers did not hesitate in bringing him on as their guy. Thus, the question that is often posed is, why didn’t the Padres’ ownership and management give him an interview?
As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. However, it is hard to imagine not even giving a guy like Roberts an interview for the managerial job when the Padres moved on from Bud Black (who is now having success with the Colorado Rockies). Roberts is an energetic, knowledgeable, crafty, former Padre with a wealth of postseason experience–experience I would assume would help a manager in the postseason. Furthermore, he was already a bench coach for the Padres at the time and was familiar with the direction of the organization and the players who sought to execute this plan.
A.J. Preller’s excuse for not granting an interview to Roberts back in 2015? He claimed that he had already interviewed him for the interim manager job when they fired Bud Black. He also described how the organization wanted to find a candidate who was not already a part of the coaching staff. Preller clearly believed that every single coach within the Padres organization worshiped Bud Black as if he was Joe Torre or Tony La Russa, and were not capable of their own coaching philosophy.
The San Diego Padres missed a huge opportunity in Roberts. I think he has a special ability to gauge his players and put them in the right positions at the right times. We saw this in 2016 with his use of Kenley Jansen in the NLCS, and we are seeing it again this year. Roberts, unlike Andy Green, in my opinion, has incredible passion and energy that he is not afraid to put on display. The San Diego Padres saw this on their own field back in June when Roberts and Green got into a scuffle over stolen signs.
I do not want this to come across as me being pessimistic about the future of Andy Green. He is still young in his tenure with the team and the pieces are slowly falling in place. When they finally do fall into place (let us all pray they do), then we can begin judging his true capability as a manager in this league. Instead, I would love for Padres fans to become wary of the moves made by upper management. They are starting to build a reputation of firing or letting members of their organization go, only for them to be successful elsewhere (Bruce Bochy, Bud Black, and now Dave Roberts, to name a few). Nobody wants to see this become a continuing trend in San Diego. We already have a bad reputation for letting entire organizations leave the city… but that is a whole different story.