Many were surprised to learn that Dave Roberts landed the Los Angeles Dodgers’ managerial position after it was assumed that Gabe Kapler would become the team’s next skipper. President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman explains why Roberts was the most appealing candidate for the job.
The Dodgers met with a total of nine candidates in their search to replace a managerial vacancy left by a mutual parting between them and Don Mattingly, ranging from in-house candidates like Kapler and bench coach Tim Wallach, to experienced managers like Bud Black and Ron Roenicke.
Although Roberts wasn’t initially anticipated to be a serious contender for the position, Friedman explains that he delivered a near-perfect interview.
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"We met with a lot of really impressive guys," Friedman recounted at Roberts’ introductory press conference on Tuesday. "Going into it, I didn’t know Dave very well. … After the first-round interview, it was almost like he had our answer key to the answers that we would have wanted to hear."
Friedman, who joined the Dodgers from the Tampa Bay Rays last offseason, elaborated on what impressed him most about Roberts, who was most recently the bench coach of the San Diego Padres.
"Everyone was blown away by who he is, what he represents. You can see the energy, you can see the enthusiasm, and his ability to connect with people," he said. "We felt that, as we went through with a very high standard for what we were looking for, we’re thrilled with the result of Dave sitting here to my right today."
Roberts becomes the 10th Dodgers manager to take the helm since the team moved to Los Angeles in 1958.
General manager Farhan Zaidi echoed Friedman’s thoughts on Roberts’ aura, adding that his openness to utilizing advanced analytics was a substantial factor in his hiring as well.
"There’s a sort of positivity and energy to Dave that really is the overriding thing in any conversation you have with him," Zaidi said. "You can feel it in any room it any room he’s in – even this room. As far as [us being] ideas people and [liking] to have those exchanges, he was so receptive to it. It worked really well and we’re very confident that he was the right guy."