Can a rookie manager take Dodgers to baseball's promised land?

Posted on 20 November 2015

It's Nov. 20 and do you know where your Dodgers manager is?

Dodgers officials probably know by now, yet no announcement. Maybe this weekend, more likely early next week.

The one thing apparently true about their coming hire is that he will have no major-league managerial experience. That wide-ranging list of potential managers reportedly has been dwindled from nine to two -- Gabe Kapler or Dave Roberts.

Having a rookie manager for a veteran club with World Series ambitions is not exactly ideal. It doesn’t scream urgency to win now. Rookie managers have won the World Series before but not often. Try four times, the last being Bob Brenly with the Diamondbacks in 2001.

Kapler would be a way-out-of-the-box hire, though he has been rumored to be the front-office favorite from the beginning. Kapler has never coached nor managed at the major-league level. He managed one season for Boston’s Class A team in Greenville, S.C., in 2007, and that did not go so well. His team went 58-81.

He resumed his 12-year playing career the next season, playing his final two years for -- wait for it -- the Tampa Bay Rays. Which of course is where the Dodgers’ current president of baseball operations, Andrew Friedman, was then the general manager. Friedman hired Kapler out of the Fox TV booth last off-season to become the team's farm director.

Roberts finished his 10-year career -- 2 1/2 years spent with the Dodgers -- in 2008. He’s been a coach with the Padres the last several years, the last two as their bench coach. OK, he did manage one game for the Padres last season when Bud Black was fired (he lost).

The Dodgers are the only team in the majors still without a manager. All other openings have been filled. Friedman said he expected to name his manager ahead of baseball’s annual winter meetings, which are now drawing close. They're set to begin Dec. 6 in Nashville.

There are going to be growing pains with any rookie manager, the extent of which depends on the individual and the team he inherits.

This Dodgers team had a record payroll last season and has won the last three consecutive NL West titles -- and that was considered disappointing. The Dodgers faithful expect a World Series every year, a tough road to navigate for any rookie manager, but apparently the one that lies ahead.

Article by: Steve Dilbeck, LA Times

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