SAN DIEGO — Of course, not every piece of news that we focus on during the Winter Meetings involves the Colorado Rockies. We also like to take a look at what is going on around the National League West as well.
In what is the first of a series of articles, we will take some of the more interesting questions asked to opposing NL West managers here in San Diego during their open media time and share those with you. Why? We think the views they express about their teams will be of interest to fans of the Colorado Rockies as we look ahead to the 2020 season.
We start today with the reigning division champs, the Los Angeles Dodgers and manager Dave Roberts.
Have you been involved in meeting with free agents and being part of those meetings to try to recruit?
"Roberts: I have. I have. It’s almost like a little bit — you know, I was a college coach, but I’ve been a part of the recruiting process. So it’s been fun. There’s been a lot of dialogue, a lot of obviously good players, offers, and kind of exchanged. So a lot of good conversation.So it’s exciting when you have top-end players available that really don’t present themselves like they have this winter, but it is nice to know that we have a very good club as it stands. Where these negotiations kind of end remains to be seen, but it’s been fun to be a part of."
Do you sense you guys are any more aggressive than you guys have been in past years?
"Roberts: Yeah, I would say yeah. I think so. I think that’s fair. When you look at the players that are available, you look at the economics of the flexibility that we have as a club. So I think that those two variables have kind of made us a little bit more involved, interested, yeah."
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How does that, I don’t know, manifest itself I guess? How can you tell you’re being more aggressive?
"Roberts: I just think that the conversations that we’ve had, and it’s clear, when you’re talking about the players that are available, it’s pretty clear how excited and eager our organization is about engaging, which we haven’t been as much in past with other free agents, but I do think that Andrew, the front office, with Stan and Mark, there’s still a process to be responsible to win still right now but also to not compromise too much. It’s still kind of — I wouldn’t say at the fore, forefront, but it’s somewhere in the front of our minds, but we’re being aggressive."
Do you get the sense that the owners are more willing than in the past to open up the purse strings?
"Roberts: We’re being more aggressive than I can recall, so whatever that means."
It’s obviously another year in which you guys fell short of the ultimate goal. Why do you think that — I mean, when you had time to reflect, anything kind of stick out to you as far as why you didn’t get there?
"Roberts: We just didn’t get it done. We just didn’t — we ran into a very good club, and they made pitches, they got hits when they needed to, and we didn’t. So you’ve got to give credit to those guys, and that’s the thing that we love because there’s no certainty in baseball, as much as some people think there is, but that’s why you’ve got to play it, and you’ve got to get back up and do it again the next year."
Where are you with Kenley (Jansen) right now?
"Roberts: Kenley is working hard. He’s doing great. Shortly after the season, he was already back in the weight room. I mean, he’d face a hitter right now. So he’s mentally in a great place, physically in a great place. So I don’t expect any change in role at all."
Because it looked like, when Kelly came out, I think that was kind of widely interpreted as you guys having lost faith in Kenley. Where was your confidence level in him then, and where is it kind of going into this coming season?
"Roberts: Well, the confidence is right where it should be, and I believe in Kenley as a person, as a player, and as our closer."
Do you feel like — I mean, you mentioned the team has been aggressive, more aggressive maybe than in years past. Do you feel confident that aggression will lead to something? Like do you have some optimism about that?
"Roberts: No. I don’t know — I don’t think anyone knows of any certainty as far as our aggressiveness is going to lead to something ultimately. I do know that ultimately there’s a responsibility, there’s a process that I think that we all believe in, and that’s — and whatever that responsibility, that line is for any team is different.But I think that we’re being as aggressive as we feel we should be on each player. So, again, I love our club, and those guys certainly move the needle, but as it stands right now, I’m very confident in our club going forward this year."