MLB

Dave Roberts says he’s ‘really close’ to extension with Los Angeles Dodgers

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Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, entering his final year under contract, said he and the team’s front office are « really close » to agreeing on an extension with the 2022 season fast-approaching.

Roberts, 49, has led the Dodgers to three World Series appearances and one championship through six seasons. His .622 regular-season winning percentage stands as the highest among those who managed after 1940.

« We’re moving forward, » Roberts said in a videoconference session with the media on Friday. « Hopefully we can get it done sooner than later. We’re really close. I don’t think that it’s gonna be an issue here in the coming days. »

Roberts’ more immediate focus is on navigating another shortened spring training to get his team ready for Opening Day on April 8. In the midst of that, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman will be busy augmenting the roster, an opportunity stripped from him during the 99-day lockout that preceded an agreement on the sport’s new collective bargaining agreement.

Roberts said he is « expecting additions, » noting the need for starting pitching and additional depth for the position-player group.

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The biggest question surrounding the Dodgers centers on former Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer, who spent the last four months of last season on Major League Baseball’s restricted list while fighting sexual assault allegations. The LA District Attorney’s Office decided not to file charges in early February and Bauer has claimed innocence throughout, but MLB still hasn’t ruled on a potential suspension.

« I don’t want to completely close the door on him potentially being in spring training because I just don’t know enough, » Roberts said, adding that he has not spoken with Bauer and didn’t know of anybody else on the Dodgers who has been in touch.

Max Muncy is on track to be ready by Opening Day despite suffering a torn UCL in his left elbow on the final day of the 2021 regular season, Roberts added. But Muncy can also play second and third base, and the Dodgers plan to rotate different players through the designated hitter, a new addition to National League play, meaning Muncy’s health does not preclude the Dodgers from adding superstar free-agent first baseman Freddie Freeman.

« I would love to see Freddie Freeman in a Dodgers uniform, » Roberts said. « Who wouldn’t? He’s a heck of a ballplayer. He’s put himself in a situation to be a free agent, so he’s earned that right and the opportunity to be courted by other teams and to see what’s best for him and his family. Certainly in the conversation for us, but ultimately it’s gonna be his decision. »

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