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Roberts expected to return as Dodgers’ manager

Dave Roberts is expected to return as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers next season, two high-ranking team executives said during a press conference on Thursday.

Roberts has guided the Dodgers to back-to-back World Series. Los Angeles lost in five games to the Boston Red Sox this season after falling in seven games to the Houston Astros in 2017.

“We talked throughout the year about how optimistic we are that we’re going to work together for a long time,” Andrew Friedman, president of baseball operations, said of Roberts, “and we remain that way.”

No agreement thus far

The Dodgers have been engaged in extension talks with Roberts. His current contract has a $1.1 million mutual option for 2019.

But so far, the two sides have been unable to reach agreement.

“I wouldn’t read into that at all,” Friedman said. “We talked about it I think as far back as spring training and into the year and made significant progress in just a meeting of the minds and talking through things. I think from all of our standpoints we reached a point where focusing on the season and what we were trying to do was more important in all of our minds.”

General manager Farhan Zaidi said contracts for Roberts and his coaching staff “should be finalized in the next week or two.”

Third-base coach Chris Woodward is a candidate for the Texas Rangers’ managerial opening, according to The Athletic.

Controversial decisions

Roberts was booed at Dodger Stadium for some of his decisions in the postseason but Friedman and Zaidi said they were fine with how the manager operated.

“As a general point, we both feel very strongly that those decisions, those strategic decisions, are the result of a process,” Zaidi said. “Dave’s process is having conversations with us, having conversations with coaches, trusting his own gut, trusting what he sees as these games unfold.

“We believe, and we continue to have full confidence in his process. Sometimes things turn out your way, sometimes things don’t. That’s baseball. That’s the beauty of this game.”

The Dodgers are also working with Clayton Kershaw to see if they can reach a deal prior to the left-hander’s Friday deadline to opt out of the final two years of his contract. Kershaw is owed $65 million on that deal.

The original deadline was moved back from Wednesday. Los Angeles has discussed adding a season or two on Kershaw’s deal if he’s willing to pass on becoming a free agent.

“Obviously he’s made as much of an impact as you can on an organization in terms of the success we’ve had — not just on the field, but from a culture standpoint, in terms of bringing up young pitchers and kind of emulating the work ethic, the drive,” Friedman said. “But beyond that, as we look out, we have a couple days here. We’re going to continue to have those conversations, and when we get to a point of being able to announce something, it’ll be easier to go into more detail.”

–Field Level Media

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