LOS ANGELES — Dodgers fans still reeling from the shock of an early postseason exit following the National League Division Series loss to the Padres aren’t alone. President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman knows exactly how they feel.
Since Friedman took over the front office in 2015, the Dodgers have won one championship (’20). The seven other seasons have each ended in some sort of letdown, either a premature end to a playoff run or defeat in the World Series (‘17, ‘18).
But this year’s elimination — coming on the heels of a franchise-record 111 wins and against a division rival that’s been gunning to dethrone them — could very well have been the most disappointing of them all.
“I felt way worse Sunday than I expected, and I expected low,” Friedman said during a press conference with general manager Brandon Gomes on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium. “And it hasn’t quite hit an upswing yet.”
Although manager Dave Roberts has gotten some heat for decisions he made during the NLDS, that won’t keep him from serving the second year of the three-year contract extension he signed this past March. When asked to confirm that Roberts would be back as the Dodgers’ skipper in 2023, Friedman said, “A hundred percent,” adding that he also doesn’t anticipate any changes to the coaching staff.
“I personally don’t think the criticism that Dave has received has been fair,” said Friedman. “And it’s human nature to want to point the finger at someone. I feel like this was an organizational failure in the postseason.”
Friedman, however, doesn’t feel like that failure had to do with the Dodgers’ relative inactivity at the Trade Deadline, when they didn’t acquire any pitching and their big splash was getting Joey Gallo from the Yankees — only to have Gallo play just one inning on defense in the NLDS while taking no at-bats.
“We are tasked with doing everything we can to win in that current year, but also to maintain our future outlook,” said Friedman. “If a deal would have made sense, we would have said yes to it on a number of different fronts. So no, I don’t regret not doing a bad deal for us.”
Rather, Friedman pointed to the Dodgers’ inability to capitalize with runners in scoring position during the NLDS, an area where they were the best in baseball during the regular season. Why that changed during the postseason — they went 5-for-34 in such situations — is one of many things he and his team will be looking into this offseason.
“We didn’t anticipate having this time, and so now it’s about really rolling our sleeves up and digging in for things we can learn from this year that will help us in the future, and also the best way to position ourselves to have the deepest and best team going into next year,” said Friedman.