Article

Roberts confirms Dodgers were ´very in tune´ with Stanton, Ohtani

December 13 2017 2:50 AM

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts revealed the MLB World Series finalists were in discussions to sign Giancarlo Stanton and Shohei Ohtani.

National League MVP and All-Star slugger was traded to the New York Yankees by the Miami Marlins amid widespread interest from around the league, while Japanese star Ohtani joined rivals the Los Angeles Angels.

The Dodgers were linked with both players and Roberts said his team were involved in their pursuit.

"We were very in tune with both those  — with those players. I think I can speak for us and putting our best foot forward," Roberts said.

"They landed elsewhere, but I think that -- obviously, impactful players. But as an organisation, you've just got to continue to move forward.

"We've got a pretty good nucleus already and obviously intrigued by those two players. But we're moving on."

Roberts watched as the Houston Astros celebrated their World Series title in Los Angeles last season, and it was a bitter taste he does not want to experience again.

"Gosh, I don't know if you ever get over it," Roberts said at the MLB winter meetings on Tuesday. "Especially you go to game seven, and a lot of things could have been different, a pitch here, a pitch there, maybe change the outcome. But you still go through your mind and what you could have done possibly different to potentially influence it, but at the end of the day, it is what it is, and you learn from it.

"You've got to get back up to the top of the mountain. It is good knowing that we have a lot of guys that have been part of some big games in the last few years, some very meaningful games, and there's a lot of value in that. So I'd argue that our guys are as hungry as anybody in all of baseball to be that close. We'll be right there in the mix again."

Dodgers pitcher Kenta Maeda found success out of the bullpen in the postseason, but Roberts does not think he will remain there next year.

"We expect him to be back in the rotation," Roberts said. "And I think that the thing for Kenta is I think that he really built confidence in pitching out of the pen, and I think that that right there, I think will help him as a starter in the sense of abbreviating his preparation for a start.

"In talking to Rick Honeycutt, when starters go to the pen and they have to get ready quicker, it helps them if they go back to that starter role that it doesn't take this long, long process to get ready and understand you can still go out there and perform. So I think that, with guys like — and even Clayton [Kershaw], you know, to see what he did out of the pen and see how quick you can get loose and still be really effective, I think that there's something to be said for that."

The Dodgers, reportedly losing reliever Brandon Morrow this offseason, have made improving the bullpen one of their main offseason goals.

"I think the thing with our ball club, the pitching component, the athleticism, the youth, mixed with some veterans, you can always bolster the bullpen," Roberts said. "I think that for us and our guys that we've been very good at kind of identifying guys with some upside in the pen."

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