Dodgers pick up Roberts’ 2019 contract option

The Los Angeles Dodgers have picked up the option on manager Dave Roberts’ contract for 2019 but will continue to work on a multi-year contract extension, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman announced Wednesday at the GM meetings in Carlsbad, Calif.

The deadline was Wednesday for the Dodgers to exercise the option.

Friedman said Roberts’ contract negotiations have been put on the back burner as the team works to address immediate issues, such as free agent negotiations and filling key staff vacancies. On Tuesday, general manager Farhan Zaidi took a job with the San Francisco Giants. Third-base coach Chris Woodward has accepted the position as manager of the Texas Rangers and hitting coach Turner Ward departed for the Cincinnati Reds.

“We exercised the option and we remain optimistic about working something out long term,” Friedman told reporters. “The reason that we slowed it down a little bit is that we’ve had coaching staff decisions to make and interviews and it speaks more to the optimism that we have that something is going to definitely get done and it allows us to focus on what we need to near term.

“Player personnel decision are front and center right now. They have to be. And we have to figure out staffing and prioritize what to attack first.”

The Dodgers hired Roberts before the 2016 season and he signed a three-year contract with a club option for 2019. USA Today reported in October that the option is for $1.1 million. His salary under the 2016 contract has been estimated at $1 million, which is in the bottom third in the major leagues.

Last week, Friedman said he didn’t anticipate problems reaching an agreement with Roberts.

“We talked in spring training, made significant progress, but reached a point where focusing on the season was something we all wanted to do,” Friedman said. “We agreed to table it and pick it up when we were done playing.”

In three seasons with the Dodgers, Roberts, 46, has led the team to back-to-back World Series appearances and three straight National League West titles. He has a 287-200 record as L.A.’s manager. He is the first Dodgers manager since Tom Lasorda in 1977-78 to reach consecutive World Series.

Roberts was voted the National League Manager of the Year in 2016.

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