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December 10, 2019
San Diego, California
Q. What's it been like for you since the end of the season as far as trying to get over the way the season ended and all that?
DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, it didn't end the way we wanted, but we've got to move on. So we quickly turned to our guys evaluating our organization and figuring out ways we can get better. So it's been good to get some time away, but staying connected to players, the organization, staff.
So that bug is starting to show its head. So I'm getting excited.
Q. Have you been involved in meeting with free agents and being part of those meetings to try to recruit?
DAVE ROBERTS: I have. I have. It's almost like a little bit -- you know, I was a college coach, but I've been a part of the recruiting process. So it's been fun. There's been a lot of dialogue, a lot of obviously good players, offers, and kind of exchanged. So a lot of good conversation.
So it's exciting when you have top-end players available that really don't present themselves like they have this winter, but it is nice to know that we have a very good club as it stands. Where these negotiations kind of end remains to be seen, but it's been fun to be a part of.
Q. Do you sense you guys are any more aggressive than you guys have been in past years?
DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, I would say yeah. I think so. I think that's fair. When you look at the players that are available, you look at the economics of the flexibility that we have as a club. So I think that those two variables have kind of made us a little bit more involved, interested, yeah.
Q. How does that, I don't know, manifest itself I guess? How can you tell you're being more aggressive?
DAVE ROBERTS: I just think that the conversations that we've had, and it's clear, when you're talking about the players that are available, it's pretty clear how excited and eager our organization is about engaging, which we haven't been as much in past with other free agents, but I do think that Andrew, the front office, with Stan and Mark, there's still a process to be responsible to win still right now but also to not compromise too much. It's still kind of -- I wouldn't say at the fore, forefront, but it's somewhere in the front of our minds, but we're being aggressive.
Q. Do you get the sense that the owners are more willing than in the past to open up the purse strings?
DAVE ROBERTS: We're being more aggressive than I can recall, so whatever that means.
Q. Have you put your UCLA connections to use with any free agents in particular?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think it was understood, so yeah. I don't know how much weight that has, but hopefully it has plenty.
Q. So you did the Eight Clap then, right?
DAVE ROBERTS: I'll do whatever it takes. I wasn't asked to do the Eight Clap, but if that's what it takes, yeah, I'll do it.
Q. When you talk to free agents, what kind of questions do they ask you?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think that, for the most part, players do their own due diligence and vetting, getting information from other players that kind of have familiarity and history with that particular organization. But I think most of the work is done by the players themselves, and then as far as kind of their questions to myself or the front office, it's more specific to them, but I think for me it's kind of letting them know the landscape of the clubhouse, the culture, what's expected of them as a teammate, what the organization has to offer, what they can kind of offer to the club. You're talking about logistics as far as geography, living, information, analytics, data, and all that stuff, coaching staff, how that works.
Q. Do you guys have like a PowerPoint ready to go?
DAVE ROBERTS: No PowerPoint.
Q. It's obviously another year in which you guys fell short of the ultimate goal. Why do you think that -- I mean, when you had time to reflect, anything kind of stick out to you as far as why you didn't get there?
DAVE ROBERTS: We just didn't get it done. We just didn't -- we ran into a very good club, and they made pitches, they got hits when they needed to, and we didn't. So you've got to give credit to those guys, and that's the thing that we love because there's no certainty in baseball, as much as some people think there is, but that's why you've got to play it, and you've got to get back up and do it again the next year.
Q. When you go back and look at the various managerial decisions -- or let's just say decisions -- are there any of those that you think maybe we could have done this a little bit differently or maybe --
DAVE ROBERTS: You can -- I could -- I think that any manager can look at anything and say you could do it differently, whether it works out for doesn't work out. So we just didn't get it done but --
Q. Like in the past, you've talked about how you can kind of live with the decisions you've made.
DAVE ROBERTS: That's right.
Q. Is this the same thing here?
DAVE ROBERTS: Absolutely.
Q. There are none of those that you kind of look any more at --
DAVE ROBERTS: If things don't work out, there's people that are going to poke holes. So absolutely not. There's a process. I went through it, and those guys performed. You've got to give credit to the other team sometimes.
Q. Where are you with Kenley right now?
DAVE ROBERTS: Kenley is working hard. He's doing great. Shortly after the season, he was already back in the weight room. I mean, he'd face a hitter right now. So he's mentally in a great place, physically in a great place. So I don't expect any change in role at all.
Q. Because it looked like, when Kelly came out, I think that was kind of widely interpreted as you guys having lost faith in Kenley. Where was your confidence level in him then, and where is it kind of going into this coming season?
DAVE ROBERTS: Well, the confidence is right where it should be, and I believe in Kenley as a person, as a player, and as our closer.
Q. How about then?
DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, it's just the game management, and you're expecting -- I'm not going to go all into it, but I have confidence, I had confidence in Kenley.
Q. What has been your reaction to some of the allegations against the Astros that have come out this off-season?
DAVE ROBERTS: Just waiting to see how it all kind of plays out. Yeah, I really have no comment, just let the due process take care of itself, and whatever thing, consequences or whatever that comes down, they're going to have to deal with it. I really don't have any thoughts on what happened.
Q. I take it you're not surprised, though.
DAVE ROBERTS: I think the extent of some of the allegations -- because right now I guess they're allegations -- probably surprised.
Q. Are you upset?
DAVE ROBERTS: Well, I don't know exactly. These are allegations. I don't know what's -- until things kind of come down, right now I think it's unfair for me to make any type of comment on it.
Q. Have you found yourself thinking back to that World Series or moments in those games --
DAVE ROBERTS: Possibly.
Q. Does it make you feel differently about the outcome?
DAVE ROBERTS: No. No, because it still -- nothing is going to change it.
Q. And that's what I mean when I'm asking like are you upset about it? There was this one moment in time that you cannot take back anymore, right?
DAVE ROBERTS: Correct, because it's not going to change, no matter how I feel.
Q. It could have been the crowning achievement, though, of many guys' careers, your managerial career, right?
DAVE ROBERTS: Agreed. Yeah, but regardless of how I feel, it happened, and the commissioner, they're going to deal with it in the way they see best. But as far as kind of my sentiments, it's just not going to -- it's not helpful really for anyone.
Q. How harshly would you want to see these guys punished if those things turn out to be true?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think they're going to punish -- if there is something in place, that will be justified. That's not my decision.
Q. Were you guys taking extra precautionary measures in that series?
DAVE ROBERTS: Were we taking extra precautionary measures in that series? Yes, yeah.
Q. So you were somewhat aware that maybe something --
DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, but to what extent, we didn't know to what extent. But, yeah, we were trying to take some precautions, yes.
Q. Does it feel at all like that was just kind of part of the game at that time thing, or do you feel like a clear line was crossed if, again, they were using electronic devices?
DAVE ROBERTS: If, again, they were using, the line was crossed, but on the field, as we all know, that's a part of the game, sign stealing, reading catchers and tipping -- that's all part of the game. But there is a line.
Q. Do you feel bad for the players at all, like your players at all? Obviously, Darvish, seemed like a lot of people have been tweeting apologies to him: I'm so sorry for calling you this or that at that time. I mean, you know, obviously he wasn't the only guy.
DAVE ROBERTS: He's a big boy, and I don't feel -- I don't think he would expect me to feel sorry for him. I think he can answer that question. I guess, if fans feel they need to apologize to him, great.
Q. How important is it that baseball just kind of gets it -- do you feel this is one of those things that kind of threatens the fundamental integrity of the game?
DAVE ROBERTS: Yes, absolutely.
Q. Now, sign stealing from a guy from second base, is that okay?
DAVE ROBERTS: All fair, absolutely.
Q. It's just the electronic --
DAVE ROBERTS: That's kind of the line.
Q. Or binoculars in centerfield or whatever?
DAVE ROBERTS: That crossed the line as well to me.
Q. Did you talk with A.J. about it, knowing your friendship?
DAVE ROBERTS: I've had a conversation with A.J., yeah, but I'm not going to go into it. But we have talked, yeah.
Q. Do you believe that kind of strategy, I guess, extends beyond the Astros?
DAVE ROBERTS: I don't know. I just don't want to sit here and convict them because that's not my job. I don't know what -- I know what's alleged that they -- I would hope not. That allegation, I would hope it doesn't extend past any other club.
Q. Has your relationship with Hinch changed at all since, like as a result?
DAVE ROBERTS: No, no. He's still one of my good friends.
Q. Are you going to check your wallet after you hang out with him or anything?
DAVE ROBERTS: You're the best.
Q. Do you feel like -- I mean, you mentioned the team has been aggressive, more aggressive maybe than in years past. Do you feel confident that aggression will lead to something? Like do you have some optimism about that?
DAVE ROBERTS: No. I don't know -- I don't think anyone knows of any certainty as far as our aggressiveness is going to lead to something ultimately. I do know that ultimately there's a responsibility, there's a process that I think that we all believe in, and that's -- and whatever that responsibility, that line is for any team is different.
But I think that we're being as aggressive as we feel we should be on each player. So, again, I love our club, and those guys certainly move the needle, but as it stands right now, I'm very confident in our club going forward this year.
Q. Obviously, the bullpen has to kind of get remade every year. Do you feel upgrades have to be made, whether it's in the position player group or in the starting rotation?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think the thing is, whether it's the starters, the pen, the position player, I think, if you look at our MO, it's more of top-tier talent, and that's kind of all parts of the game. That's our target. So there's not really one localized area we're trying to go after, but that's still under the -- understand that we're going to be responsible. But, yeah, a top-end guy in the pen is always helpful.
Q. Have you had any conversations with guys like Justin or Max regarding the potential of position changes, role changes, things of that nature?
DAVE ROBERTS: So I will give Justin credit. He kind of set the tone for the off-season as far as whatever it takes to -- whatever player we feel is going to make our club better, he has no problem going to the other side of the diamond, and I feel that Max would feel the same way.
So for me to have to reach out to those guys, I haven't. I've talked to Justin, but I haven't reached out to Max. I don't think that there's a need to, but I'll check in on max.
But Justin, he kind of initiated that tone, so it's great to hear.
Q. Do you feel like there's a chance something will get done before you guys leave here Thursday?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think there's a chance. I don't know if it's going to be -- I think there's some good things happening. I think, as a baseball fan, as we all are, to see some things happen this week, I think is a good thing, and I think that there might be a domino or two that might fall as well this week.
Q. When did you realize the scope of your team's increased aggression? How soon after the season did you realize it might change?
DAVE ROBERTS: Very, very shortly after.
DAVE ROBERTS: Maybe even a little bit before. No, we all know who's going to potentially be available, so it was dialogue, conversations started up shortly thereafter.
Q. How involved is Walter in all this?
DAVE ROBERTS: He's at the center of it. So Andrew, Stan have daily conversations. So Mark, obviously, is very in tune with what's happening on a minute to minute basis.
Q. How's this off-season been for you?
DAVE ROBERTS: Great. It's been great. I took a trip.
Q. On the way to the elimination, it seemed like you got beaten up a little bit?
DAVE ROBERTS: It's great.
Q. It didn't bother you a bit?
DAVE ROBERTS: As far as?
Q. You kind of took the brunt of it.
DAVE ROBERTS: It's okay. I had a great vacation.
Q. Where did you go?
DAVE ROBERTS: I went to Blackberry Farm.
Q. Where is that?
DAVE ROBERTS: It's in the Smoky Mountains. I'm going to do Maui after Christmas. Thanks for asking. I appreciate your concern.
Q. It seems like there's been kind of a lot this off-season, right? That kind of happened, and then kind of this news about the Astros and stuff. It just kind of seems like it would be a lot to process.
DAVE ROBERTS: It's a lot, huh?
Q. After the season when Andrew got his state of the union press conference, he said your job status had not even been discussed in the front office. Was that reassuring? Did you need that at all? What was your reaction?
DAVE ROBERTS: I was shocked by it as far as the thought of it.
Q. That it was a question?
DAVE ROBERTS: I wasn't relieved. It wasn't even a topic of concern for me.
Q. Where does Gavin Lux stand now on the Major League roster?
DAVE ROBERTS: Gavin is in the mix. He really came out of the gates, performed well. Then struggled a little bit, like a lot of young players do, but he really showed well. I thought he caught the ball. So right now he's in the mix, but we have a long way to go until we break camp. But to look back a year ago and to see how much he's matured, I'm very, very proud of him, and he's going to play this game at this level for a long time.
But I can't really speak to -- we've got a long time before we break camp.
Q. And do you primarily think of him as a second baseman now because of his proximity to the Majors and Corey?
DAVE ROBERTS: I'd say that's fair. I'd say that's fair. It's not crazy to think that seeing Gavin in the grass might be a possibility, but I think, when you have Corey, yeah, second base, and maybe some outfield in the future, short term.
Q. Corner outfield?
DAVE ROBERTS: I just know that we haven't put our roster together, so it's just kind of -- there's a lot of different directions we can go, and a player like Gavin -- the athleticism, the bat, all that stuff plays. So we have a lot of time to talk through that.
Q. Last year at this time, you talked about moving some of the deck chairs was a positive thing. Do you feel the same way this time around?
DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, I do. I think that you've got to shuffle the deck sometimes. Although we've had a lot of consistency, I do think there's pieces and giving guys other opportunities, I think that's a good thing for them. And I think that for us to keep things fresh is a good thing. I think that you don't ever want to get stagnant and complacent. So you want to kind of -- I think that's a good thing, and I know Andrew feels the same way.
Q. Does it feel like this off-season may be more significant doing that?
DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah. I would say as far as with my time here, I think this is probably the most turnover we'll have from one season to the next. I think that's fair.
Q. I noticed a lot of games, you guys struck out a lot. Obviously, the Nationals have elite pitching. When you look back on that, how much do you point to your guys and the at-bats they had (indiscernible) adjust? Is it roster (indiscernible) is it beating these guys' ears, saying, hey, figure something out, a different approach?
DAVE ROBERTS: It's about getting better. Like I said earlier, we've got to play better. I think that our players will say it themselves, is that the at-bats that they had need to get better, and unfortunately, we didn't do that, and the Nationals did. So we're going to continue to get better and work on it. They're very open to it. They understand it, and our coaches get it. So we've just got to get better.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports