Roberts, 43, served as the bench coach for the San Diego Padres the last two seasons and prior to that, he was a special assistant for San Diego's front office in 2010 and the club's first base coach from 2011-13. He filled in as manager for one game this past season, following the departure of Bud Black. Roberts, who is of African-American and Japanese descent, becomes the Dodgers' first-ever minority manager.
"It's hard for me to put into words what it means to be named manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers," said Roberts. "This is truly the opportunity of a lifetime. The Dodgers are the ground-breaking franchise of Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Sandy Koufax, Maury Wills, Fernando Valenzuela and Hideo Nomo. When I put on this uniform as a player, I understood the special responsibility to honor those that played before me as well as the amazing bond between the Dodgers and their fans. I feel that I have now come full circle in my career and there is plenty of unfinished business left in L.A."
Roberts was the starting center fielder for the Dodgers from 2002-04, hitting .262 in 302 games and stealing 118 bases in 143 attempts (82.5%). He is the fourth L.A. Dodger manager to also play for the franchise, joining Tommy Lasorda, Bill Russell and Glenn Hoffman. As a player, he is best known for his dramatic steal of second base in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS for the Red Sox against the Yankees, which ignited Boston's historic comeback from a 3-0 series deficit.
Overall, the native of Okinawa, Japan, appeared in 832 games for the Indians (1999-2001), Dodgers (2002-4), Red Sox (2004), Padres (2005-06), and Giants (2007-8), batting .266 with 243 stolen bases, including a career best 49 in 2006. Roberts grew up in the San Diego area and graduated from UCLA, where he played baseball from 1991-94 and became the Bruins' all-time stolen bases leader (109).
Roberts becomes just the 10th manager in Los Angeles Dodger history, following Hall of Famers Walter Alston (1954-76) and Tommy Lasorda (1977-96), Bill Russell (1996-98), Glenn Hoffman (1998), Davey Johnson (1999-2000), Jim Tracy (2001-05), Grady Little (2006-07), Joe Torre (2008-10) and Don Mattingly (2011-15).