MLB: AZ Diamondbacks Make a Major Change
The Diamondbacks front office made some major news this past Saturday by hiring former MLB manager Tony La Russa as “Chief Baseball Officer”. The job description for this position is still being discussed, but he will work to help determine the future of all baseball operations within the whole Diamondbacks organization, including the minor leagues.
What this means for the immediate future of the whole Diamondbacks organization is a lingering question, but with the subpar results on the field so far this season, some kind of change was needed to bring life back into this team and improve their play, especially at home.
We all know what La Russa has meant to baseball and for three different teams. I will not list all of his accomplishments, but he won three World Series titles as a manager (1989 with the A’s and 2006 and 2011 with the Cardinals). He will be inducted into the Hall of Fame as a manager in July.
La Russa has some familiar faces to work within his new organization. Special Assistant, Roland Hemond and La Russa go back to their days with the White Sox. Hemond hired La Russa as manager. Current Diamondbacks pitching consultant, Dave Duncan, and first base coach, Dave McKay, were on La Russa’s coaching staff for a long time as well.
La Russa will only report to owner Ken Kendrick and team president Derrick Hall, giving him full authority over general manager Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson.
What this means for the team on the field will not be known for a while. It makes no sense to let Towers and Gibson go at this time. The MLB draft is coming up next month and Towers will need to be involved.
La Russa is loyal and is familiar with both Towers and Gibson and he knows both men are well liked around baseball. Both Kendrick and Hall still hold Towers in high regard, and although some question Gibson’s decision-making, Kendrick and Hall respect him as a manager.
Some believe that Towers put together a competitive club, but the players have underperformed due to Gibson’s constant changes to the batting order and indecision on when to leave/pull a pitcher. After nearly four seasons as manager, some still think Gibson makes his share of head-scratching moves.
This team was devastated this year by two season ending injuries to pitchers Patrick Corbin and David Hernandez. And it is no secret that Daniel Hudson’s back-to-back injuries have hurt this pitching staff. The loss of left fielder Mark Trumbo to a stress fracture in his right foot on April 21 has hurt the hitting as well.
“Chief Baseball Officer” is a new job for La Russa, and the Diamondbacks are the only team right now with someone with that job title. La Russa is going to implement his own ideas, that much is certain. And if you know La Russa, he pulls “no punches” on his decisions, no matter who is on his side.
Change is coming! The only question is, how soon? Maybe not any until late September or the end of the 2014 season. I will make the following statement though: do not expect La Russa to manage the team or even to become the General Manager!!
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