MLB: Off-Season for the AZ Diamondbacks
The Arizona Diamondbacks will go into next season with a “lame-duck” Manager. Kirk Gibson recently had his contract options for the 2015 and 2016 seasons declined by the Diamondbacks, meaning that next year will be his final guaranteed season under his current contract. It is possible they will wait until we are a few months into the 2014 baseball season before deciding Gibson’s fate, which could mean a contract extension or possibly letting him go during the season, depending on how the team is playing. We do know no one wants another average team or average season. This team has too much talent for that.
We know Gibson likes the people he works for (Kevin Towers, Ken Kendrick and Derrick Hall) and believes the team’s outlook for next season is promising. His goals for this club haven’t changed. While that may be reassuring for the Diamondbacks fans, it is basically the same speech we heard last year.
This winter will be an interesting one for Gibson as he attempts to build a new coaching staff. Pitching Coach Charles Nagy and first-base coach Steve Sax were let go shortly after the regular season ended, and hitting Coach Don Baylor left last month to join the Angels organization. Matt Williams took the Washington Nationals job and it is possible he will take with him assistant hitting Coach Turner Ward and/or bullpen Coach Glenn Sherlock.
The Diamondbacks’ upper management along with Kevin Towers says the team will need a power hitter, a possible starting pitcher and few relief pitchers going into Spring Training; but the most important off-season task for Gibson is putting together a coaching staff that will be familiar with Gibson’s managing style. He needs to hire a pitching coach that can work with a pitching staff that still needs some MLB “seasoning” and who will not be afraid to go out to the mound and let a pitcher know what the situation is. That is something Charles Nagy did not do. Gibson will need a hitting coach (or coaches) who will get this team back to situational hitting and scoring runs. Also the hitting coach (es) needs to get the hitters to cut down on their strikeouts and most importantly avoid hitting into double plays with runners in scoring position.
The Diamondbacks are 290-279 overall in Gibson’s three-plus years at the helm. The club took home the NL West title in 2011, Gibson’s first full year, but has followed that with back-to-back 81-81 seasons and we all know everyone is tired of average baseball in Arizona.
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