Written by Nick Piecoro at AZCentral
The Diamondbacks, fresh off perhaps the most disappointing season in club history, cleaned house on Monday, firing General Manager Dave Stewart and manager Chip Hale and seemingly doing the same with Tony La Russa, who could remain with the organization but will not wield the clout he had in recent years as chief baseball officer.
The moves are the latest for an organization that recently has had a sort of revolving door in leadership positions, cycling through three front-office regimes and three managers in the past six years. The changes come a day after a 69-93 finish that landed the club in fourth place in the National League West, a far cry from where expectations were entering the season.
“We looked at this in terms of trend, and we did not see the trend line at the present moving in the right direction,” Diamondbacks Managing General Partner Ken Kendrick said at a news conference Monday afternoon.
“The most easy and direct measuring stick was number of wins vs. losses. And clearly we were going in the wrong direction. I think you have to look beyond that and look at where do we see, under the present regime, where do we see the next year or years going, and we weren’t comfortable that we saw them going in a right direction.”
The moves bring an end to a regime that for the past two-plus years was viewed with curiosity by the rest of baseball. While the majority of rival clubs are moving more toward analytics, the Diamondbacks planted their flag as an old-school group, doing so with a team of executives that possessed relatively little experience in the positions they were hired to fill.
La Russa, a Hall of Fame manager, had never worked in a front office before the Diamondbacks put him atop their baseball operations department in May 2014. Four months later, the club hired Stewart, who hadn’t worked as an executive for 13 years.
Neither Kendrick nor CEO Derrick Hall pointed specifically to La Russa or Stewart’s backgrounds or supposed philosophical shortcomings as reasons for the changes or the team’s struggles, but they did say the organization will seek more experienced candidates and put an increased focus on analytics.
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