Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick is expected to meet with chief baseball officer Tony La Russa on Monday, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports. A decision about the future of La Russa and GM Dave Stewart could potentially be made at the meeting itself, though if not, a final call should be coming relatively soon. Team president Derrick Hall confirmed to Heyman that a Kendrick/La Russa meeting was probably happening Monday, though he didn’t note if he or Stewart would also attend.
For Stewart’s part, the general manager told reporters (including Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic) on Sunday morning that he hadn’t been told by club management about when to expect a decision on his future. In a text to Piecoro, Hall said that there would be a sitdown meeting with La Russa and Stewart before any final decision was made, which could represent Monday’s get-together.
The club parted ways with senior VP De Jon Watson a couple of weeks ago, and as Piecoro writes, “many around the game” feel the D’Backs will make changes simply due to the fact that this evaluation of their top baseball execs has gone on for over a month. Stewart’s contract included a 2017 option that was supposed to be exercised by the end of August, though D’Backs upper management held off until the end of the season.
In a radio interview on Sunday, Hall acknowledged that something had to give. “We can’t drag this on….We’ve got to improve this ballclub, and we have to have a plan going into the offseason,” Hall said. “So we’ll make a decision quickly. It’s awkward for these guys to sit around and wait. It’s not good for anyone.”
Despite the high-profile offseason additions of Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller, the Diamondbacks finished the season with a 69-93 record, the seventh-worst mark in baseball. Subpar years from both pitchers, especially Miller, certainly played a part, as did a lack of help from the rotation as a whole, a very shaky bullpen and A.J. Pollock spending almost all of the season on the DL. Combined with pre-existing criticisms about how La Russa and Stewart have handled the team’s prospects and international signings, there is indeed a case for the D’Backs to make a change. On the flip side, as Stewart notes to Piecoro, the management team has only been in place for two years, so they could deserve more time to see things through.