The Diamondbacks continued a massive organizational overhaul today, firing GM Dave Stewart and manager Chip Hale after previously parting ways with VP DeJon Watson. Chief Baseball Officer Tony La Russa remains with the team at this point, but as MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert reports, he’ll no longer run the team’s baseball operations department.
A new decisionmaker — whether a president of baseball operations, general manager, or both — will take over the reins in molding the team’s roster. At this point, it’s not known when or how the organization will go about filling the void, but president and CEO Derrick Hall says that the new hire will be expected to put greater emphasis on analytics.
Statistical analysis was one of several areas that observers have cited in criticizing the most recent iteration of the D-Backs’ oft-changing front office mix. La Russa was brought on as CBO in hopes that he’d oversee a successful organizational decisionmaking structure, but things haven’t turned out as hoped (as detailed in the post on the firing of Stewart and Hale). In the statistical arena, La Russa has been openly skeptical of the role of analytics, and raised many eyebrows with his hiring of long-time acquaintance — and first-time baseball front office man– Ed Lewis as director of baseball analytics and research.
Arizona’s top brass — Hall, who just inked an eight-year extension, and managing general partner Ken Kendrick — claimed a share of the responsibility for the failings. But they suggested that it was necessary “to turn the page and hit reset and see if we can’t get going in the right direction,” as Hall put it, by starting fresh with a new GM and manager. Per Kendrick, the organization “did not see the trend line at present moving in the right direction.”
Whether La Russa will be a part of the reshaped front office is an open question that was apparently not fully resolved in a lengthy meeting this morning (as Jon Heyman of Fan Rag notes on Twitter). Talks will continue as to what, if any, role may make sense for the Hall of Fame manager, whose foray into the D-Backs’ front office was his first in that capacity.