The Arizona Diamondbacks are bringing back their coaching staff intact for the 2021 season, per Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.
After remaining surprisingly competitive throughout the 2019 season, the Diamondbacks entered 2020 as a dark horse contender in the National League. The season went about as poorly as possible for Arizona, who finished 25-35, last place in the NL West. They ended with the second-worst record in the National League, better only than the 19-41 Pirates. Still, manager Torey Lovullo and those in the organization are not letting themselves be swayed by the bizarre circumstances of a 60-game season. It would not be uncommon, of course, for a team in their situation to make some changes on the coaching staff, even if ownership were intent on retaining the manager. Credit the Diamondbacks for their show of faith in this group. Arizona’s coaching staff will now get at least another season to prove the anomalous nature of their 60-game stretch in 2020.
The starting pitching presented particularly poorly over the first half as Robbie Ray, Madison Bumgarner, and Luke Weaver each got off to poor starts. Their struggles were untenable over a full campaign, and positive regression was sure to come had it been a normal season. Of course, how much of a return-to-form to expect is difficult to gauge. Bumgarner, for example, entered the 2020 campaign without ever yielding an ERA or FIP over 3.99. The 31-year-old free agent prize nevertheless posted a 8.53 ERA over his first 7 starts while opposing hitters slashed .319/.392/.689.
A pair of spotless 5-inning outings to finish the year somewhat salvaged his campaign, though Bumgarner still finished with a highly uncharacteristic 6.48 ERA/7.18 FIP. Though his final two outings didn’t accomplish much in terms of lessening the eyesore of his 2020 season, they did lend some credence to the idea that significant positive regression was in the offing has the season continued to its usual length.
Regarding the true talent level for this group, Piecoro provides a quote from General Manager Mike Hazen, who said, “My mindset going (into the offseason) is I feel like we have a good baseball team. I feel like we have a good baseball team that did not — and as a group, for whatever reason — we didn’t come out on the end of making the playoffs. That still doesn’t take away from what I feel like is the talent base of the roster and we need to make sure we maintain some focus on that and not overreact in the other direction.”