The Diamondbacks announced that they have exercised a club option for the 2023 season for manager Torey Lovullo. He will return for a seventh season as Arizona’s manager.
Signed prior to the 2017 season, Lovullo’s first year as bench boss in Arizona was a rousing success. The club went 93-69, defeating the Rockies in the National League Wild Card game, before falling to the Dodgers in the NLDS. That was the club’s first season finishing above the .500 mark since 2011. For that performance, Lovullo was awarded the Manager of the Year for the National League.
The sailing hasn’t been as smooth since, with the club slipping to 82-80 and 85-77 in the next two seasons. The pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign didn’t go very well, with the D-Backs going 25-35 in that small sample. Last year, however, just about everything went wrong and club fell to a dismal 52-110 record.
Despite that awful season, the club evidently didn’t believe Lovullo was to blame. They agreed to an extension with him in September of that year, just as his contract was about to expire. It wasn’t a tremendous show of faith, as it only covered the 2022 season with an option for 2023. However, 2022 has evidently gone well enough that the club will keep him around for at least one more campaign. Arizona’s 60-67 mark here in 2022 obviously isn’t amazing, but it’s still a huge turnaround compared to last year’s nightmare. There’s still over a month remaining on the schedule and they’ve already surpassed last year’s win total.
Although the club still believes enough in Lovullo to keep him around, it’s noteworthy that they merely picked up this option as opposed to announcing an extension. Most baseball teams generally prefer to not have a manager in “lame-duck” status, wherein they are in the final year of a contract with nothing in place for the future. There would still be time to come to another agreement about his contract in the offseason, though he is only in place through 2023 for now.
Next year, the club will surely be hoping to take yet another step forward after the improved results of this season. Arizona has debuted a handful of intriguing rookies this year, including Alek Thomas, Stone Garrett, Tommy Henry and Corbin Carroll, with Carroll being considered by some to be the best prospect in all of baseball. That bubbling up of young talent has an air of optimism floating around the club, despite lackluster results at the big league level recently. Those youngsters will join key team members like Christian Walker, Daulton Varsho, Ketel Marte, Josh Rojas, Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly and Madison Bumgarner. The Arizona brass will be hopeful that Lovullo can steer that crew back into contention for the first time in years.
Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic tweeted the news before the official announcement.