5:05 pm: General manager Mike Hazen reiterated the organization’s faith in Lovullo, telling Bob Nightengale of USA Today (Twitter link) he “still (feels) like Torey is the right person to lead these guys and to right this ship and get us back to where we need to go.”
4:13 pm: The Diamondbacks announced this afternoon they’ve parted ways with hitting coach Darnell Coles and assistant hitting coach Eric Hinske. To replace them, the club has promoted Rick Short, who had been hitting coach with their Triple-A affiliate in Reno, and run production coordinator Drew Hedman. Short and Hedman will serve as co-hitting coaches.
Coles and Hinske were both hired during the 2018-19 offseason. In each of the two-plus seasons since, the D-Backs have run out a below-average offense. Obviously, it’s difficult to tell what extent the blame for that should fall on the coaching staff versus the players, but the organization evidently decided it was time to bring in a pair of new voices.
Given how disastrous this season has been, it’s not hard to see why the club is shaking things up. The Diamondbacks have the league’s worst record at 20-43, and they’re currently amidst a nineteen-game road losing streak, a mark that’s three games shy of an all-time record. The lineup isn’t the only reason for that level of futility, but it hasn’t been a strength either. Diamondbacks hitters have a cumulative .238/.312/.394 slash line, excluding pitchers. The resulting 94 wRC+ places them just twenty-second among the league’s thirty clubs in park-adjusted offense.
Short, who appeared in eleven MLB games as a player with the 2005 Nationals, has spent the past decade in the Arizona organization as a scout and minor league coach. Hedman, who had previously coached at the amateur level, was hired by the D-Backs as a scout in 2018. He was promoted to run production coordinator the following year. David Laurila of FanGraphs examined Hedman’s rapid rise last April.
The firing of Coles and Hinske will only heighten speculation about the future of manager Torey Lovullo. The fifth-year skipper is in the final year of his current contract, and the team’s dreadful performance over the past two seasons has led some fans to suggest Lovullo’s job might be in jeopardy. The front office has continued to stick by him, with CEO Derrick Hall telling reporters last month Lovullo was “not the problem” with the organization (via Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic). The team’s tailspin has only intensified since then, however.