No weekend this baseball season ended sweeter for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Saturday the club announced National Baseball Hall-of-Fame inductee Tony LaRussa as their new Chief Baseball Officer. Sunday after honoring the 10th anniversary of Randy Johnson’s perfect game they wrapped up their first home series win of season beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-3.
Still, the reality is a double-digit deficit in the National League West after a horrendous April. The Diamondbacks have gone 14-14 over their past 28 games entering their six-game road trip which begins night.
Managing general partner Ken Kendrick and president and CEO Derrick Hall have essentially given LaRussa a key to the house, one which will likely be remodeled in the not-so-distant future. The 33-year manager said he will be evaluating how the organization is currently being run top-to-bottom before adjusting the current model.
Could it include a return to the Dbacks dugout where he won three World Series titles with the Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals?
“We said it and we mean it, he has the complete responsibility of the baseball department,” Kendrick told Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat in a phone interview Monday morning. “If he were to decide, which I think is very highly unlikely that he would that putting on the uniform is something he wanted to do, we wouldn’t stand in his way but I don’t think that’s at all in the cards.”
Kendrick said he and Hall had been open with current manager Kirk Gibson, as well as general manager Kevin Towers about bringing in someone to oversee the organization leading up to Saturday’s announcement. Kendrick explained he and Gibson spoke about how LaRussa’s experience and wisdom could make Gibby a better manager.
He was a bit more evasive when asked if the 2014 season is already lost particularly due to one glaring weakness.
“We’ve got a tough situation,” Kendrick told Cesmat. “We don’t have a solid rotation. We recognize that…having that as a very obvious circumstance there’s not a lot you can do in changing that dramatically at this point of the season.”
The Diamondbacks have five of the first 75 picks in next month’s amateur draft. Kendrick said it was important LaRussa was “engaged with that process” working with scouting director Ray Montgomery and his staff evaluating future prospects.