All Dave Stewart ever wanted was a chance.
Last week Ken Kendrick, Tony La Russa and the Arizona Diamondbacks granted Stewart his wish naming the baseball lifer General Manager of team which nearly lost 100 games this year.
A bold statement considering Stewart has never been a GM at any level previously but many believe he carries the “it” factor to be successful at the highest level.
“He’s somebody who has a lot of presence,” ESPN baseball insider Pedro Gomez told Sports360AZ.com in a recent phone interview. “When you look at the list of general managers the D-Backs have had that may not necessarily be the top of the list when it comes to their quality.”
Gomez believes Arizona’s new, essentially three-headed GM consisting of National Baseball Hall-of-Famer La Russa, Stewart and well-respected Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations De Jon Watson will form a dynamic trio in hopes of guiding the franchise back to respectability in the standings and among their baseball front-office peers.
Gomez can already envision Stewart helping in one much-needed area.
“Dave Stewart will probably have a role much like Nolan Ryan had with the [Texas] Rangers,” Gomez explained. “All of a sudden the Rangers’ pitching staff went from middle to lower-of-the-pack to top five because he instilled in them an intimidation factor…you’re going to pitch aggressively. You’re going to pitch ahead in the count. You’re not going to nibble. We’re going to go right at hitters.”
Ryan was credited with changing the character of the Rangers’ staff in an era which yielded a handful of playoff appearances and two trips to the World Series. Gomez believes he will infuse a much-needed “change in culture” with a group in need of an identity.
Stewart has experienced success at every stop along his baseball path whether it be as a player, coach, assistant general manager and most recently a high-profile sports agent.
The Diamondbacks’ re-modeled front office is hoping past success breeds future success.
No one will argue Stewart’s track record to this point.