In a not so surprising series of moves, the Arizona Diamondbacks have fired General Manager Dave Stewart and manager Chip Hale, the team announced on Monday. In addition to the firings, the team has also announced that Chief Baseball Officer Tony La Russa has been removed from that job position, but remains with the organization.
The firings come less than 24 hours after the Diamondbacks wrapped up their final game of 2016 in what has been one of the most disappointing seasons in team history.
The firings should come as no surprise. After a promising 2015 season, the Diamondbacks went all in during the last offseason and paid a heavy price to do so in terms of money and players. The steep price tags on Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller appeared to be the price paid in order to contend and compliment a solid young core.
Unfortunately for Arizona, things didn’t work out so great. The only thing Arizona was in contention for, was last place in the National League West as they finished 69-93. Just one game ahead of the dead last San Diego Padres.
Naturally, as the on field product struggled, the attendance dropped. The lowest attendance for a single game record was set in July at 14,110. The overall season attendance came in at 2,036,216. This is the lowest in the team’s 19-year history.
After paying such a price to contend, the on field results and the off field repercussions were unacceptable and it was time (again) to make some changes.
The team has not released any names as to who they will look into for filling the now vacant positions. They did however say that the next GM will be the one to pick out a new manager for the ball club.
Although La Russa remains with the team, that may not be the case for much longer. It was reported on Monday that La Russa met with owner Ken Kendrick to discuss his future with the organization. He will no longer be in charge of baseball operations and that the next GM will take up that responsibility.
La Russa has previously stated that if Stewart was fired, he couldn’t see himself staying with the team. It remains to be seen if he is going to stick to those words. La Russa will not be the next manager, and if his role is no longer in the front office, it’s hard to imagine that he’ll be sticking around.
It’s only one day into the offseason and there are sure to be more changes coming to the organization.