Tony La Russa lists 5 candidates for D-backs general manager
PHOENIX — Diamondbacks chief baseball officer Tony La Russa wasted no time in putting together a list of candidates for the vacant general manager position.
— Dave Stewart, who pitched with Oakland when La Russa was the A’s manager. Stewart also has worked as a major league pitching coach and in the front office of the Toronto Blue Jays. He most recently has been a player agent. "He’s one of the first guys I thought of," La Russa.
— Gary LaRocque, who worked in the front office when La Russa managed in St. Louis. LaRocque joined the Cardinals in 2008 as a special assistant to the general manager and was named director of player development this season. La Russa said he plans to interview LaRocque in Florida on Friday, between Games 2 and 3 of the Southern League playoff series between Mobile and Jacksonville.
— Ray Montgomery, the D-backs’ scouting director. Montgomery was one of Kevin Towers’ first hires, in October of 2010, and he took on added responsibilities as the season went on this year.
— Hal Morris, a former Cincinnati first baseman who is the director of pro scouting with the Los Angeles Angels under former D-backs interim general manager Jerry Dipoto. Morris is out of the country, La Russa said, and an interview has not been arranged.
— Billy Eppler, an assistant general manager with the New York Yankees. Eppler was one of four finalists for the San Diego general manager position that was recently filled by A.J. Preller. Eppler previously served as the Yankees’ director of pro scouting.
President and CEO Derrick Hall said the team hoped to have Towers’ replacement in place by the end of the season (Sept. 28).
The D-backs spent Friday making calls to general managers seeking permission to speak to potential candidates. Since Stewart is not in baseball, the D-backs can interview him any time.
La Russa emphasized that he believes pro scouting should be an integral part of the restructured baseball operations department, a role he envisions Towers filling if he decides to say.
La Russa also said he wants to increase awareness of the value of analytics and metrics while at the same giving the manager, coaches and the players room to operate on what they see during a game. The new general could have an advanced knowledge of analytics, La Russa said, or that part of the job could be filled by a numbers man with expertise in that area.