The Arizona Diamondbacks may have a difficult time attracting GM candidates
One week into the demise of the Dave Stewart regime, there remains few bites out there for the general manager position of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Not that this job in the desert is considered undesirable, just the opposite may be true. Upon consideration, this is a situation which could be viewed as half-empty or half-full.
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Certainly, the revolving door syndrome by general managing partner Ken Kendrick, the club’s owner, created a negative connotation. With five GMs in the past 12 years, the track record for stability and a time window for which players to develop just is not here.
Many believe the firing of Stewart last Monday, along with field manager Chip Hale, was not in the best interest of a franchise which hoped to build for the future. If ownership was that quick with Dayton Moore, as GM of the Royals, and Dave Dombrowski when he was GM of the Tigers, those two franchises would have not likely qualified for post-season play in recent years.
While Stewart said his main task when hired after the 2014 season was to rebuild the farm system, his grade could be considered a C at best. Stewart did bring in utility player Phil Gosselin, who led the majors in pinch-hits. As well, he obtained outfielder Mitch Haniger from Milwaukee, who turned in a strong September and could be considered for a roster spot next season. Stewart also acquired infielder Jean Segura from the Brewers, who delivered the best offensive season of his six-year major league career.
At the same time, Stewart was vilified for the aggressive attempt to acquire right-hander Shelby Miller from Atlanta, and then trading Ender Inciarte, a starting outfielder, infielder Dansby Swanson, the club’s first-round selection, and first overall in the 2015 draft, along with prospect pitcher Aaron Blair for Miller.
For the season just completed, Miller was never right. He ended with a 2-11 record, spent several weeks in the minors, and did not win a game in Chase Field the entire season.
Now, it’s up to the new hires to break out the brooms and clean up the mess from an underachieving 69-93 season. That represented a regression of 10 games from the 2015 season.
Already, the reviews are in about the GM job in the desert. If initial reactions are to be believed, it’s a “thanks, but no thanks” response.
The culture Kendrick developed and the uncertainty of job security appear influential. After a short period of time, no rising executive wants to be tossed to the wolves. That’s why attractive candidates like Chaim Bloom, VP of baseball operations for the Rays, and Alex Anthopoulus, former GM of the Jays, have slammed the door in Kendrick’s face.
Conversely, if a candidate can come in and clean up the residue from the Stewart-Hale regime, begin to show progress and build the Diamondbacks into a truly competitive team, then their star will likely rise.
For now, the search continues for the important positions of GM and field manager. Until Kendrick can convince those on his radar screen that their stop in the desert is not transient, Kendrick may have a hard sell to potential candidates.