The remodel still isn’t complete but the blueprint is certainly taking shape.
The task of Tony La Russa and Dave Stewart in rebuilding the Arizona Diamondbacks was never expected to happen in a year but both front office executives continue to make strides in turning around a franchise which bottomed out last summer.
“I would say it has actually been very, very positive,” ESPN baseball analyst Pedro Gomez said of the D-backs national perception this season in his weekly interview with Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat. “One of the things is…today, the Diamondbacks are so much more athletic than they were a year ago or two years ago. It’s something that Tony La Russa and Dave Stewart are emphasizing.”
The stats speak for themselves as Arizona is near the top in all of baseball in triples and stolen bases. Many of these improvements were mirrored when La Russa managed the St. Louis Cardinals to two World Series Championships.
First-year manager Chip Hale also deserves credit for infusing a tireless work ethic and passion towards the day-in, day-out grind of the six-month regular season working with a mostly young and in some areas inexperienced group.
“It’s a very competitive team,” Gomez explained. “Talked to front office people across the country and they like the direction the Diamondbacks are moving in…part of the whole plan here is to emphasize pitching and defense and the offense will kind of take care of itself.”
To this point it has in all three facets as the D-backs are in the top 10 in baseball in hitting, fielding and pitching heading into Wednesday’s game against the Nationals. Quite a reversal from nearly a year ago when Arizona was lambasted for their lack of direction under the previous regime before the front-office shakeup took place.
The D-backs are likely to miss the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season but there is a clear vision and game plan in place under La Russa, Stewart, Hale, De Jon Watson and others.
What a difference a year makes.