Despite not always seeing the front office in action on a daily basis, Diamondbacks players praised the hiring of Tony La Russa as the franchise’s first ever Chief Baseball Officer. La Russa was hired yesterday by Owner Ken Kendrick and President Derrick Hall to oversee the whole entire baseball operations department from the team on the field, to the minor league system. He will be the new boss of G.M Kevin Towers, and will make evaluations of both Towers and Manager Kirk Gibson. This is a great hire for the organziation, as they are bringing in one of the best baseball minds and the players couldn’t agree more. Here are some quotes from the players talking about La Russa yesterday with MLB.com:
Brandon McCarthy: “The more smart people you can bring into an organization, the better,” pitcher Brandon McCarthysaid. “But I don’t know how far that extends in the clubhouse. It’s not a day-to-day coaching job. It’s not a managerial job. It’s more on top. It’s something you don’t see very often.”
Bronson Arroyo: “He’s obviously been a guy who … thought outside the box a bit,” Arroyo said. “[He] found ways to be very inventive and found ways to win ballgames.”
Eric Chavez: “We just got to concentrate on playing better baseball,” infielder Chavez said. “Whatever moves are made, not to let it affect you too much. We’ve got a job to do. We got to play baseball, we got to play better, and let them deal with what they have to.
La Russa has a long track record of success and his knowledge is somehing that any organiztation would want. Even Kevin Towers who with the move might be out of a job praised the move: “To me, to be able to bring on a good baseball mind, you can’t have enough good baseball people in your front office,” Towers said. “I know that he loves to compete and he loves to win. That’s what this is all about. It certainly will be good for Gibby and I and the organization. We’re a better organization today than we were yesterday by having his presence here and being a Diamondback. I approach my job like I do each and every day until they tell me that I’m no longer here.”
Even Dodger Manager Don Mattingly and hitting coach Mark McGwire praised the move. Mattingly talked about how good of a baseball guy he is: “Tony is a good man, a good baseball guy. If you are Arizona, you would be excited that Tony La Russa is part of the baseball operations,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “You saw what he did with the White Sox, what he did in Oakland, what he did in St. Louis. I don’t know if he is going to end up on the field. It doesn’t sound like that. I think you know the way Tony goes about his business and his knowledge of the game and the way he thinks it is supposed to be played, things like that, you feel like it’s going to be a good sign.”
McGwire who had La Russa as a manager with the Cardinals also liked the move: “I just know how good he was as a manager. Obviously it’s like anything else, you’ve got to give it time,” McGwire said. “I’m really happy for him. It will be the first time I’m competing against him. They’ve got a good one.”
There is no doubt that the hiring of La Russa will make a huge impact on this team both in the short and long term. This organization is in a better place with the future hall of famer on board.