Arizona Diamondbacks-If Hale is Fired, Walt Weiss could be Next Skipper
By Joseph Jacquez
Since late July, the job security of manager Chip Hale of the Arizona Diamondbacks has been in question
On this past Saturday, as part of his weekly “Full Count” segment for Fox Sports, MLB insider Ken Rosenthal reported that current Rockies’ manager Walt Weiss could be a candidate for the Arizona Diamondbacks managerial job. That’s if the team decides to part ways with Chip Hale at the end of the season.
On the morning of July 22, local Reno radio personality Tim Montemayor reported that Aces’ manager Phil Nevin was expected to be the new manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Three hours later, Rosenthal confirmed these rumors.
Last Monday, Bob Nightengale of USA Today added more details to this story. He reported that Tony La Russa, the Diamondbacks Chief Baseball Officer President and General Manager Dave Stewart were ready to fire Hale, and replace him with Nevin. Ken Kendrick, the club president prevented this, and vetoed a trade of Shelby Miller to the Miami Marlins.
This led many in the baseball industry to speculate if La Russa and Stewart are being given the freedom to do their job. The thought was that Kendrick and Derrick Hall, the team’s CEO, hired La Russa and Stewart to run baseball operations, and now it appears that ownership doesn’t trust them.
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In a radio interview last Wednesday, La Russa called Nightengale’s report an exaggeration of what actually happened both on the Miller and Hale fronts. He said it is not uncommon for ownership to be involved in and make decisions regarding player transactions.
“He’s not saying don’t go to work; what he’s saying is he’s going to scrutinize, and so is Derrick (Hall),” La Russa said to Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “And that’s exactly what happens in every organization. The top, the guys in charge of running the organization, scrutinize what’s going on.”
“The stuff about Chip is just not true. We were very concerned, and I think it was a very strong message sent by Dave Stewart to Chip that, look, there’s an urgency that has to be apparent in the way we compete. You lose that, then that’s not acceptable.”
Stewart also said that the rumors about an immediate decision regarding Hale’s future were false. However, he did not deny Hale’s performance was being evaluated.
“We’re evaluating everything,” Stewart said to the Arizona Republic. “We’re evaluating even our performances, me and Tony (La Russa) – our performances have been discussed. Everything has been discussed. But you have to do that to know what’s going wrong and how you get better.
Decisions on La Russa and Stewart’s status for 2017 won’t be made until after the season. Hale’s fate will likely be decided after that.
In his first full season as skipper in 2015, Hale guided the Diamondbacks to a 79-83 record. Yet, the ball club has taken a several major steps back in 2016. The expectation was for Arizona to contend, and instead the Snakes are on pace for their fourth season of 90 plus losses since 2009.
Weiss has connections to La Russa and Stewart (assuming that they keep their jobs), so a fit would be logical in that sense.
The Rockies have complied a record of 268-346 under Weiss, who is in the last year of his contract.
Current Rockies General Manager Jeff Birdich inherited Weiss when he was hired in 2014. Colorado demonstrated improvement this season comping a 63-68 record, but Weiss has yet to guide the Rockies to a winning season or a playoff appearance and change appears imminent.
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Nobody will know what happens with Hale until the season ends, but Kendrick is not happy with his team’s performance.