Arizona Diamondbacks – General Manager Candidates Emerge
By Joseph Jacquez
The Arizona Diamondbacks continue their quest for a general manager
Decision-makers for the Arizona Diamondbacks intend their search for a new general manager to be low-key. As the case with these types of hirings, team officials will not comment on progress or lack thereof.
In the contemporary era, rarely do things stay private. Twitter and other social media platforms tend to make every fan an “insider.”
This past Thursday, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe listed five names that could be considered as GM candidates for the Diamondbacks.
Of these names, two are in-house and a third has familiar ties. Minniti severed under former GM Dave Stewart as an assistant and Bell is the current Director of Player Development. Montgomery, former director of scouting for the Diamondbacks, was promoted and named vice president of scouting for the Milwaukee Brewers on Sept. 28.
During last Monday’s news conference, club president Derrick Hall indicated that analytics will be an important variable in selection of the new GM.
"“There’re some really good candidates out there, and we’ll hire the best one out of those available,” Hall said. “But somebody that has significant experience and obviously when it comes to player evaluation and analytics, a combination of all.”"
Going forward, the Diamondbacks want to strike a balance with on-field baseball experience and scouting and crunching numbers. The end result would be something like the “Moneyball” approach.
As Hall pointed out, there are a plethora of qualified candidates. In all decisions of this nature, the interview process should produce the right fit. Not always the case. Because Stewart lasted only two years, some in the game believe this was much too short a window of opportunity.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the team conducted their annual off-season organizational meetings. The baseball operations staff and scouts discussed what went right and what went wrong in 2016.
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Bryan Minniti, the current assistant general manager, is in his second season with the Diamondbacks.
Prior to joining the Diamondbacks, Minniti spent five seasons in the same role with the Washington Nationals.
Minniti helped the Nationals overhaul their analytics department.
Mike Bell joined the Diamondbacks in 2007 as a coach for the Yakima Bears, the short-season minor league affiliate from 2001-2012. In 2008-09, he managed the Visalia Rawhide. He currently serves as director of player development.
Montgomery knows the organization well. He served as the Diamondbacks scouting director for four years (2010-2013).
During his time with Arizona, Montgomery drafted starter Braden Shipley, third basemen Jake Lamb and reliever Jake Barrett.
Peter Woodfork, the current MLB senior vice president of baseball operations, served five years in the Diamondbacks front office as senior vice president of baseball operations (2006-2010). He managed the 40-man roster and had input into contract negotiations, scouting and minor league player development.
In 2005, Kim Ng interviewed for the Los Angeles Dodgers GM job, but the organization chose Ned Colletti. In the past, the Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels and San Diego Padres all considered Ng. When Hall was the Dodgers, he worked with Ng and said, at last Monday’s news conference, she would be an ideal candidate. Currently, Ng serves as an MLB senior vice president of baseball operations.
On Thursday J.P. Hoornstra, of Inside the Dodgers reported that Colletti is also under consideration.
From November 2005 through October 2014, Colletti served as the Dodgers General Manager. Currently, the 62-year-old serves as a special advisor to President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman. During his tenure as the Dodgers GM, Colletti did not emphasize advanced metrics.
There are several viable candidates on the Diamondbacks’ radar screen. In order to restore faith in the organization, the Diamondbacks need to make a quality hire.
Former Boston Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington could fit that description. As the current vice president of baseball operations for the Toronto Blue Jays, Cherington helped guide the Red Sox to a World Series championship in 2014. During his tenure, Boston heavily emphasized advanced stats. Based on what the Diamondbacks search criteria, his resume fits.
The Diamondbacks could also consider the following, including St. Louis Cardinals executive Michael Girsch, Tampa Bay Rays executive Chaim Bloom, Chicago Cubs executive Randy Bush and Rangers Assistant General Manager Thad Levine.
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Cherington would seem to be an ideal fit. He is a great combination of experience, scouting, and analytics. Best of all, he is a winner.