Amiel Sawdaye joined the Arizona Diamondbacks as assistant general manager
The style of play displayed by the Arizona Diamondbacks, under previous manager Chip Hale, was clear.
Hale’s approach was aggressive on the bases, but regarding pitchers, conservative and resigned. During his tenure, this dichotomy clashed and the Diamondbacks, from an offensive standpoint, represented a potent team. Conversely, Hale’s short hook, especially with starters, and his penchant for relievers assuming a role in which several could be called upon to pitch to one or two hitters, seem to choke any momentum the offense might generate.
Now with a new management team in place, the direction of the Diamondbacks, going forward, remains to be determined. After upper management introduced Amiel Sawdaye, 39-years-old, as the club’s new assistant general manager Wednesday morning, the immediate task is evident.
Search for a new field manager is the highest priority, and general manager Mike Hazen pointed out there are between five and seven candidates currently on his radar screen. Once the manager is in place, then the team’s identify can be forged.
“The style and how we play will be determined,” Hazen said Wednesday morning in a conference call with reporters. “We’ve had discussions on style and that will be important going forward. There are several core beliefs which are part of winning.”
While offense tends to general headlines, it’s defense and pitching which represent prime reasons why teams succeed. From an offensive standpoint, the Diamondbacks finished third in batting average, sixth in runs scored, second in hits, sixth in home runs, fifth in RBIs and topped the league in triples this past season.
From a pitching standpoint, Hazen said this dimension of the game requires immediate attention. The Diamondbacks finished last in the National League with an ERA (5.09) and just ahead of the Cincinnati Reds (4.91). Defensively, the Diamondbacks placed seventh in fielding percentage and four in recording double plays.
For this team to rise within the National League West Division standings, these categories need to improve, and Sawdaye, coming over from the Red Sox as assistant GM, sees a bright future.
“I had a previous relationship with Mike, which was most amicable,” Sawdaye said in the same conference call Wednesday morning. “There are great players on this roster, and it’s an exciting time to be in the desert.”
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While Sawdaye was brought in board, the future of Bryan Minniti, the team’s assistant general manager, is to be determined. Hired before the 2015 season, Minniti was thought to be part of the Dave Stewart-Chip Hale regime, which ended earlier this month. Now a few weeks removed, Hazen did not speculate on Minniti’s future.
“We’re in the process of adding several good people, and this is a changing process,” Hazen said. “Each one here has full value to the organization.”
Not a ringing endorsement, but if Minniti held the position of assistant general manager under Stewart, that’s the same title Hazen now gave to Sawdaye.
Aside from the immediate task of naming a new field manager, Hazen now an opportunity to rub elbows with his peers. That’s because the general manager’s meeting is coming up in less than two weeks. Slated for Nov. 7-9 in Scottsdale, Hazen could be in a position to identify the first moves of his regime.