Arizona Diamondbacks – candidates mull over attractiveness of manager’s job
By Mark Brown
The manager’s job for the Arizona Diamondbacks could come down to practicality
Some like to refer as the spin cycle, but for Mike Hazen, the new general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, this could look like a case of recycling old friends.
Several names are rumored to be the next manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and they appear to jump right out of Hazen’s little black book.
Recycled? Perhaps. How about Hazen’s ability to network? Probably a better answer.
The one with the highest graded on the rumor poll is Torey Lovullo, the current Red Sox bench coach and close confidant of Hazen. Another ally mentioned is Alex Cora, who spent 14 years as a utility infielder for six teams, including four seasons with the Red Sox.
Also mentioned is Phil Nevin, the manager at the Diamondbacks’ Triple-A Reno club and Dan Wakamatsu, bench coach at Kansas City and former skipper of the Seattle Mariners. Hired in 2009, Wakamatsu guided the M’s to an 85-77 mark his first year, but then fired in August, 2010 after Seattle went 42-70.
With a given track record in the Arizona organization, Nevin, who just completed his fourth season leading the Aces, would appear to have the best knowledge of current Diamondbacks players. Then again, this process appears to be a syndrome of not what you know, but whom.
At his point, Lovullo is said to have the inside track, but Cora, who also played baseball at the University of Miami, could be a better fit.
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A native of Caguas, Puerto Rico, Cora would have a direct hand in the essential communication with players like Rubby De La Rosa and Yasmany Tomas. Though the Diamondbacks job would be his first positon as manager at any level, Cora represents the element of change perhaps needed to stimulate players. From an administrative vantage, Cora is the general manager of the Puerto Rico national baseball team, and that contingent is preparing to participate in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
Aside from names, the larger issue in attracting candidates is the viability of the Arizona job. As candidates prepare to parade past Hazen, a major question they could ask, how attractive is the Arizona job?
For Nevin, this may be a step forward deeper into the organization. For Cora and Lovullo, this could be an opening leading to additional opportunities. For Wakamatsu, this could be just another shot at a manager’s job in the major leagues.
For a franchise not used to winning on a consistent basis, the challenge to remake the Diamondbacks in their own image could be formidable. Clearly, no one likes to lose, but the recent track record is far less than attractive.
Perhaps the catalyst to take this position is to try and survive the machete of Ken Kendrick, the Diamondbacks general managing partner. With the new manager about to be hired, that represents three skippers since the 2014 season, and two general managers in the past three years.
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In the true sense of rebuilding, patience is the key. While Cora and Lovullo would like to build a major league based on their style, the question remains whether Kendrick will have the patience to see what could happen over the next three to five period with Hazen and the new manager both in place for this time period.