Torey Lovullo is set to become the next manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks
The accolades have started for Torey Lovullo, reportedly hired by the Arizona Diamondbacks as their next field manager. When officially appointed, Lovullo would be the ninth manager in franchise history and the third in the past four years.
All the right things have been tweeted out, and the consensus is that Mike Hazen, the team’s new GM, and Lovullo, who worked together since their days with the Indians, should be a wonderful team. While waiting the official word from the Diamondbacks on Lovullo’s hiring, a few interesting scenarios develop.
Several reports had Lovullo competing with Phil Nevin, manager of the Diamondbacks’ Triple-A Reno Aces, for the Arizona job. Insiders point to Tony La Russa, still with the title of the Diamondbacks’ Chief Baseball Officer, pushing hard for Nevin, and losing out. Given the close association between Lovullo and Hazen, first in Cleveland and then in Boston, no other candidate was thought to have a serious chance. The fact that Hazen brought in Lovullo, no surprise here, meant that La Russa’s influence and input to essential baseball decisions are not non-existent.
All indications point to Lovullo as a solid baseball man, and this opportunity was long coming.
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Perhaps first and foremost to consider will be Lovullo’s communications skills. Friction developed between members of the starting rotation and previous manager Chip Hale, and Hale was known to have a short leash on his pitchers. Hale was also guilty of trying to give quality at-bats to several players seemingly at the same time. The challenge ahead for Lovullo could be to anoint eighth starters by opening day and stick with those players. Allow the batting order to settle and players to feel comfortable in their roles.
For the most part, that did not happen under Hale.
Then, there is the consideration of moving over to the National League. If pressed, most managers confess their desire to command a National League game with greater strategy options and the double-switch capability. Lovullo has no experience coaching in a National League organization, and coming over from the AL should be, at least in the beginning, a period of adjustment.
All of this seems moot for the moment. Once the “i’s” are dotted and the “t’s” crossed, then Lovullo steps into the spotlight and unveils his approach to improve the Diamondbacks’ fortunes on the baseball diamond.