Just two-plus seasons ago, Kirk Gibson was honored as the National League Manager of the Year.
But since accepting that award back in 2011, it’s been all downhill for the Arizona Diamondbacks skipper.
His team put together back-to-back .500 campaigns in 2012 and 2013 and has started a franchise-worst 5-18 through the first 23 contests of 2014.
While D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s Doug and Wolf last week that Gibson and general manager Kevin Towers are ‘absolutely not’ in danger of losing their respective jobs despite diminishing returns, it’s hard to believe the duo’s collective seat isn’t getting hotter as the losses mount.
Whether fairly or unfairly, managers and execs are often the first to be relieved of their duties as a result of poor on-field performance — a pattern Gibson admitted he has no issues with.
“I think anybody who manages a baseball team, if we don’t start winning games in the end I should be held accountable,” Gibson told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s Burns and Gambo Tuesday. “I have no problem with that. I should be.
“We dig every day to try and come play a better game than the night before, but it hasn’t worked up to this point. I come here prepared and determined every day.”
Although Gibson reiterated that his players are still engaged and dedicated to turning this season around despite already sporting the league’s worst record, he understands the task of doing so is a daunting one to say the least.
“It is tough,” said Gibson. “But, I’m up for the challenge. I’m not going to give in. We keep looking for ways to avoid another loss, and I mean in the last week I think our pitching has been better. Not as good as it needs to be but better. Our bullpen has been outstanding. We have not swung the bats well with any consistency where we’re able to get on a roll over the last week.
“We’re not in sync. We have to put it all together and win some ballgames.”
Turning it around might seem far-fetched considering Arizona is last in the league in ERA (5.69), fourth-worst in on-base percentage (.293) and tied for sixth-worst in errors (18), but Gibson believes at some point April showers will lead to May flowers.
When asked if his beleaguered squad would make it over .500 at some point during the season, the fifth-year manager didn’t hesitate with a quick response.