On Saturday, the Arizona Diamondbacks announced that they had appointed 2014 Hall of Fame inductee Tony La Russa as Chief Baseball Officer of the organization.
“The entire organization is obviously frustrated with the results on the field and we are looking to improve,” Diamondbacks President and CEO Derrick Hall said.
“Tony brings us a wealth of knowledge, experience and success, and will work closely with Kevin and Kirk in evaluating our current state to determine the future of our baseball operations. He is excited and enthusiastic about the challenge, and we are fortunate to have this Hall of Famer on board and a part of the team.”
The Diamondbacks currently own the worst record in the National League West, having gone 16-28 through their first 44 games.
A 53-year baseball veteran, La Russa brings with him a long list of accolades, including three World Series titles, four Manager of the Year awards, six League championships and 12 division pennants.La Russa, 69, is the third winningest manager of all time, with a 2,728-2,365 career record over 33 major league seasons of managerial experience, spent with the Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals.
After retiring from management in 2011, La Russa has worked as a special assistant to MLB Commissioner Bud Selig.
With the hire, La Russa will be reunited with Dave Duncan, a former member of his coaching staff during his tenure with the A’s and Cardinals and current pitching consultant to the Diamondbacks.
La Russa also becomes the second D-backs front office member to have graduated from Tampa, Fla.’s Jefferson High School — the alma mater of Luis Gonzalez, who currently serves as a special assistant to Hall. Coincidentally, former major leaguers Tino Martinez and Fred McGriff also attended the south Florida school.
In January, La Russa was linked to vacancy in the front office of the Seattle Mariners, who were reportedly considering hiring him as club president.
A press conference is scheduled for 2 p.m. PST at Chase Field to formally introduce La Russa in his new role.
The Diamondbacks told Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports that they foresee La Russa’s role being similar to that of Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs. Currently, Dan O’ Dowd of the Colorado Rockies is the only other executive in Major League Baseball to hold the title of chief baseball officer, although most teams in the league have a president of baseball operations, or a related title, on staff.
La Russa will report directly to Hall, the Diamondbacks said.