The season is over for the Arizona Diamondbacks, but there is still a long list of things to accomplish before they are ready for 2015.
The top priority in Arizona: Find a new manager.
The Diamondbacks fired manager Kirk Gibson on Friday after five seasons in Arizona and a 63-96 record with the team in 2014.
Diamondbacks President and CEO Derrick Hall was a guest with Doug & Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 Thursday morning, and he said that the team is deep in the midst of interviews and meetings to find the club’s new manager.
“I think we’ve already done about four interviews and we’ve got a couple more today,” said Hall. “Very good names. A lot of vast experience, some in the minors, some have major league experience, but we are confident that we are going to hire a very good manager. The thought here is to have a manager in place for many years to come.”
Hall and Chief Baseball Officer Tony La Russa are the men in charge of finding the manager, but apparently this decision is being made with many different inputs from throughout the front office.
The Diamondbacks’ President said that the likes of General Manager Dave Stewart, Senior Vice President De Jon Watson, and special assistants Dave Duncan and Luis Gonzalez have been in the interviews with Hall and La Russa.
“We would prefer to have more people involved because you want to hear what they think,” said Hall. “You want to hear their reaction after the interviews and it’s been helpful to see if we are all on the same page.”
The Diamondbacks front office recently made news when they fired Gibson and bench coach Alan Trammell with three games left in the season, rather than waiting until the season had ended on Monday.
“We were going to wait, but we made that decision, I think on Thursday night, and [Gibson] had asked Tony [La Russa], ‘Please do me a favor, when you know what the answer is, tell me first,'” Hall said. “Plus, we were about to go into a news conference that afternoon to anounce De Jon [Watson] and Dave [Stewart], and we were going to be asked the question, and we didn’t want to look disingenuous or insincere and say ‘I don’t know. We are still deciding.’ That wasn’t true.”
Hall added that they told Gibson about their decision to fire him, and Gibson declined when asked if he wanted to finish out the season.
With Gibson gone, the Diamondbacks still needed somebody to manage the last three games against the St. Louis Cardinals. Despite already being fired as bench coach, Trammell agreed to act as interim manager for the final series.
“Hat goes off to both, but especially to [Trammell] for the professionalism he displayed in his post-game press conferences saying ‘This was a big win for us tonight’ and saying ‘We needed this and I’m proud of the guys,'” said Hall, referring to Trammell’s press conference after the Diamondbacks’ 5-2 win on Saturday.
“I love Alan Trammell. There is nobody nicer in the game than [Trammell]. He belongs in the Hall of Fame in my opinion and he’s going to go help a ballclub very shortly,” said Hall.
With a new general manager already in place, and the team searching for the new manager, the Diamondbacks are still trying to figure out what to do with Kevin Towers, who was fired as GM in early September.
“That’s still being determined,” said Hall. “He’s been involved in those meetings as well. He knows a lot of these guys too. A lot of them are from within our system and we are trying to determine whether it’s going to be a fit, whether he stays or not, and we are still not there.”