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D-backs manager Torey Lovullo on ‘brutal’ decision to DFA Zack Godley

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 6: Manager Torey Lovlluo #17 of the Arizona Diamondbacks gives encouraging words to Zack Godley #52 during game one of the National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on October 6, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sarah Sachs/Arizona Diamondbacks/Getty Images)

With the Arizona Diamondbacks’ clubhouse open to the media after a 7-5 win over the Washington Nationals on Sunday, there was a noticeable change in tone as a few players were interviewed postgame.

It became more apparent what was going on when starting pitcher Zack Godley had what looked like very serious conversations with a few teammates and was seen boxing up what was in his locker.

Later in the day it was revealed those were Godley’s goodbyes to his now former teammates, as he was designated for assignment.

That followed up what manager Torey Lovullo described as a type of conversation he’s “never really experienced before” when letting Godley know.

“We kind of laid our hearts on the table and spoke about the good times,” the manager told 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Burns & Gambo Tuesday.

Godley has been one of the most beloved members of the D-backs since 2015 and the 29-year-old has spent his entire major league career with Arizona.

From a callup in Triple-A Reno used as a spot starter to carving out a legitimate role for two seasons, Godley was an important piece for Lovullo on the field as well.

“It was brutal,” Lovullo said of letting Godley go. “I’m not gonna try and sugarcoat it. He saved us in ’17 when our backs were up against the wall in a lot of situations with some injured pitchers.

“Last year he won a number of games. It wasn’t a pristine and perfect year but he took the baseball every fifth day and was one of our main guys we could count on. And now you gotta tell him that you’re going to be DFA’ing him and taking him off the major league roster … not easy.”

Given the expectations for Godley as a back-end of the rotation piece, he surprised everyone in 2017 with a 3.37 ERA in 155 innings. He’s an easy piece to forget that was crucial in a 93-win season.

While 2018 produced some less than stellar numbers at a 4.74 ERA, as Lovullo noted, Godley was a name they could rely on.

But his struggles grew in 2019 and he was transitioned into a bullpen role as other names like Taylor Clarke, Jon Duplantier and Alex Young got a crack at the fifth rotation spot.

With how Clarke and Young have pitched, as well as the additions of Mike Leake, Zac Gallen and potential returns of Taijuan Walker and Luke Weaver from injury, Lovullo said it came down to Arizona not forecasting a situation where Godley could get an opportunity.

“Part one is the stuff,” Lovullo said of what happened in Godley’s drop-off. “The final piece of the puzzle was probably a little bit of (a) loss of confidence.

“As we know in life and especially in sports, when you don’t have a lot of confidence in something that you’re doing and somebody is across the hall waiting to attack you, you gotta be able to stand up and fight your best fight. I don’t think Zack had the capabilities of doing that because the fundamentals had left him and weren’t as pristine and perfect as possible and then he lost his confidence which didn’t allow him to go out there and compete.”

In Godley being designated for assignment, teams will have an opportunity to claim him off waivers. If Godley clears waivers, he can also choose to become a free agent instead of joining the Reno Aces in Triple-A.

Burns & Gambo

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