Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers and president and CEO Derrick Hall said Wednesday they are ready to put a disappointing last season behind them and are looking forward to a new team and a new year.
Both executives joined KTAR 620’s Doug and Wolf, speaking on topics ranging from the improvement of the bullpen to optimism for a revamped Diamondbacks squad in 2011.
“I think coming off 97 losses you can’t be overly optimistic, but I think we can turn this thing around this season. I look at the moves Kevin Towers made right away, we knew we had to address the problem in the bullpen and the strike out problem at bat and we did just that,” Hall said.
“He removed the two guys on the corners with all the strike outs, great players, good teammates but we’ve had upgrades with veterans at those positions and now the bullpen and the arms that we have competing for the rotation, I’m really excited about that.”
Hall was referring to former third baseman Mark Reynolds, who was traded in December and first baseman Adam LaRoche, who was let go from the team in the off-season.
Reynolds and LaRoche combined for 383 strike-outs in 2010. Newcomers Melvin Mora and Juan Miranda are expected to take over at first and third.
Both moves were emblematic of a Diamondbacks team in flux following a 65 win season and a last place finish in the National League West.
The team addressed a horrible bullpen from last season that dropped numerous games and Hall said if the relievers had even been adequate, the team could have finished two games behind the World Series champion Giants.
Towers agreed that pitching was an important position and said the team has made upgrades after the signing of J.J. Putz and trades for starters Zach Duke and Armando Galarraga and relievers Kam Mickolio and David Hernandez.
“We’re going to have to pitch,” Towers said.
“The most important thing I think if you look at the clubs in the NL West the last couple of years who have won the division and gone deep into the postseason, you look at the Giants last year, that was their starting pitching and their bullpen. I think everybody knows a thorn in our side has been our pen.”
Towers said he wants all of the pitchers to be fighting for spots in the rotation and every position will have to be earned.
Both Towers and Hall said they hope the veterans the team added and a new coaching staff will bring leadership and build a winning Diamondbacks squad for next year and beyond.
“I think the new D-back way is we are going to compete, every inning, every game for 162 games,” Towers said.
“When people play the Diamondbacks now, they know they are going to be in for a war.”