D-backs bringing in Allard Baird amid Mike Hazen’s leave of absence
Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen made headlines last Friday when it was announced he would be taking a physical leave of absence from the team to be with his family while his wife, Nicole, continues to battle a brain tumor.
After being put in a challenging position of trying to make time for both baseball and family for about a year, Hazen decided it was time to focus on what was most important to him in his life.
“It’s complex in a lot of ways. … It’s sort of a challenge situation but it is what it is and we’re grinding through this,” Hazen told Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf on Wednesday. “I think I can explain in that I think the life of us front offices, coaches, all these other things, it’s an endless, nonstop, physically away from your family during the season. And that means 8-10 hours a day, especially for homestands. You’re at the park at 10 a.m. You’re leaving at 11 p.m.
“Those things were becoming challenges and I found myself during the last homestand sorta having to sneak out a little bit in the second, third inning. … Obviously remotely we can do all our work the way we need to. I found myself doing that.”
While Hazen may be physically absent, he has delegated duties to ensure the work continues as best it can, while maintaining in constant contact with those tasked with carrying the load.
One of those moves was expanding assistant GM Amiel Sawdaye’s role. The D-backs also went out of house to add another voice to the mix while Hazen is away.
“We’re going to bring on, hoping in the next couple of days, Allard Baird to help,” Hazen said. “He has a wealth of experience, former GM. Somebody to handle [things] especially as we move into the draft and deadline time. His counsel, his evaluation, his perspective, his ability to help.
“Dealing with other front offices as we go through we’re probably gonna have a volume — the phone has been ringing off the hook as you can imagine inbound right now, just given where we’re standing and where other teams are at. So there’s a volume that has to be dealt with. I’m around to be involved in a lot of discussions at various times.”
Baird originally got his start with the Kansas City Royals organization in 1988 as a hitting coach for Class-A Appleton. He was eventually named assistant to the GM of the Royals in 1998 before taking over assistant GM duties from 1999-2000. Baird was promoted to Royals GM in 2000 and spent six seasons at the helm before being fired in 2006.
From there, he joined the Boston Red Sox as an assistant to the GM that same year. He eventually was named vice president and director of professional scouting before being named the senior vice president of player personnel in 2011. He stayed with the organization until 2018.
Following his departure from Boston, Baird stuck on with the New York Mets as the vice president and assistant general manager for scouting and player development until last season.