Arizona Diamondbacks fire manager Kirk Gibson
On Friday, the Arizona Diamondbacks announced the termination of manager Kirk Gibson after more than four seasons at the helm of the team.
The departure comes after a last place finish in the National League West. The team’s 63-96 record under Gibson this season was the second worst in franchise history.
“Kirk has done an admirable job under difficult circumstances and we are grateful for his professionalism and his dedicated service to the organization over the past eight years,” said D-backs Chief Baseball Officer Tony La Russa. “We feel like it is time for a fresh start and with our recent restructuring in Baseball Operations, we want to get started immediately moving in a new direction.”
Gibson, 57, led the D-backs to an 81-81 record in both 2012 and 2013. In 2011, his first full season as the D-backs skipper, the former big leaguer won NL Manager of the Year from the Baseball Writer’s Association of America after leading the team to a 94-68 record and the NL West Division title.
“I am extremely appreciative for this opportunity and I had a great experience with the Diamondbacks. I know we had a tough year and people will look at this as a negative, but we accomplished a lot of good things here. I told the team that I have nothing but the utmost respect for this organization and the people I’ve met along the way. Most of all, I’d like to thank the players, coaches, staff and everyone within the organization for their unwavering support while I was here.”
He made his managerial debut on July 1, 2010, following the dismissal of A.J. Hinch, for whom Gibson had previously served as bench coach. He then recorded a 34-49 mark as interim manager before earning the job on a full-time basis.
Speculation of Gibson’s exit began as early as April after the team started the season by going 8-22 in their first 30 games. By the end of the month, they were 9.5 games back in the division.
Both Gibson and former D-backs general manager Kevin Towers signed contract extensions of an undisclosed length with the organization prior to the start of the 2014 season. Towers was dismissed from his duties in early September (though could potentially be retained in some capacity).
Gibson finishes his tenure as D-backs manager more than 20 games below .500, at 353-375.
“I am extremely appreciative for this opportunity and I had a great experience with the Diamondbacks. I know we had a tough year and people will look at this as a negative, but we accomplished a lot of good things here,” said Gibson. “I told the team that I have nothing but the utmost respect for this organization and the people I’ve met along the way. Most of all, I’d like to thank the players, coaches, staff and everyone within the organization for their unwavering support while I was here.”
A replacement for Gibson has not yet been named by general manager Dave Stewart. Bench coach Alan Trammell has also been relieved of his duties after four seasons as Gibson’s bench coach, though Trammell will manage for the D-backs through their remaining three games against the St. Louis Cardinals.
“It’s really not a reflection on them,” said La Russa of the changes. “I know that sounds a little hollow, but I’m always sincere when I’m serious…we are making a fresh start and it made sense to start fresh with the manager.”
Added D-backs President and CEO Derrick Hall, “One of my proudest moments was naming Kirk Gibson manager of the Diamondbacks, so I thank them and appreciate everything they’ve done for the organization.”