Tony La Russa will be ‘brokenhearted’ if Arizona Diamondbacks do not post winning record
As far as rebuilding projects go, the Arizona Diamondbacks are not one of them.
At least, that’s the way chief baseball officer Tony La Russa sees it. Entering his first full season with the club, he said there is no plan in place to forego winning now in order to be competitive in a few years.
“There’s one answer that fits our fans and the person you’re talking to,” he told Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Monday. “Not very patient. We don’t want to tell our fans, ‘You know, we’ve got this three to five year plan,’ that’s just not accurate.”
The Diamondbacks finished last season with a 64-98 record, the worst mark in all of baseball. The roster underwent quite a bit of turnover, and the belief is that — along with a return to health for many key players — will be enough to lead to the organization’s fortunes turning around.
La Russa said he’s not necessarily against a team building toward the future, but he does not see the D-backs as a team in position to do so.
“If we didn’t have the nucleus that we have, if we had virtually zero, you’d tell fans, ‘Look, it’s going to take us a while,'” he said. “The nucleus of talent here is better than that record. That club got beat up so badly — nobody makes excuses, it’s just an explanation.
“When you lose all those hitters, lose all those pitchers, nobody is going to have a really good year.”
La Russa acknowledged last year’s Diamondbacks lost a lot of games, but is confident this season’s group will play hard and, “sooner rather than later,” will be a really tough team to play against.
“Which is going to translate into wins,” he said. “I don’t have a crystal ball; I just know we’ll be competitive. I’ve said before, I’ll be brokenhearted if we don’t have a winning record this year.”
The last time the D-backs finished a season with a winning record was 2011, when they won 94 games and the NL West. They went 81-81 in each of the next two seasons before bottoming out in 2014.
La Russa said he does not have a limit on how good he thinks the team will be this year, just that he does not believe the organization needs to ask fans for patience heading into the season.
“Our club has got guys that are right there, very close to being competitive, winning major leaguers.”