Old married couple: Diamondbacks’ Torey Lovullo, Mike Hazen talk extended partnership

Nov 9, 2023, 9:11 AM

Mike Hazen, Torey Lovullo...

Mike Hazen, Torey Lovullo, and Ken Kendrick of the Arizona Diamondbacks look on at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on March 12, 2023 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

(Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

SCOTTSDALE — The Arizona Diamondbacks did not waste time getting manager Torey Lovullo extended.

Lovullo said on a Zoom call Wednesday afternoon general manager Mike Hazen asked him to talk about an extension within a day of the final out of the World Series.

It was something the GM previously said they would revisit after Lovullo signed a one-year extension in June, but the skipper wanted a little time to decompress first. The Diamondbacks fought all the way to the Fall Classic as a wild card team, where they lost to the Texas Rangers.

On Wednesday, a week following the season’s end, the D-backs announced a contract extension with Lovullo.

“He was very consistent and came back with a phone call and said, ‘Look, I want to get this finalized and done as soon as possible,'” Lovullo said. “And I accepted what he was saying. I told him I just wanted to discuss with my wife and get her looped in. Then within the next 12-24 hours, we had an agreement.”

Lovullo’s extension runs through the 2026 season, as azcentral’s Nick Piecoro and’s Steve Gilbert first reported on Monday. Hazen agreed to an extension through 2028 during the postseason.

The 2026 season would mark Lovullo’s 10th year in Arizona’s dugout after he and Hazen came over from the Boston Red Sox at the end of 2016.

Lovullo’s deal provides more stability than he’s seen in years after signing two one-year contract extensions. Lovullo felt he “didn’t deserve to be considered beyond tomorrow” in a ball player-like day-by-day mindset.

“I don’t take anything for granted in this game,” Lovullo said. “I’ve been in it a long time and I know how quickly things can change. … I’m motivated every single day to show them they have the right guy sitting in this seat. I’ll see where that takes us every single day and I’m not going to change that mindset.”

Lovullo and Hazen have worked in the same organization for a decade back with the Red Sox, and Hazen said their differences play off each other in a constructive manner. Hazen called them an old married couple in that sense, not afraid to go back and forth.

“It helps us cut to the chase when we have contentious conversations and it never gets personal,” Hazen said. “We have arguments all the time … we’re able to have honest dialogue, feedback around it. I think that’s healthy. I like to work in that environment because I think it helps you get to the truth more often and quicker.”

“You got to plant your flag a little bit every once in a while to get to get your point across and at the end of it, the door opens, we walk out and the next time I see him, I don’t even really think about it,” Lovullo said. “I’m very thankful he’s the same way. There’s a friendship in there. I know everybody’s probably trying to figure out how we can argue like brothers and then pack it up at night like we’re married … but it works.”

Hazen later said the arguments are more like debates and he appreciates their relationship. He believes the players do, too.

The Diamondbacks credited their clubhouse culture during the World Series run. It’s a group with young players who grew through the system together and veteran voices like Christian Walker, Ketel Marte and Tommy Pham. The D-backs climbed back into the playoff race after a disastrous six weeks in July and August to rebound down the stretch and get into the playoffs where anything can — and did — happen.

Hazen called Lovullo a major component of that culture.

The Diamondbacks have not operated with a manager-general manager pairing for this long before. Lovullo is already the longest-tenured manager in team history. Arizona stuck with the duo through a down 2020 shortened season and the abysmal 2021 campaign.

Managing partner Ken Kendrick told Arizona Sports ‘ Burns & Gambo last week, ” just like your reward players, you need to reward leadership.”

Lovullo said he received several notes from players congratulating him on the contract, which meant a lot.

“When you get these little backhanded compliments from your players and you’re just driving towards something every day, you don’t know how you’re affecting them, but when they say something as heartfelt as they have been saying over the past couple of days, that means more than anything,” Lovullo said.

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