D-backs should keep Chip Hale…for now
Jun 1, 2016, 1:21 PM | Updated: 7:34 pm
(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
The Arizona Diamondbacks should not fire Chip Hale…yet.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have no realistic chance to make the 2016 postseason. For most fans, missing the playoffs is reason enough to fire Chip Hale. You feel like you were sold a bill of goods. Someone should pay. Firing a manager proves to fans an organization means business. It serves as a wake-up call to the players. Knowing a manager is gone makes everyone feel better because there’s a sense of closure and we can move on to building the team back up.
However, does firing Hale solve anything? In order to have a realistic chance at the playoffs, Arizona needs to play 20 games above .500 the rest of the season to catch the Giants if San Francisco plays at a .500 clip. Is a new manager really going to achieve a 64-44 record the rest of the season? The reason to fire Chip Hale now would be to salvage the season. The catch is that window has already been missed.
Sure, if you’re the eternal optimist, there are plenty of cases where a team was 10 games back in June and came back to make the playoffs. Usually those teams start at a place better than 9-20 at home to begin the comeback. Teams mounting massive comebacks coincide with a major trade (won’t happen) or getting back an injured player (Pollock won’t be back ’til it’s too late, which leaves the return of Shelby Miller to be the “spark”). As currently constructed, this team isn’t capable of mounting a comeback.
The start of Goldschmidt and Greinke, the Pollock injury and the failure of Shelby Miller are why the D-backs are the fourth worst team in the National League. It has little to do with who’s managing. Since firing Hale won’t solve 2016, maybe the lessons learned this year will lead to the 2017 playoffs. Robin Ventura of the White Sox has done far more to earn a firing over the last several years, but Chicago’s patience has them playing good ball. The Sox are in the thick of the division and wild card possibly due to Ventura’s growth through failure.
Once you get past Goldy and Greinke, look at the remaining youth. The D-backs weren’t equipped with the experience to carry the torch while waiting for the stars to do their job. There’s a difference between being built to make the playoffs coming out of spring training and built to come back from 10 games out. Jake Lamb, Nick Ahmed, Patrick Corbin andChris Owings didn’t choke, they just couldn’t handle the pressure of “saving the season” in April or May at this stage of their careers.
If the D-backs mount a character-building comeback and fall short, that will prove Chip Hale should be brought back as the 2017 manager. Everything learned through 2016 will bode well for the entire organization. The young kids will play with less pressure next year, urgency will be higher and Hale will be in his third year as manager.
If it’s mid-August and Arizona is still woeful at home and below average on the road, there’s plenty of time to make the move. Name Matt Williams as the manager, give him a long-term contract and let him begin to institute his plan for the final six weeks of 2016 and have no doubt who’s in charge going into the offseason.
You have nothing to apologize for if you’re angry at the D-backs. Our team has been a massive letdown this year. It’s not going to be alright. Patience will not solve the 2016 Diamondbacks. Firing the manager might have saved the season 15 games ago but it won’t now. It’s easy to see Hale hasn’t done enough in the present, but it’s not about the present anymore. Give him two months to see if he should be the manager of the future or the past.