La Russa: We’re not going to blow the D-backs roster up
Tony La Russa was brought to the Arizona Diamondbacks to provide leadership and stability during a time when it generally lacked both.
Officially hired on May 17, 2014 as the Chief Baseball Officer, La Russa has seen the D-backs post a 167-207 record during his tenure, with signs of optimism in 2015 having quickly been replaced by pessimism and doubt now in 2016.
A hearty 17 games out of first place in the NL West and 11.5 back of a Wild Card spot entering Wednesday, this incarnation of the D-backs certainly seems to be circling the drain. With that in mind, many are beginning to turn their attention to 2017, which, according to La Russa, is a topic of conversation these days.
As the question goes, do the D-backs need a tuneup or a complete rebuild?
“That’s a great point and one that we’re battling right now — not battling, but discussing — because of what’s at stake here and the fact is that we’re having a lousy year,” he told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday. “But it’s clear to me that the talent we have is special.”
La Russa said his pitching coach, Mike Butcher, has said the pitching talent in the organization is there, it’s just a matter of becoming more consistent.
The D-backs are 13th in the National League with a 4.77 ERA a number ranks 27th in MLB. Offensively, Arizona is seventh in the NL in runs scored, with their 418 in 94 games ranking 16th in all of baseball.
La Russa pointed to Tuesday’s 5-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, saying it was “preventable” because the three runs allowed in the third inning did not need to happen, just as there were chances throughout the game for Arizona to plate more than just one run.
“That game is a matter of learning and executing, and I think we’re on the road to getting smarter and being more competitive, so I definitely would not blow it up,” he said. “I think they’ve got the wrong guy here if they want to blow the club up, because we’re not going to let it happen.”