ESPN’s Kurkjian: Tony La Russa’s ‘only goal is to win’

Jul 23, 2016, 12:30 PM
Chief baseball officer for the Arizona Diamondbacks' Tony LaRussa, right, talks with pitching coach...
Chief baseball officer for the Arizona Diamondbacks' Tony LaRussa, right, talks with pitching coach Mike Butcher, left, during a spring training baseball workout Monday, Feb. 29, 2016, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
LISTEN: Tim Kurkjian, ESPN MLB Insider

Tony La Russa is a Major League Baseball Hall of Famer, a three-time World Series champion and a four-time Manager of the Year award winner.

All he knows is success, so you might expect that the 2016 Arizona Diamondbacks are proving to be quite the challenge for him.

The season has been a downward spiral since the A.J. Pollock injury the day before Opening Day. Other injuries to vital players such as Zack Greinke, David Peralta, Chris Owings and Rubby De La Rosa have not helped the cause either.

The front office has begun to make moves to better the future of the organization, including trading their closer Brad Ziegler to the Boston Red Sox.

ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian spoke with Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM about the Ziegler deal and what that means in regard to La Russa.

“Let’s be clear on who La Russa is. He’s one of the best managers ever and he has a great baseball mind,” Kurkjian said. “He cares more about winning than virtually anyone I’ve ever met.”

Kurkjian continued, “there’s no way he’ll do anything as a favor to anyone. His only goal is to win. I’ve never seen him in a good mood when he loses, ever. He wouldn’t trade away a serviceable player like Ziegler and not get what he wants in return and I can’t imagine him doing a favor for anyone if it negatively affects his team.”

The return for Ziegler was Single-A pitcher Jose Almonte and Single-A infielder Luis Alejandro Basabe. Almonte is 2-2 with a 3.91 ERA and Basabe has a .310 batting average with four home runs and 27 RBI this season.

Although Kurkjian believes that La Russa didn’t gift his closer to Dave Dombrowski, who is the president of baseball operations for the Red Sox, there is belief that the Diamondbacks may take a second look at the way their team is being run.

“A lot of people applauded them for running the team and organization the old-fashioned way with real baseball guys,” Kurkjian said. “A former player as a GM (Dave Stewart) and one of the great managers of all-time as the guy running baseball operations.”

“It clearly has not worked yet. I wouldn’t be surprised if they examine the whole structure on how they run a team and have to ask themselves if they’re doing this the right way.”


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ESPN’s Kurkjian: Tony La Russa’s ‘only goal is to win’