The last-place Diamondbacks are hanging onto their skipper – for now.
While the team was in Cincinnati this weekend to play the Reds, who are also in last place, rumors began swirling that the D-backs front office was discussing firing manager Chip Hale.
Without question, the Diamondbacks have under-performed. A booming offseason that saw the acquisition of top arms and a middle-infield bat led many to believe that Arizona would vastly improve on its 79-83 record from last year. Instead, the D-backs are 41-57, 17 games out of first place and on pace to win just 68 games.
Still, Arizona has apparently elected to keep Hale for the time being.
His team went on to lose this weekend’s series against the Reds.
On the Doug & Wolf Show on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM on Monday, MLB.com Diamondbacks beat writer Steve Gilbert said he thinks the team was indeed considering a change.
“I think that they certainly are looking at everything when they’re having a season as disappointing as the one they’re having,” Gilbert said. “This is a team that they were talking about the possibility of going deep in the playoffs and they’re sitting here 16 games under .500. Do I think the rumors were true that they were examining Chip Hale’s job status and considering changes? I think that’s true. I don’t think anything’s going to happen right now.”
Gilbert did note that if things don’t improve as the season continues, he doesn’t think anyone’s job is safe.
“I’m not saying it’s Chip Hale’s fault, but I’m saying you know how this works, when things go bad like that, it kind of gets into a vicious cycle there, usually some changes are made,” Gilbert said.
Part of the Diamondbacks’ woes are thanks in part to the fact that Shelby Miller, acquired in a blockbuster deal in which the D-backs sent top prospects and a budding young outfielder to Atlanta, has struggled mightily. There have also been injuries to key players like outfielder A.J. Pollock and pitchers Zack Greinke and Rubby De La Rosa.
“I don’t think firing Chip Hale right now is going to turn around the season,” Gilbert said. “I don’t think Chip Hale had anything to do with these guys getting injured, I don’t think Chip Hale had anything to do with Shelby Miller greatly under-performing what they were expecting, so I’m not sure what that would accomplish.”
As rumors of Hale’s dismissal were buzzing, rumors of Miller being dealt were tossed around as well.
Gilbert was less sure of that possibility.
“I just don’t see how they can, at this point,” Gilbert said. “I think the best thing they can try and do is get him right down in Triple-A and try to salvage something from him over the next two years going forward. If they trade him now, they get hardly anything back in return and it’s just a full loss for them, and I don’t see that happening.
If Gilbert, a team insider, believes that neither Hale’s nor Miller’s departures would solve a greater problem, the talk of managerial shake-ups or roster moves could be just that: talk.
“You look at this team’s record and the only two teams in the National League with worse records are the Reds and the Braves – two teams that are in rebuilding mode, and the Diamondbacks were in kind of a win-now mode,” Gilbert said. “So I’m sure there’s a lot of discussions. Was his job status discussed? I’m sure it probably was, just like everything else is discussed and talked about. I don’t know how serious it was or how close it was to happening. It sounds like now that’s not the case, that’s not going to happen, at least not right now.”
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