The Arizona Diamondbacks made a significant step in reshaping their organization Thursday, as the club announced that Dave Stewart would be taking over the role of senior vice president and general manager. In addition to Stewart, Dodgers' executive De Jon Watson will be moving to Arizona to become the team's senior vice president of baseball operations.
It's no surprise that Stewart winds up in Arizona's GM chair, as talks of the former MLB All-Star teaming up with his former manager and Diamondbacks' chief baseball officer Tony La Russa have persisted for days. Stewart, of course, anchored La Russa's rotation with the Oakland Athletics during their run of success in the late 1980's and early 1990's.
Stewart, 57, has served in a number of roles across the game. Along with being a fantastic player (Stewart placed in the top four in Cy Young voting four times and won 20 games each year from 1987-1990), Stewart has served as a pitching coach (for the Padres, Blue Jays, and Brewers), front office member, and player agent. He had previously been considered a candidate for the Blue Jays' GM gig in 2001, but was passed over in favor of J.P. Ricciardi. In recent years, Stewart has ran a successful agency, representing a client list that includes,Matt Kemp, Chris Carter, and Chad Billingsley. Of course, Stewart can no longer represent players, and has already made plans to transfer the firm to former Athletics teammate Dave Henderson.
Watson has been working in baseball for over 29 years, spending the last seven of those with the Dodgers, where he served as vice president of player development and advisor to GM Ned Colletti. He has previously worked as the scouting director for the Cincinnati Reds. Watson, 48, was reported to be in the running for the GM job as well, though it appears that the club has settled on bringing in both Watson and Stewart in somewhat of a bicameral situation, as Watson will report directly to La Russa rather than to Stewart.
Stewart and Watson will both report directly to Tony La Russa. The trio has a combined 122 years of experience in professional baseball.— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) September 25, 2014
The D-backs ousted (now former) GM Kevin Towers earlier this month, following a three-year span in which the club fell from a 94 win playoff team in 2011 to a disaster this season. As it currently stands, Arizona is 63-96 with a 2.5 game lead over the Rangers for the title of worst record in baseball.
Along with the probable number one overall pick in next year's draft, Stewart will also inherit an organization that is in dire need of a talent infusion. Outside of first baseman and lineup centerpiece Paul Goldschmidt, the club has no clear building blocks, especially on the pitching side with injuries leaving the long-term viability of ace Patrick Corbin and top prospect Archie Bradley in question.