With the conclusion of the World Series, teams are moving fast to fill their managerial holes. According to Bob Nightengale, the two remaining jobs will be decided on in a matter of hours, and that the Diamondbacks are down to two remaining candidates:
The Diamondbacks fired their manager, Chip Hale, the same day they mercifully ended the tenure of Dave Stewart. In two underwhelming seasons, Hale had a 148-176 record at the helm. While he certainly can’t be blamed for the debacle that Stewart and Tony La Russa caused, his firing wasn’t a surprise. Whoever the Diamondbacks would bring in, and it turned out to be former Red Sox executive Mike Hazen, that new GM would want to choose his own manager.
Nevin, 45, is a former All Star third baseman for the Padres in 2001, when he slammed 41 homers. After retiring in 2006, Nevin got back into baseball in 2009, when he managed in an independent league for a year. He next moved to the Tigbers organization, managing primarily at triple-A for three years. Finally, he ended up managing for the Diamondbacks triple-A squad in 2014, a role he’s held ever since. Nevin has been a top candidate for managerial jobs in the past, most notably for the Astros prior to 2015 and is well-regarded in the industry.
But he hasn’t had nearly as many near misses as the 51 year old Lovullo. Lovullo managed for nine minor league seasons from 2002-2010, gradually making his way into the Major League coaching ranks. For the last several years, he’s been John Farrell’s bench coach in both Toronto and Boston. With Farrell battling cancer in 2015, Lovullo served as the interim manager of the Red Sox for the last 50 games, putting up a 28-22 record. He has been a finalist for managerial jobs in each of the last three offsesaons, finishing as a runner up for the Cubs, Rangers, and Twins jobs, and has long been considered a manager in waiting.
With the worst pitching staff in the Nationals League, a burgeoning payroll problem, and an awful free agent market in front of them, the Diamondbacks have bigger problems than either of these managers is going to be able to solve, of course. The Diamondbacks need to fix their rotation and their bullpen, figure out what to do with Yasmany Tomas, and upgrade at shortstop. But at least this decision will eliminate one item from their off-season checklist, and hopefully set a brighter course for 2017 and beyond.