Hey Diamondbacks fans,
I earlier posted an article titled "Painfully Average? For Now.". While some things may have changed since that post, I am still a firm believer in Kevin Towers as a General Manager and especially with Derrick Hall as President. Now you may have noticed that I did not include Kirk Gibson. I believe that Kirk Gibson is an incredibly average, and maybe slightly above average on a good day, manager. In my opinion, the Diamondbacks appointed Gibson as manager of their team for what they claim as "his fiery passion for the game", "his intensity", etc... as seen by the montra "Gibby" ball. However, we have not come to seen that same consistent fire within the clubhouse that he expressed during his playing days, and even in 2011 when the Diamondbacks won 94 games. The truly think that the Diamondbacks hired Gibson for name recognition and a face for the franchise in the clubhouse (It certainly cannot be argued he was hired for this press conference speaking skills). However, I still think that Gibson is the man for the job in Arizona. Kevin Towers and him share the same ideologies about toughness, grit, small ball, etc... and that is important to have a vertical organization that shares the same beliefs and is on the same page.
However, I think the best move that has been made for the Diamondbacks in recent memory is the firing of Charles Nagy. I by no means ever advocate for someone to lose their job, Nagy is a great coach and by all accounts a great guy. He will find a job soon, and hopefully that involves Major League Baseball. His firing is a part of the game and the nature of the high turnover rate in professional sports. With that said, I do not believe that Charles Nagy did an exceptional job in Arizona. Under his tenure, very few pitchers developed in the major league level. In fact, almost every pitcher on the roster since his hiring has either maintained their production, carried their success from the minor leagues into the majors, or entirely regressed. Examples of regression include Ian Kennedy, David Hernandez (before being demoted), and Brandon McCarthy (granted he was coming off of a major head injury). However what may be most telling, is the lack of improvement almost across the board. This list is much longer, with names including Wade Miley, Trevor Cahill, and arguably Heath Bell. While it is difficult to directly attribute the lack of improvement or regression to Charles Nagy alone considering there are many other factors that may involved, (lack of staff leadership, ball park effects, quality of opposing teams, etc...) an assistant coach such as Nagy is highly expendable due to the relatively flexible nature of his contract and I believe a change was entirely necessary. Hopefully a new voice will do some good in the desert.
As far as roster changes are concerned, although there is the argument that a lack of talent is the primary issue with this team, I believe relatively few changes are necessary. I agree that there is a lack of talent, and I believe members of the Arizona Diamondbacks organization recognize that also. However they also recognize that the Diamondbacks are a small to mid-market team, and unconventional methods are necessary to attain a consistently competitive roster year to year. Player Development is VITAL to an organization that is banking on young talent producing as they reach their prime years. This issue links back to the firing of Charles Nagy. There is a small window for the Diamondbacks to capitalize on the development of young talent, and that window becomes narrower and narrower each year they fail to full realize their full potential. Players such as Jarrod Parker, Ryan Cook, and even Ian Kennedy have either prospered or seen improvement upon their departure from the desert. The Diamondbacks have an exceptional ability to foster young talent to the point they are able to reach the major league level. However, their issue lies in their inability to develop that talent once it reaches that point. It may be pointed out that a large majority of the development issues stem from young pitchers. The only constant among these pitchers and lack of development at the major league level is Chase Stadium, Kirk Gibson, and Charles Nagy as the daily forces that influence pitcher's ability the most. It is natural for the Diamondbacks to rid themselves of the most expendable factor. Should a more effective coach enter the picture and underperforming players discover their true potential, we could be talking about a whole different Diamondbacks team next year. We won't be talking about the offseason changes, we'll be talking about the NLCS. There is not a lack of potential, only a lack of developed talent.