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Arizona Diamondbacks GM update

Time to cast an eye over the latest names to go into Ken Kendrick’s hat

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Washington Nationals Introduce Dusty Baker Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Mike has already covered the news that the team is looking to interview Nationals’ GM (and former D-back executive) Mike Rizzo. But while I was otherwise occupied this weekend, a couple of names were thrown into the mix for the Diamondbacks’ GM position - then as we noted, were just as quickly thrown out again. Dodgers’ executive Alex Anthopoulos, formerly General Manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, was reportedly approached in regard to the position, but according to Jon Heyman, declined to be interviewed. Heyman says, Anthopoulos “is said to be extremely happy with the Dodgers and concerned to move his young family again after his two very young kids (under 7) just started in school in the Los Angeles area.”

He’s not the only one to show an apparent lack of interest. Nick Piecoro wrote that “league sources believe Rays vice president of baseball operations Chaim Bloom and Royals vice president/assistant general manager J.J. Picollo also are candidates.” The former proved a short-lived candidacy, with just a few hours later, Piecoro posting a follow-up story, saying that Bloom also “turned down an opportunity to interview” for the position.

This isn’t coming as too much of a surprise. Almost as soon as the dismissal of Dave Stewaret was announced, Piecoro wrote a piece entitled, “Diamondbacks' instability stirs potential candidates' skepticism,” which said that many potential choices, currently with rival teams “sound skeptical of the opportunity.” The short tenure of previous incumbents and the reputation of Ken Kendrick as an owner who is too “hands on” seem the main points of issue, though the odd organization structure, and the personalities both of Kendrick and Derrick Hall, were also mentioned. But Piecoro makes it clear: “Make no mistake: The Diamondbacks will have an opportunity to hire an extremely talented and qualified general manager.

But there’s been no word crossing Picollo off the list, so let’s keep him as a possibility for now, and do pen-portraits for both him and Rizzo, in the same way we covered the previous batch of six, all of whom still appear to be in the frame.

J.J. Picollo

Age: 45
Current position: Vice President/Assistant General Manager Player Personnel, Kansas City Royals
GM experience: Assistant GM Royals 2008-current

Picollo has been with Kansas City for just over a decade, since August 2006. He was first their Director of Player Development, and then became the Assistant General Manager for Scouting & Player Development in 2008. The Arizona position is certainly not the first GM job to which Picollo has been connected. As far back as 2012, he interviewed for the Astros, and more recently, he was a candidate for the same spot with both the Phillies and the Twins. His failure to get the jobs caused our siblings over at Royals Review to speculate whether Picollo may be the heir apparent in Kansas City. Obviously, we’ve seen what he has done, being involved in taking the Royals from the cellar of the Central to World Series champions in five years, without spending more than $115 million on the way.

Mike Rizzo

Age: 55
Current position: Team President and General Manager, Washington Nationals
GM experience: Assistant GM Nationals 2006-09; GM Nationals, 2009-current

This is another name you may well remember, as he was part of the D-backs team in the early days. Originally a scout, he was hired by Arizona as scouting director in 1998, and helped to build the team’s farm system during those early days. After he was passed over for the GM’s job in 2006, the team going with Josh Byrnes, he left to become Jim Bowden’s assistant in Washington. He took over a team on its way to a MLB worst 59 wins; three seasons later they had 98, and have had a winning record each of the past five years. In that time, only the Cardinals have more W’s in the majors. Rizzo has a reputation for being a shrewd trader, as well as for his intensity. and once said, “I’ve been called a bull in a china shop by an executive or two. I wear that like a badge of honor.” Any return here would certainly make things uncomfortable for current 3B coach, Matt Williams, who was fired by Rizzo last October.