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The Arizona Diamondbacks hire Mike Hazen: The Reactions

The D-backs make a move and people think it’s good? What is this sorcery....?

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It has been so long that the team has do anything which has received a positive reaction, that I’d almost forgotten what it feels like. Even when the results have proven the team right, e.g. the Jean Segura trade, it still seemed like virtually everything they did, was accompanied by a welter of snark, some of it justified, some of it not. But this time, there seems to have been almost universal praise for the Diamondbacks having prized Mike Hazen away from the Red Sox. This came from both inside and outside the industry, and even the team that lost Hazen went with more than the standard “future endeavors” speech. Let’s take a look at some of the reactions.

“While this is certainly a significant loss for the Red Sox organization, we are extremely happy for Mike and his family as they begin this new opportunity in Arizona. As one of the most respected young baseball executives in the game, Mike is more than deserving of this position.”
-- Mike Dombrowski, Boston Red Sox

“Mike is a strong leader, has boundless energy, and loves to take on the toughest challenges. He’s got a very strong network within baseball and has the experience and acumen to excel as a leader of baseball operations. I think he’s an excellent choice for Arizona.”
Ben Cherington, Toronto Blue Jays

“Really good hire by them. It was only a matter of time until he got a job.”
Jed Hoyer, Chicago Cubs

“I don’t usually go down the old-school, new-school (road), but I think (Hazen) knows how to use information and convey it to people, which is really timeless. I think he has a real competitive determined side to his personality. And he is humble. He is really well-suited” for the position.
Josh Byrnes, Los Angeles Dodgers

Even those speaking off the record were impressed.

“I’m a huge Mike Hazen fan,” one rival general manager said. “It’s a big step in the right direction (for the Diamondbacks),” another GM said. “I think he’ll get it right.” “It’s a huge acquisition,” a high-ranking scout said. “I’m shocked they pulled it off.”

The tone was little less complimentary outside the industry:

“At just 40 years of age, Hazen brings a decidedly new perspective to the D’Backs in the wake of the decidedly old-school methods of La Russa and former general manager Dave Stewart... The D’Backs ended up landing a highly-regarded baseball mind in Hazen”
— Mark Polishuk, MLB Trade Rumors

Ken Kendrick and Derrick Hall, who oversee the Diamondbacks, managed to convince one of the best young executives to take over their baseball operations.. It was a huge acquisition.
— Buster Olney, ESPN (Insider)

Even the Diamondbacks’ harshest critic was on board with the choice.

WHERE IS KEITH LAW AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH HIM!?! Yep, folks: this is truly uncharted territory. Of course, just because it’s a popular decision doesn’t guarantee success. This will not work if, God forbid, ownership treat Hazen as a figurehead, with the real power still being held by Tony La Russa, though early signs seem to indicate that will NOT be the case. But after suffering through years of the D-backs attempting to zig while others zagged, which brought us to the team’s current disappointing state, I would not be averse to a bit of modern baseball orthodoxy for a while, and see how that works out. But let’s face it: simply, “not screwing shit up” would be a significant improvement on the Stewart years.

Let’s finish with a couple of quotes from Hazen and others, out of the press conference introducing him at Chase Field this morning.

  • Ken Kendrick - "Today's a great day to be a D-back and the reason is this young man here. We're happy to welcome Mike to our family."
  • Hazen - "It is a great franchise, but I want to take it to another level... Our goal is to win a championship again. That's what we're going to set out to do on Day 1... I'm excited for these challenges; if we can execute in the decision-making process, I believe we will reach our goals... We're accountable for the wins and losses on the Major League field every night and that's what drives us to be successful"