You'll perhaps have noticed the Fanpost by JoeCB, quoting message board chatter from last night which said, "I guess TLR won't be getting his managerial spot back since he just promoted P. Nevin to be DBax's new manager. C. Hale getting axed tomorrow." Normally,, this would be just... message board chatter, but the source for this does apparently have a good track-record, having broken the news of Zack Greinke's signing, well before the surprising free-agent acquisition was being talked about by more regular sources. That caused this report to have rather more credibility than the usual gossip.
This was then repeated by local radio host, Tim Montemayor of NBC Sports 1060, who Tweeted:
Heavy rumors floating around that Phil Nevin will be named manager of the #DBacks …people around the club and MiLB tell me ...— Tim Montemayor (@TheMontyShow) July 22, 2016
Which seems like a solid confirmation from other sources of the report... Until you realize, by looking at his entire time-line that the ellipsis were not for dramatic effect, but because the train of through continued in his next Tweet:
…they have not heard that and as far as they know right now (9AM) Nevin will manage the Aces tonight in Las Vegas.— Tim Montemayor (@TheMontyShow) July 22, 2016
Well. That puts a bit of a different spin on things, doesn't it? Still, it didn't stop Ken Rosenthal from going public:
Sources: #DBacks considering managerial change. Nevin would replace Hale. Stewart: "I can’t comment on rumors." h/t @TheMontyShow.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 22, 2016
Not exactly what you'd call a ringing vote of confidence from Stewart, is it? Nick Piecoro retweeted this saying, "Have heard same things," but also pointing out that Nevin is flying with his Aces' team from Reno to Las Vegas, rather than to Cincinnati to be with the major-league squad, So it appears Chip will still be in charge tonight. Given that, I can't see the team firing their manager in the middle of a road-trip, which would give Hale security through the end of the month. The next off-day is August 4, so if the team continues to struggle over the next couple of weeks, that might be a day worth circling on the calendar.
It's not the first time rumors have circulated regarding Hale's status. There was chatter at the beginning of May, as the team staggered their way to a 12-18 start. However, the Diamondbacks then won five in a row, coming back to Phoenix with a winning road-trip, and Hale's job security having apparently picked up a couple of health potions on the way. At the time, MLB.com's Steve Gilbert boldly predicted, "Chip will be manager at 40-game mark and the 162-game mark." He was right regarding the first, but with the team sporting the third-worst record in the National League, it remains to be seen if his latter prediction is equally accurate.
Nevin as a replacement is an interesting choice. He was one of the candidates for the position in the wake of Kirk Gibson's departure at the end of 2014, and has been handling things for the team's Triple-A affiliate in Reno since 2014. He managed them to a record of 81-63 in 2014, a 70-74 mark last year, and the Aces are currently 53-45, so he is currently in possession of a 204-182 record overall. Personally, I'd prefer him over the obvious in-house candidate of Matt Williams. However, there remains the possibility Nevin would have the job on an interim basis, with a full search taking place after the end of the season.
Of course, it's legitimate to ask whether the problems with the 2016 Diamondbacks can be addressed by replacing the hand on the helm, or if the need for change goes a good deal deeper...