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Tony La Russa to depart Arizona Diamondbacks

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The Arizona Diamondbacks have announced that Chief Baseball Analyst Tony La Russa will depart the organization at the end of the month. The Hall of Fame manager served as the club’s Chief Baseball Officer from 2015-16.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

“I am grateful to everyone in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization for the opportunity to complete my baseball education,” said La Russa. “After years in uniform and working with the Commissioner and many special members of Major League Baseball, being a part of the D-backs was both exciting and educational. The challenges facing baseball operations, player development and scouting are unique, as it’s a 24-7, 12-month job and more demanding than I ever realized. The success in 2017 was a complete team effort throughout the organization -- including great support from our fans -- and with the current leadership in place, we can expect it to be the foundation for many winning years to come.”

“Tony’s contributions have played a significant role in helping put our franchise on the path to success and for that, we are all very grateful,” said D-backs Managing General Partner Ken Kendrick. “He has always represented the team with class and has left a mark on the franchise that will benefit us for years to come.”

“I would like to thank Tony for all of his contributions to our baseball operations and our community during his time here,” said D-backs President & CEO Derrick Hall. “Having his Hall of Fame credentials, vast experience and knowledge of the game as resources to rely upon and learn from has been tremendous. The transition to the new leadership team has been smooth and flawless with his willingness and positivity. I will forever value his hard work and our friendship.”

“Tony has been of great value to me, personally, and our staff during the past season, and I’m very appreciative for all that he has done here and the manner in which he handled the transition,” said D-backs Executive Vice President and General Manager Mike Hazen. “I always had respect for him and his accomplishments prior to working with him every day and that has only grown in the past year. I wish him and his family nothing but the best in the future.”
— Diamondbacks press release

This doesn’t come as a surprise. La Russa had effectively been sidelined since the departure of Dave Stewart at the end of the last season, with very little being heard from him since the new front-office took over. It almost feels as if La Russa had been gently put out to pasture, in deference to his remarkable career as a manager and position as a baseball icon. Anyone else might well have been give a cardboard box and told to pack his things. The quote from him that the job was “more demanding than I ever realized” was perhaps particularly telling. His time here will stand as evidence that dugout savvy does not necessarily translate into front-office skills.