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How hot is Torey Lovullo’s seat?

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The final year of his contract is not going very well

Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

I felt obligated to ask Torey a tough question last night. I pointed out that in the past he said he didn’t ever get ejected to try to “fire up the troops” and presuming that wasn’t the case, it seemed like getting tossed while up 2-1 in the middle of a near must win game had the opposite effect on the mindset of the team. He owned up that it was a screw-up, but it was somewhat awkward and difficult for both me and for him.

Torey Lovullo audio [or link]

I later had this Text exchange with a friend:

Me: I feel bad sometimes for the questions we have to ask. I think of all the times I screw up on a daily basis... if I had to answer in front of thousands of people every day for my screw-ups I would not handle it well.

Friend: People don’t pay you over $1 million like they do him. But I understand your point.

Me: Sure, it’s part of his job and he’s well paid... but it’s really no less emotionally draining or stressful. I was paid pretty well when I was in China... I hated being challenged on video conferences by bosses and stakeholders back in the states for the screwups we had going on in the factories in China. Especially since most of the time the people challenging me had far less information and understanding of what was going on. It made me feel like crap... I put up with it because I wanted to keep the job. But not once did I FEEL ....”this isn’t so bad because I make a lot of money”

Friend: Fair Point

Obviously my friend was humoring my guilty conscious a bit....LOL. I’m just doing my job, and Torey is a big boy and all. But still, it didn’t feel great doing it. That’s beside the point though really. I’m not the story here. Torey is. Managers are hired to be fired. Very, very few have a decade or longer with one team. They are always on the chopping block. They are well compensated, and none of them want to give up their jobs, despite the pressures. There are only 30 of them.

One last parallel I draw from my own experiences: When I worked in China I oversaw the operations of a major athletic footwear brand. But we didn’t own the factories. We oversaw what they did, monitored the quality and delivery, coordinated between design in USA and the product development and engineering teams in the factories. We also monitored their compliance on worker safety and human rights issues. But we didn’t CONTROL what the factories did on a daily basis. They were separately owned and managed. (This is the same for all brands buying shoes in Asia, virtually none of the Asia factories are owned by the brands) All we could do was monitor, communicate, try to guide and correct them where needed, and report back to corporate office in the States.

One of the big frustrations I had was the factory selection with the larger brands was determined by my superiors back in the USA. They determined who we worked with and who got the most orders. Often times I did not agree with those decisions. Sometimes they were obviously agenda driven, other times the result of some faulty interpretation of performance data. Just as often it was simply about price and who was the cheapest. (You see where I’m going here) .

No matter what decisions they made back in the USA however, my job was to carry out company policy, and do the best I possibly could with the hand I was dealt. The quality of the product, the on time delivery of the product, and the adherence to compliance were all my accountabilities.

It’s a little bit like that for the manager. He has to work with the roster he has and he can’t get in the box or on the mound. So many of the key decisions are made by others, and he has to do the best he can with it. Some handle it better than others. Sometimes the manager and coaches do a better job and sometimes they don’t. Last night felt like one of the times they didn’t. It’s easy for us armchair managers to pick at things we deem to be mistakes or poor performance of course. That’s the nature of fandom and pundits alike. But our opinions don’t matter so much. Sooner or later the manager might have to pay for the mistakes of the people whose opinions DO matter as much as his own.

Right now the fire is outside Torey’s door. Whether or not the slew of injuries creates enough of a firewall for him to get an extension and keep his job for another year or two remains to be seen. But one thing is for certain, if Torey is let go, and a new manager is hired, then the fire moves on and will be outside Mike Hazen’s door.

Poll

What should the Diamondbacks do with Torey

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    Replace him as soon as possible
    (108 votes)
  • 30%
    Extend him as soon as possible
    (128 votes)
  • 10%
    Evaluate in another month or two
    (43 votes)
  • 33%
    Evaluate at the end of the year
    (140 votes)
419 votes total Vote Now