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Diamondbacks Extend Manager Torey Lovullo for 2022 with an option for 2023

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A surprise announcement this morning

Arizona Diamondbacks v Seattle Mariners Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The Arizona Diamondbacks announced this morning that Torey Lovullo has been given a contract extension for 2022 with an option for 2023.

The decision may come as a surprise to some, considering the team’s current 48-104 record, tied for the worst in MLB. However it has been a year of injuries and oddities, and the team roster has clearly been outgunned.

Said Mike Hazen:

“Through Everything the season has presented, Torey did a good job getting us through this … even in a season where we might set a franchise-worst record.”

“I am the one who charted the course we were going to go,” Hazen said. “I’m not a martyr. I need to be honest where things have gone.”

Hazen also praised Torey saying he feels like he does a good job of managing a baseball game.

“I have seen him improve as a manager. I think he does a good job of running a game and running a bullpen”

Another point for Hazen was Torey’s player development background and he feels like he’s the right manager to help guide young players.

He made the decision 7-10 days ago, and spent the last few days working out details, coming to contractual agreement yesterday.

(Hat tip @JackMagruder for sharing the quotes with me as I was not able to be on the call)

The 56 year old Lovullo is in his 5th year managing the Diamondbacks. The team made the playoffs in his first season in 2017 when he won manager of the year. After two more season above .500 the team has struggle

So what say ye AZSnakepit

Poll

Was Extending Torey Lovullo the right move ?

This poll is closed

  • 62%
    Yes, he does a good job, 2021 not his fault
    (87 votes)
  • 37%
    No, he does a poor job, 2021 is his fault
    (52 votes)
139 votes total Vote Now

Below is the full transcript of Mike Hazen’s call with the media and also HERE IS AUDIO LINK with reactions from Torey and Madison Bumgarner and Josh Rojas. I asked Torey about the word “accountability” and what that means to him and the players. Madbum and Rojas , the grizzled vet and the young player both spoke in glowing terms about how they like to play for Torey.

TRANSCRIPT

We’ve had a lot of conversations and we feel like Torey is still, even through all the things we’ve gone through this year, has maintained stability and structure around what we’re going to try to accomplish moving forward. I think he does a very good job of managing a baseball game, I think to the degree that — obviously the results are the results — I think that I have to take some reflection and some introspection on where some of those things fell down for us this year and where that’s going to impact us moving forward. I think that in a lot of cases we could just sort of start over and I don’t necessarily believe that holistically that was the right decision for us to make right now.

(when) It’s been happening over the last few days, but really in the last day or so. We’ve had conversations about where things went this year. Where we’re standing right now is not the result of the team that we anticipated coming out of spring training being where we are. That, I think in a lot of ways, that’s a tougher pill to swallow for how we’re evaluating what’s happening. There’s a number of reasons for that. I felt like even through everything that this season has presented, Torey did a good job of getting us through that, outside of the win/loss record. Ultimately the win/loss record decides where things go moving forward. I think one of the pieces I talked about earlier in the season when you guys asked me in the middle of the year, I was the one that charted the course for where we were going to go from a competition standpoint this year. There’s no absolving where we’re at, everyone is involved in how we got to where we got to today. This isn’t absolving anybody of any responsibility for any of that. We’re going to continue to dig into that as we move into the offseason. But to the degree that the division was set up the way it was set up, our intent has always been to continue to compete if at all possible, while we’re going through this phase of bringing up a lot of our younger players. That burned on us this year. It didn’t work out how we needed it to.

(when did you personally decide) Probably a week, 10 days ago. We had been having some conversation over a period of time. We had to work through some of the contractual stuff, etc. We kind of came to the agreement yesterday.

(see him improve?) I have seen him improve as a manager. I think he does a good job of running a game and running a bullpen. That’s a piece to being a good manager in my mind. I think he has been very proactive with a lot of our younger players. He does a great job with the veteran players, but he’s also been very proactive with a lot of our younger players. I just think that’s going to be the ultimate deciding factor for us here is how we take our young guys and put them in positions of being very good players at the major league level, a collection of them, and then certainly there’s going to be a piece of how we build a bullpen and add from the outside, that’s always going to be a piece to any successful club, there’s no true homegrown team anywhere outthere, so we’re still going ot hve to execute form the external. Those are the areas I’ve seen. He hasn’t had as much of that over the last few yeasr. We have trended pretty much veteran club the last few years. The last, really, year, even last year’s team was a veteran team that we ended up giving some young players opportunity in September. This was the first team where we’ve really tried to integrate a lot of our younger players on our club.

(PD background) I think a player development background works at every level for a manger. I think it gives perspective on what young players need to go through. I think it gives them more of a toolbox in terms of where guys need to be pushed and where guys need to sort of take your foot off them a little bit in terms of what you’re asking them to do. I think we’re addressed some of those issues that I’ve thrown to him, asking him to play guys — recommending is more a better way of putting it — recommending playing guys that might be out of position or versatility-wise and things like that. I think all of those things he’s very well suited to tackle and handle and he does a really good job with it, in my opinion. That’s going to translate into what we’re trying to do moving forward. What’s happened this season is unacceptable at every level, starting mostly with me, but at this point we need to focus on where this thing is going to swing up and that’s the starting point for where this thing is going to swing up.

Look, I don’t want to get too bogged down into 2023. We’re sitting where we are in 2021 and we have a lot of work to be done between now and then. Next year you can ask me all about 2023. I’m not going to get too far down the road here. We are working to strategically plot the next 12 months. We have an idea and a vision beyond 12 months, but we are looking to strategically plot for 12 months. He’s going to be the guy to lead us. We are very happy about that and we think he’s going to do a really good job.

(not pass buck) I’m not a martyr here. I’m not trying to have it come across that way. But I need to be honest about where things have gone for us this year. I think the easiest thing for a manger would be for me to go out in spring training in some ways and say expectations are off. We just haven’t done that. I don’t really love that in a sense of removing expectations for what we could do. I think it limits a team in what they’re ultimately able to achieve, whether it’s due to payroll or whether it’s due to where you’re at in your cycle. I don’t want to build in excuses for what we can or cannot do. I think when I’m stepping back and making decisions, I have to be realistic and say what the Giants and Dodgers specifically did this year with regard to where their win total is going tobe, I didn’t build a 100-win team, and I have to be honest about that. So to the degree that Torey bears the brunt of that, I have to be honest about that. I think as it relates to the things that I have more full control over, and I’ve specifically mentioned the bullpen, that has been an area of our performance that I have the most control over in terms of personnel and all that and you’ve seen what’s happened out there. That’s a part I have to take responsibly for. I think that I have, in reflecting on this, that is a piece to this evaluation. But I don’t want it to minimize a lot of the strengths and the reasons why we think he’s the right guy moving forward. He’s demonstrated a lot of things even in a season when we may set the franchise worst record. I think that’s important. You learn a lot about somebody through those periods, too. He’s never take his focus off what’s best for the organization while trying to push to win every single game. I think that’s important as well.

(change for change sake?) I think a couple things with that. That’s fair. I think there’s a degree of putting words in my mouth that are accurate. It’s a little different than that for me: I’m not a change to make change type of person, the concept of a new message, I’m not sure that over a baseball season, a full baseball season, that necessarily the manager’s message is swinging games by the degree that we swung this year. I think that puts too much power in that seat. As much power as that seat has, I think it’s too much power in that seat. You have to manage what — guys are on the DL and we’re calling guys up from Triple — you have to manage those players. That’s a piece to it. Like I said, there’s criticism to go around. Plenty. There’s no absolution anywhere. There’s not a part of the process that we’re not going to ask hard questions about. I just think that starting over from zero is also not necessarily the most clear-cut vision, knowing what we have in Torey in all the ways we feel like he’s going to make us better.

(other changes) Look, we’re going to get into all that stuff here. Torey is going to make decisions on some parts of all this. From a coaching/infrastructure standpoint at the major league level, that’s more what he’s in charge of, and so I am going to yield to him on exactly what he wants to do there. As far as the front office goes, I’m not exactly sure what types of changes we would be envisioning right now. There are going to be things that we are going to present to Ken & Derrick that we would like to make changes to, yes, from a either philosophically, structurally or otherwise, in how we are operating to improve our process — our decision making process, our acquisition process and ultimately our coaching process , at the major league level and the minor league level. That is an area that is fairly comprehensive and that we are 100 percent going to be taking hard looks at. We’ve started some of those conversations but we still have a litlte bit of time before we’re going to make any real major changes.

(converstaions with Torey) I’m not going to get into any conversations that we had. Certainly in a season like this, it is a very challenging environment for everybody involved. There is no one that doesn’t eat, sleep and drink this in the clubhouse or front office or ownership on down, and this was a season that was extremely hard to navigate. We made the decision to play through the season and not have the focus be on any of those things. Knowing that those are always real things for everybody. I just don’t think as the season was going on, me giving reassurances was intellectually honest from not seeing through the process and then really sitting down and figuring out what we want to do moving forward. I know that can be a harder way to go about things, but we’re on a pace of games that we’re on, we owe it to ownership to give recommnendaitons that are in the best interest of the organization, period. I tried to do that through a lot of information gathering, tried to have a process around it and not just react at times. There were plenty of reactive moments during the season given the amount of games that we lost, but we tried to remove some of that stuff.