Torey Lovullo -- the longest-tenured manager in Diamondbacks history, and a survivor of the miserable 2021 season -- will lead the club in 2023. The Diamondbacks have picked up his option for next year.https://t.co/TqzXUAmJuS— Zach Buchanan (@ZHBuchanan) August 30, 2022
This news is not terribly surprising. The team has been playing better of late. Hell, the team actually has a very good chance of making it to 72 wins or more on the season. If they manage to complete that feat, they will have improved by 20 games or more over last season’s dismal record. Sure, some of that was bound to happen simply due to regression. It is incredibly difficult to suck that badly for consecutive seasons. Still the 2019-present team has seemed like the sort that was one back break away from defying the odds and managing to lose 100+ again this season.
Clearly, as this team is still all but certain to finish double-digit games under .500, there is still a ton of work to be done. However, as we have seen over the last four months, the future for this team does seem to be getting brighter. This, despite the poor hand Lovullo was dealt in terms of roster construction by the front office. Plenty can be said about Lovullo’s poor results coming from the bullpen. However, it is quite difficult to make a right/good decision when there are zero quality candidates to choose from. Hopefully, as the team continues to embrace the youth movement, that situation will change and Lovullo will actually have some mostly reliable arms to call on down in the bullpen.
One of the Lovullo’s stronger qualities that Mike Hazen has mentioned on numerous occasions is Lovullo’s abilities as a player developer. With the future of this franchise now being placed in the hands of the likes of Corbin Carroll, Daulton Varsho, and others, having a developmental manager at the helm seems like the wise course of action. Not every skipper works well with young, developing talent. Some just don’t have the patience. Others, tend to be too relaxed, attempting to keep the young players loose in such a stressful environment. It takes a certain kind of manager to help build a team from the ground up, which is essentially what Lovullo has been tasked with doing since the end of the 2018 season.
Looking around today’s game, I can count on one hand the number of candidates I would look to over Lovullo to take the helm. When looking at the various situations, it is not difficult to say that Arizona has almost zero chance of landing any of those potential candidates. As a team just now coming into the payoff of a rebuild/overhaul, this is not the time to turn to an inexperienced, new face. Nor is it the time to pursue a multi-failure retread. The players know Lovullo. They know what is expected. Furthermore, the important pieces for Arizona’s future have done well under Lovullo’s guidance and the guidance of the coaching staff.
Moving forward, both Mike Hazen and Torey Lovullo should expect a much higher bar to clear. If this coaching and management group is to survive beyond 2023, the team is going to need to make noticeable strides towards contention in 2023. A .500 record should likely be considered the baseline expectation. That sort of expectation should challenge Lovullo’s developmental skills. He is going to need further development from the young, dynamic outfield he now has at his disposal. Tommy Henry, Brandon Pfaadt, and others will need to likewise take another big step forward, helping to eliminate some of the pitching volatility this team has experienced for two years now.
There is still a ton of work to be done. The 2023 season is going to be make-or-break for many aspects of the organization. Torey Lovullo is likely in that category. But, if Lovullo proves himself up to the task, it would not be surprising if the club drops a three-year deal on him next October to lock him up for what will then be a full decade of guiding the team.
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Torey Lovullo audio
Torey Lovullo’s reaction to his extension today:
A humbled and grateful Torey Lovullo addressed the media today to discuss having his option picked up for the 2023 season, expressing gratitude to Mike Hazen and Ken Kendrick and Derek Hall. He said he was determined not to let them down.
“This is my home. My wife and I love the valley, I couldn’t think of a better position to be in with great ownership and great leadership. The rest is up to the players and they’re great players.”
Lovullo also thanked his coaching staff for the trust in him and the effort and work they put in.
“It’s not easy after you win 52 games and come out and talk about your philosophies working or wanting them to work, or expecting them to work. But this group believed in me and I got a chance to thank them each….. we’re moving forward. This organization has a lot of really good things to look forward to, but I want to make sure we’re not happy with where we’re at today. We’ve got a long way to go”
He also conceded that he is a different manager and person than he was 5 ½ years ago when he first came here. He mentioned that he is more willing to “get after” the players and coaches as needed.
Torey only found out about the option getting picked up today during a brief phone call with Mike Hazen around 10:30 this morning. Asked if he were given any specific reasons why they thought he deserved this honor he said not really, the conversations were very short. He went on to joke he must have a lot of good qualities.