Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Arizona Diamondbacks are considering firing manager Chip Hale. Rosenthal adds that Reno Aces (Arizona’s AAA affiliate) manager and former big leaguer Phil Nevin would replace Hale. Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart said, “I can’t comment on the rumors”:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 22, 2016
The Diamondbacks are in last place in the NL West with a 40-55 record, after a highly questioned all-in offseason.
They gave up WAY too much for starting pitcher Shelby Miller, and that deal only looks (much) worse with Miller basically being MLB’s worst starting pitcher this season. He was even sent down to Triple-A recently.
Arizona also gave Zack Greinke a six-year, $206 million (!) contract, and while Greinke has been good (3.62 ERA, 3.49 FIP in 109 1/3 IP), he hasn’t met the expectations of that contract (and hey, he didn’t give himself that money). He’s also currently hurt.
Then go back to the 2014-15 offseason, when the Diamondbacks gave Yasmany Tomas a six-year, $68.5 million contract. He has been worth negative value in each of his first two seasons with the Diamondbacks (per FanGraphs: -1.3 WAR in 2015, -0.4 in 2016).
Making matters worse, the Diamondbacks have had rough luck with injuries. I already mentioned how Greinke is currently on the disabled list, and star center fielder A.J. Pollock (6.6 WAR per FanGraphs in 2015) hasn’t played a game due to a fractured elbow suffered three games before Opening Day. Ender Inciarte would’ve been a fine replacement for Pollock in center field, but whoops, Inciarte went to the Braves in the Shelby Miller deal.
So, it shouldn’t be surprising that Arizona is a terrible team this season, and guess what: None of this is Chip Hale’s fault! It’s simply been the result of bad roster moves and some bad luck (the injuries, and Shelby Miller shouldn’t be this bad). If there is anyone to blame — and there is — it’s the front office.
Maybe Hale really isn’t a very good manager. But this team would still be terrible even with a Joe Maddon or Bruce Bochy running the ballclub, and it’s unfair to put much into the job Hale’s done with what he’s had to work with this season.
Someone with the Diamondbacks should indeed be fired, but unfortunately it appears that someone is going to be the one doing the firing: Dave Stewart.