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Tag:Arizona Diamondbacks
Posted on: June 2, 2011 4:54 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2011 5:24 pm
 

Short Hops: Is it the bratwurst in Milwaukee?

Short hops, backhanded stops and quick pops:

-- The Brewers have climbed into second place in the NL Central thanks to ... their own beds? All that bratwurst? Milwaukee is 21-7 at Miller Park, the club's best home record EVER after 28 games. But at 9-19 on the road, the Brewers are the worst in the NL. Manager Ron Roenicke is not yet a believer in the trend, figuring "if we go three months into" the season and things don't change, then it's a problem. One reason the Brewers' road mark could be skewed: They opened with 21 of 34 games on the road, including an 11-game trip and a 10-game trip during a cold and wet spring. Assuming they stay in contention, look out for the Brewers in September: They finish with 14 of 25 games at home.

-- Milwaukee right-hander Shaun Marcum, though stuck with a no-decision in Cincinnati on Wednesday night (and though teammate Zack Greinke has received more pub for fewer starts), has pitched like an All-Star. He's allowed one run or fewer in six of his 12 starts. "He wasn't under my radar," Roenicke says. "He's the same guy I've seen pitch in Toronto. He was in the toughest division in baseball, for me. That league can flat-out hit. If you can pitch in that division, you can pitch anywhere."

-- Maybe if a team can get through the early part of a game without genuflecting to the big, bad, Yankees, it'll have a chance: New York has pummeled opponents 83-44 over the first two innings of games this year, according to STATS LLC. The Yankees are outscoring their opposition 43-16 in the first innings.

-- Clint Hurdle for manager of the year? Pittsburgh winning its 17th road game on Wednesday night ... matching the Pirates' total for all of 2010 (17-64). They're 17-14 away from PNC Park so far in 2011.

-- Kirk Gibson for manager of the year? When Arizona moved into first place in the NL West after being 6 1/2 games back through April 30, the Diamondbacks became the first team in major league history to take sole possession of first place in their league (before 1969) or in their division (since 1969) during May after starting the month at least 6 1/2 back.

-- What's up with St. Louis' Chris Carpenter, an annual Cy Young candidate who is 1-5 with a 4.52 ERA over 12 starts? "I've been up and down all year," he says, pointing to one basic element for a pitcher that he's still battling: Fastball command.

-- Lance Berkman on his experience with Cardinals manager Tony La Russa this year: "Love him. He's great. He's such a players' guy. When you think of Tony La Russa, being a players' manager is not the first thing that jumps through your head. At least, not from watching him from the other side. But he's got a bunch of guys here who will run through a wall for him."

-- One significant difference between this year's Cardinals and last year's: The clubhouse atmosphere is far better in 2011. The stuff with Colby Rasmus has blown over. The presence of Berkman, in addition to that of Matt Holliday, has really helped. "He's unbelievable," Cards GM John Mozeliak says of Berkman. "He's a gentleman and a class act. I've really enjoyed getting to know him."

-- That the Yankees' Russell Martin currently is the AL All-Star leader at catcher is attention-grabbing. But the fact that Martin actually is deserving of consideration speaks more toward the dearth of quality catching than it
does to Martin's prowess.

-- Most productive designated hitters: Red Sox (.315 combined average, 34 runs scored, .565 slugging percentage), Royals (.302, 31, .394 on-base percentage) and Indians (.299, 27 runs, .510 slugging). Least productive? Yankees (.185, 21 runs, .350 slugging), White Sox (.234, 21, .383 slugging) and Mariners (.242, 15, .328 slugging).

-- At 17-37, the Twins are 20 games below .500 for the first time since the end of the 2000 season (69-93).

-- Nate McLouth's strained oblique had better heal quick. The Braves' Jordan Schaffer is opening many eyes with his spectacular play in center field.

-- So what is retired Braves manager Bobby Cox doing? He spent a nice summer's evening last week at the Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band's Atlanta show on the Welcome to Finland tour.

Likes: Former big leaguer Darin Erstad taking the job as head baseball coach at his beloved alma mater, Nebraska. ... Ian O'Connor's new book, The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter. ... Also, for you Giants fans, Worth The Wait, written by Brian Murphy and largely photographed by Brad Mangin, is beautifully done. ... The story on how Roger Ailes built the Fox news fear factory in the current issue of Rolling Stone. ... Professor Longhair's Rock and Roll Gumbo.

Dislikes: If it's anything like this, Michigan's "throwback" jersey for the night game against Notre Dame this Sept. 10 might make the game unwatchable.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Good luck had just stung me
"To the race track I did go
"She bet on one horse to win
"And I bet on another to show
"Odds were in my favor
"I had him five to one
"When that nag to win came around the track
"Sure enough he had won
"I took up all of my winnings
"And I gave my little Bessie half
"And she tore it up and blew it in my face
"Just for a laugh
"Now there's one thing in the whole wide world
I sure would like to see
"That's when that little love of mine
"Dips her doughnut in my tea"

-- The Band, Up On Cripple Creek




Posted on: December 9, 2010 7:23 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2010 7:25 pm
 

Winter meetings: Parting shots

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- If I hear one more plastic Christmas song over the irritating speakers here at the Walt Disney Swan & Dolphin Resort before heading to the Mouse City Airport for the trip home, I'm going to. ...

Sorry, lost my head there for a moment.

What I meant to say was, a couple of quick parting thoughts as the Winter Meetings wrap up. ...

IN A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN

Red Sox: It's not even close. The acquisitions of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford make them more dangerous

RUNNERS-UP

White Sox: In U.S. Cellular Field, the country-strong Adam Dunn might hit 75 homers (OK, so I exaggerate, but just a bit). In the returning Paul Konerko, the White Sox have their soul back. Another nicely done job by the ultra-aggressive general manager Kenny Williams, his right-hand man Rick Hahn and, yes, owner Jerry Reinsdorf in arranging the funding to bring in both Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko.

Diamondbacks: Turn new GM Kevin Towers loose for his first winter meetings in charge of the D-backs, and already Arizona's bullpen -- historically bad in 2010 -- is better. The Snakes signed J.J. Putz to close and acquired Daniel Hernandez and Kam Mickolio from the Orioles. And clearly, that's just the start.

LOSERS

Rays: The mass exodus has begun for the poor Rays. Left fielder Carl Crawford signed with Boston (seven years, $142 million), first baseman Carlos Pena with the Cubs (one year, $10 million), set-up man Joaquin Benoit with Detroit (three years, $16.5 million), shortstop Jason Bartlett was traded to San Diego and free agent closer Rafael Soriano is on deck to leave.

Of the eight pitchers who threw the most relief innings for manager Joe Maddon last year, seven of them are free agents. And of the total number of relief innings pitched, those seven accounted for 78 percent of those innings. Yikes.

Orioles: Not only did AL East-rival Boston become exponentially better, but the Orioles were stonewalled every which way they turned looking to acquire a first baseman (Pena, Dunn, Konerko). Then outfielder Luke Scott showed up at the winter meetings and shot his mouth off in a Yahoo Sports interview that started about his deer hunting and wound up with Scott saying he thought President Obama was born outside of the United States and that Obama "does not represent America. Nor does he represent anything what our forefathers stood for." The Orioles rushed to put out a news release distancing the club from Scott's comments. Not exactly your typical winter meetings strategy. On the other hand, the Orioles finally got a shortstop by acquiring J.J. Hardy from the Twins, and a third baseman by acquiring Mark Reynolds from the Diamondbacks.

Athletics: Reminiscent of Baltimore back in the day when then-GM Syd Thrift became so flustered at failing to land impact free agents that he said if was as he were trying to spend Confederate money. It was like that for Oakland when free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre essentially ignored a five-year, $64 million offer until the A's pulled it. Oakland also lost designated hitter Jack Cust, who signed with Seattle. The A's are desperate for offense. They likely will wind up with free agent DH Hideki Matsui, who is earnest and hard-working but can't play much anymore, or Vladimir Guerrero if he doesn’t return to Texas.

Posted on: December 6, 2010 3:52 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2010 4:24 pm
 

"Highly unlikely Justin Upton leaves the desert"

While the Diamondbacks shipped out third baseman Mark Reynolds and his 211 strikeouts in trading him to Baltimore on Monday, Arizona general manager Kevin Towers said outfielder Justin Upton probably will not follow him out of town.

"It was going to take a lot to move him," Towers said. "He's a young player, 23, he'll only get better with time.

"If someone is willing to overpay, then maybe. We're not one player away. We'll have a better idea when we leave here, but I'd say it's highly unlikely that Justin Upton leaves the desert."

Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks, on a mission to fix a horrible bullpen, moved toward agreeing to a two-year deal with free agent J.J. Putz to serve as their new closer, according to sources with knowledge of the talks.

The Diamondbacks were among the most active teams as the winter meetings started on Monday. Immediately after announcing the Reynolds trade, Towers said the Snakes have agreed on a one-year deal with free agent third baseman Melvin Mora. In replacing Reynolds, the Diamondbacks currently project Mora and Geoff Blum to split time at third.

Meantime, the Reynolds deal was the first move in Towers' stab at rebuilding what was one of the worst bullpens in the last half-century in 2010. Coming to Arizona for Reynolds are right-hander Daniel Hernandez, the former starter, and right-hander Kam Mickolio.

"Believe me, it was on my mind that when you're dealing with Kevin Towers, you're dealing with the foremost bullpen expert in our business," Orioles president and general manager Andy MacPhail said.

"I like power arms, and we had [Hernandez] up to 98 m.p.h.," Towers said. "And in the pen we saw a power spike. He has huge sink down in the zone, and he can pitch above the belt because of his velocity."

Towers also likes the "downward angle" the 6-foot-9 Hernandez brings to the mound.

The new Arizona GM called this deal the first move in the process of overhauling the Diamondbacks bullpen. He also said he is confident that the club will leave the winter meetings this week with a new closer. Looks like Putz is on deck.

Posted on: September 29, 2010 10:51 pm
 

Kirk Gibson, from TV to Arizona manager

Sometime over the next several days, new Arizona general manager Kevin Towers is expected to remove the "interim" tag on manager Kirk Gibson's title. The Diamondbacks, according to sources, are on the verge of negotiating a two-year contract with Gibson and will name him as the full-time skipper.

For this, Gibson can thank ... former Detroit teammate Alan Trammell?

In a small way, yes.

Gibson was working as a television broadcaster when the Tigers named Trammell manager before the 2003 season. It was Trammell who recruited Gibson into coaching.

Aside from a longtime close friendship, what did Trammell see that he thought would make Gibson a successful coach?

"I've known him since I first got into pro ball," said Trammell, now the Cubs' bench coach. "Intensity. I've never met anybody quite like him. He has a football mentality that he's able to channel into baseball."

Gibson, who was an All-American flanker at Michigan State, was drafted 12th overall by the Tigers in 1978. Trammell was drafted by the Tigers two years earlier, and the two first were teammates in Detroit in 1979.

"Bo Jackson was quite good," Trammell says, recalling other notable football players on the baseball diamond. "And Deion Sanders. Kirk made the decision to go away from football completely, but he kept that mentality. Everything was a challenge to him.

"Coming into our situation [in Detroit in '03], we all were somewhat new. I knew we needed to have some energy. The team needed a lot of work. And I wanted coaches who would work."

The Cubs were in Phoenix to play the Diamondbacks just before the All-Star break, right after Gibson was named as the interim manager to replace the fired A.J. Hinch, and Trammell has spoken with his buddy only a couple of times since. Each has his hands full with his own team.

Gibson spent three seasons as Trammell's bench coach in Detroit. The staff was let go following the 2005 season.

Trammell joined the Cubs as Lou Piniella's bench coach in 2007. The same year, Gibson signed on with Arizona as Bob Melvin's bench coach.

What kind of manager does Trammell think Gibson will be if he sticks around longer than as just the interim guy?

"I think he'd be more than fine," Trammell says. "If he gets an opportunity to implement what he wants, and if people are willing to listen to him and pay the price. And by pay the price, I mean doing things for the team.

"That's the beauty of Gibby. You talk to him about his success as a player, he doesn't want any part of it. It's the team. That goes back to how we were all brought up by Sparky Anderson.

"I'm pulling for him. I hope he gets the opportunity."

If he does, there is lots of speculation that Trammell will wind up on his staff in Arizona after being bypassed for Mike Quade to manage the Cubs after Piniella's sudden departure this summer. Trammell says he has seen the speculation but is not thinking about 2011 right now, other than knowing that whatever he does, he wants to keep wearing the big-league uniform.

Likes: Good for Cito Gaston as the Blue Jays honored him Wednesday night in Toronto. What a class act. Very nice touch that so many of his former players -- Joe Carter, Pat Hentgen, George Bell and others -- returned for the festivities.

Dislikes: Goodbye Gene Orza, and good riddance. As Don Fehr's right-hand man and attack dog for the players' union, the arrogant Orza, who is stepping down as chief operating officer, mostly just muddied the waters wherever he went. His behavior during the Steroid Era was reprehensible, claiming in 2004 that steroids "are no worse than cigarettes."

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"I was pourin’ out my troubles
"To a stranger in the bar
"About the problems and the pressures
"On a country music star
"Half braggin’, half complainin’
"About the money and the fame
"And just how lonely life can be
"When you’ve made yourself a name
"I said, Would you like a drink?
"He said, Thanks, I’ll have a double
"I’ve worked up a powerful thirst
"Just listening to all your troubles
"And while he makes that drink
"I’ll smoke one if you got ‘em
"It might be lonely at the top,
"But it's a bitch at the bottom"

-- Jamey Johnson, Lonely at the Top

 

Posted on: September 23, 2010 5:26 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2010 5:28 pm
 

New Arizona blueprint: Less whiffs, better pen

New Arizona general manager Kevin Towers does not look at the Diamondbacks' situation as a major rebuild. And if things go the way he would like them to, among the first results you'll see is a team with an improved bullpen and, after a record-setting performance (non-performance?) this year, hitters who strike out much less.

The Diamondbacks all season have had the worst pen in the majors. But on Towers' first day as club GM Wednesday -- and with him in the stands -- the Diamondbacks set a new major-league single-season record for strikeouts.

The record breaker was Stephen Drew's whiff against Colorado's Jorge De La Rosa for 1,400 -- surpassing the 2001 Milwaukee Brewers' mark of 1,399. The Diamondbacks finished the game at 1,400.

"Power numbers come with strikeouts, but I think it's a little excessive," Towers was saying in the hours before the game. "I haven't had a lot of time to spend with [hitting coach] Jack Howell, but I do believe we can cut down on the strikeouts.

"Recognizing pitches better, knowing your hot zone. Guys might be pressing. There isn't a ton of experience, and sometimes guys press and change their swings.

"We'll come up with a plan for each and every guy, and hopefully cut down on strikeouts."

Three Diamondbacks currently reside in the top 10 among NL strikeout leaders: Mark Reynolds (first, 204), Adam LaRoche (fifth, 159) and Justin Upton (eighth, 152).

Five D-backs reside in the top 14 among NL strikeout leaders: The aforementioned trio plus Chris Young (tied for 12th, 136) and Kelly Johnson (14th, 135).

It's a trend that has become more alarming with each passing year: While this year's club already has set a record for most strikeouts, the 2009 D-backs ranks 10th all-time (1,298 strikeouts) and the '08 club ranks 11th all-time (1,287).

As for the bullpen, the Diamondbacks' is historically bad. Not only is the 5.76 bullpen ERA the worst in the majors, the numbers are among the worst of any bullpen over the past 50 years.

Among his priorities, Towers lists "improving the bullpen, improving the bench and improving the starting pitching depth." He praised key position players already in place, naming catcher Miguel Montero, shortstop Stephen Drew, center fielder Chris Young and second baseman Kelly Johnson among the assets.

That all of those players play up the middle, where all good clubs must be strong, is heartening to Towers.

Among the starting pitchers, Towers singles out for praise Ian Kennedy, Joey Enright and Daniel Hudson.

Towers historically built stellar bullpens during his 14 years in San Diego, and though he noted part of that was because he had closer Trevor Hoffman for 12 years and Heath Bell for two, that will be the goal in Arizona. Towers mentions delving into the free agent market, the international free agent market, looking at minor-league six-year free agents, every avenue available.

"I don't think this is a situation where we'll have to wait a couple of years," Towers said. "My hope is to be next year's Padres."

Likes: Lots of people think the Dodgers have packed it in given their uninspired play (and given James Loney telling the Los Angeles Times this week that at times this year other teams have played harder than the Dodgers), but you can't accuse manager Joe Torre of quitting. He's shuffled his rotation to make sure Clayton Kershaw gets a start against the Rockies next week. The Giants, Padres and even Braves surely appreciate that. ... Atlanta's Matt Diaz tripping the fan who was running around the field like an idiot in Philadelphia the other night. ... This blog on Derek Jeter from the YES Network's Jack Curry. ... San Francisco traveling to Colorado this weekend, and there's nothing like a hot rivalry stoked by conspiracy theories. ... This obituary on Leonard Skinner, an old Florida high school phys ed teacher -- and the namesake for band Lynyrd Skynyrd. ... And if you've ever used the term "so-and-so has jumped the shark", you owe it to yourself to read this first-person account from the man who, yes, wrote the Happy Days episode in which Fonzie jumped the shark.

Dislikes: Love Tina Fey. Love Steve Carrell. Date Night? Do not love it. In fact, did not even like it. Disliked it so much I yanked it out of my DVD player halfway through the other night.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Pretty women out walkin' with gorillas down my street
"From my window I'm starin' while my coffee goes cold
"Look over there
"Where?
"There!
"There's a lady that I used to know
"She's married now or engaged or somethin', so I'm told"

-- Joe Jackson, Is She Really Going Out With Him?

Posted on: September 22, 2010 3:12 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2010 5:37 pm
 

Towers, others know where bones buried in West

Welcome to the start of Frontier Days in the NL West.

Everything is set but a Duel from 50 paces.

Arizona has hired Kevin Towers to fill the job for which it turned him down for five years ago.

And as the Diamondbacks general manager, Towers now will take direct aim at the man who fired him in San Diego last October ... and the man who was running the Diamondbacks back in 2005 and declined to hire Towers then: Jeff Moorad.

Survivor?

Let's see some network reality show beat this.

Nothing fuels rivalries more than when they're personal. And if guys privately wanting to gouge out other guys' eyeballs qualifies as personal, well, this has become the NL Wild, Wild West and the next couple of years could be incredibly bloody, er, juicy.

Start with Towers, who is still stung by the sudden end of his 14-year run in San Diego as the most successful GM in Padres history. And as this year's club of overachieving Padres built largely by Towers has contended for the NL West title, the wound remains raw.

Move next to Moorad who, as vice-chairman and chief executive officer of the Padres since January, 2009, continues to own a share of the Diamondbacks.

Sound funny, a guy who will be majority owner of the Padres who still owns a piece of the Diamondbacks? It should. Baseball rules preclude it, which is why Moorad has been working toward divesting his shares of the Arizona club.

Except, privately, according to sources, Moorad and the Diamondbacks have been unable to agree on a price for his shares. Moorad values his piece of the Diamondbacks much higher than Arizona owner Ken Kendrick and Co. think it is worth. The dispute has moved to the Commissioner's Office, and the stalemate continues.

Given the antipathy between Kendrick and Towers and Moorad, we probably won't even have to wait for the 2011 season to start before the two sides go at it. Do not be surprised if Towers raids the Padres and recruits some of his former colleagues as he builds his staff in the desert.

Meantime ... Moorad and the Padres this month hired A.J. Hinch as vice-president and director of pro scouting. Hinch was fired as the Diamondbacks manager on July 2, barely more than one year after he was named as manager to replace the fired Bob Melvin in Arizona by ... Moorad and Co. Specifically, by then-GM Josh Byrnes, whom Moorad picked over Towers in '05 (and whom the Diamondbacks fired, along with Hinch, on July 2).

While the Diamondbacks and Padres now have all the ingredients for a classic shoot-'em-up, don't discount the other angle in what has become an incredibly incestuous viper pit of a division.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy essentially was told by the Padres to go look for greener pastures when Sandy Alderson was the CEO following the 2006 season. Bochy worked under Towers in San Diego for 11 of his 12 years as Padres manager before, with a year left on his contract, Alderson made Bochy feel like he'd better go explore other options.

Time was, before Padres owner John Moores' marriage hit the skids and he became an absentee (and broke) owner, Moores told Towers and Bochy they would be in place as long as he owned the team.

Bochy still maintains a home in San Diego in the off-season. And though time has eased some of the rawness of his Padres departure -- he's in his fourth season managing the Giants -- no question that as San Diego, San Francisco and Colorado sprint down the stretch this September, beating the Padres is personal with Bochy (and his third-base coach Tim Flannery, who both played and coached for the Padres before being let go).

As for Towers taking over the Diamondbacks, the hiring is a coup. Working mostly with underfunded budgets during his 14 seasons in San Diego, Towers still managed to build four NL West winners, and one NL pennant winner (1998).

Known especially for his adroit work in building a pitching staff, it was Towers who acquired key members of a Padres bullpen that has been the most airtight in the majors this summer. The Padres' majors-leading 2.85 bullpen ERA and has been one key reason for the club's contending status.

If he can work that kind of magic with what has been a historically bad Arizona bullpen in 2010 -- the Diamondbacks relievers rank last in the majors with a 5.82 ERA -- then changing fortunes for the beleaguered Snakes could come sooner rather than later.

Already, well-respected interim GM Jerry DiPoto -- who will leave the organization after not being named to the permanent post -- has helped re-stock the rotation with a couple of July acquisitions, most notably that of young Daniel Hudson.

Among the details awaiting Towers is the fate of interim manager Kirk Gibson, who is expected to be retained for the 2011 season while the new GM gets the lay of the land. The two men met Wednesday morning in what was originally scheduled to be a 30-minute session. Two hours later, they were still gabbing.

"I liked the look in his eye and what he had to say," Towers said. "He probably deserves more time to set a foundation in a spring training-type environment."

Towers pointed out that Gibson has learned from "some great people", baseball men such as Jim Leyland and Sparky Anderson.

"He's an intense guy," Towers said. "I like him."

But don't expect Towers to need much time to assess the lay of this land. The game's longest-tenured GM when the Padres let him go last October, Towers knows this land very well. A little too well even, in spots.

Towers' nickname? Gunslinger.

Perfect

 

Posted on: September 21, 2010 11:58 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2010 7:57 am
 

Towers in Phoenix, to be named D-Backs GM?

Former Padres general manager Kevin Towers was in Phoenix again on Tuesday for a round of meetings with Diamondbacks ownership as the club zeroes in on hiring a general manager, according to CBSSports.com sources.

Towers last week met with Arizona president and CEO Derrick Hall, leading many in the industry to believe that, with a second visit this week, the Diamondbacks are moving close to offering Towers the GM job that has been filled by Jerry DiPoto on an interim basis since the club fired Josh Byrnes earlier this summer.

Though the Diamondbacks interviewed five candidates, sources say they've narrowed the final field to Towers and DiPoto, with a decision expected sometime this week.

Also talking to the Diamondbacks last week were Logan White and De Jon Watson, assistant GMs with the Dodgers, and Eddie Bane, director of scouting for the Angels.

This is the second dance between the Diamondbacks and Towers, GM of the San Diego Padres for 14 seasons before he was fired last fall by the then-new San Diego ownership group led by Jeff Moorad.

Towers, 48, interviewed with the Diamondbacks back in the fall of 2005 but finished second to Byrnes -- back when Moorad was running the Diamondbacks.

It has long been believed within the industry that the Arizona-Towers match will come down to finances. Towers was making in excess of $1 million annually with the Padres and, with four division titles on his resume in addition to his experience -- he was the longest-tenured GM in the game when the Padres let him go -- he almost certainly would cost Arizona much more than DiPoto.

But the Diamondbacks have been happy with the work of DiPoto, 42, especially when he was steering them through the July 31 trade deadline. In trading Dan Haren for four pitchers from the Angels and then dealing Edwin Jackson to the White Sox for young prospect Daniel Hudson, DiPoto shed nearly $40 million from Arizona's payroll while stockpiling several good, young arms.

"There will be some candidates we'll talk to, with Jerry obviously being at the top of the list," Hall told CBSSports.com last month.

Among the first decisions on the agenda of the new GM will be the fate of interim manager Kirk Gibson and his staff.

 

Posted on: August 13, 2010 1:56 pm
Edited on: August 13, 2010 8:57 pm
 

DiPoto, Gibson making names for selves in Arizona

The reconstruction of the Arizona Diamondbacks has a long way to go, but the club this month has begun to settle in enough that it's worth asking:

Have the D-backs shown enough under interim general manager Jerry DiPoto and interim field manager Kirk Gibson that those "interim" tags will be removed?

Quick answer: Probably still too early, but let's just say the jobs that both men are doing is not going unnoticed by key head honchos.

"They've done a tremendous job," Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall says. "They both have. I think Kirk Gibson has really changed the makeup and the environment around the team. They've really responded to him.

"I'm pulling publicly for both of these guys."

One thing Hall has certainly noticed: Entering the club's series opener in Washington on Friday night, the Diamondbacks had either won or tied their past four consecutive series. They won three of four games in Milwaukee this week, took two of three from first-place San Diego, split a four-game set with the Nationals and won two of three against the Mets dating back to July 30.

Since the trading deadline, right-hander Daniel Hudson, acquired from the White Sox in the Edwin Jackson trade, is 2-0 and has allowed just three earned runs in 14 2/3 innings. Hudson was one of six pitchers obtained in trades by DiPoto -- including three from the Angels for Dan Haren -- since July 25.

"There will be some candidates we'll talk to, with Jerry obviously being at the top of the list," Hall says. "After that, we'll look at managers."

Understandably, Hall wants a permanent general manager in place before the field manager so the GM can choose someone he's comfortable with.

As for Hall?

"If at the end of the day I end up with Jerry DiPoto as general manager and Kirk Gibson as manager, I'd be happy," he says based on how things are going now. "I'm thrilled with the work I've seen so far from both of them."

Likes: Wow, Jose Guillen and Pat Burrell now swinging it for the Giants. With them and the outspoken Aubrey Huff, the San Francisco clubhouse will not be dull. ... This weekend's Giants-Padres series will be great fun. The Padres won the first seven games against Bruce Bochy's club this year, but this is a different Giants' team now. ... Fine, fine acting performance by Derek Jeter in The Other Guys. He's got one line and he delivers it with the gravitas of ... well, OK. So I exaggerate. But the movie's funny, the plot entertaining, Will Ferrell is back on his 'A' game and in the aftermath of the Jeter shooting, the cops even get a line in ripping A-Rod. Good stuff. ... Tyler Kepner's excellent piece in the New York Times on Ryne Sandberg managing at Triple-A Iowa while hoping for a chance to do it with the Cubs. ... How entertaining was it when the Kings of Leon had to abort their concert in St. Louis a few weeks back because pigeons kept crapping on them? ... Puget Sound and Ferndale, Wash. ... A weekend at home with baseball on XM radio and on television with the MLB Extra Innings package.

Dislikes: When Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez unleashes his inner punk, it is not a pretty picture.


Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"It was 1989 my thoughts were short my hair was long
"Caught somewhere between a boy and man
"She was 17 and she was far from in-between
"It was summer-time in Northern Michigan
"Splashing through the sand-bar, talking by the camp fire
"It's the simple things in life like when and where
"We didn't have no internet but man I never will forget
"The way the moon light shined upon her hair"

-- Kid Rock, All Summer Long

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com