Fresh off a very disappointing 2016 season, the Arizona Diamondbacks have fired general manager Dave Stewart and manager Chip Hale, the club announced Monday afternoon.
OFFICIAL: The #Dbacks have parted ways with Sr. Vice President & GM Dave Stewart and Manager Chip Hale.— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) October 3, 2016
Stewart was hired in late September of 2014 to take over the GM job from Kevin Towers. A few weeks later, Stewart named Hale was the manager. The first year went well, as the Diamondbacks went from 64 to 79 wins, but then backtracked this season.
Stewart was hired by Diamondbacks chief baseball officer Tony La Russa, who has not been fired.
"We are very grateful to Dave and Chip who are widely respected throughout the game of baseball.," said Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall in a statement. "Ultimately, the results have not been what we had hoped and while that responsibility is shared by all of us, we have decided that a change is necessary. We are still discussing what the appropriate role for Tony La Russa will be moving forward."
So the interesting note there is La Russa might be seeing a change in title and/or responsibilities.
Hopes were high for Arizona entering the spring of 2016. They were coming off a 79-83 season in 2015 and added ace pitcher Zack Greinke via free agency in addition to trading for 2015 All-Star pitcher Shelby Miller.
Instead, the second year with both Stewart and Hale couldn't have been more of a disaster. They lost star center fielder A.J. Pollock to a fractured elbow in the last week of spring training and things just kind of fell apart from there. Miller was an outright disaster (3-12, 6.15) while Greinke was considerably worse than in 2015 (4.37 ERA as compared to an MLB-best 1.66 in 2015). Holdover Patrick Corbin also posted a bad season (5.15 ERA) and the pitching staff as a whole posted a league-worst 5.09 ERA.
This helped lead to a 69-93 record. With those additions, getting 10 games worse wasn't really acceptable, most notably in the face of the Diamondbacks hoping to get a new stadium sometime in the near future.
A series of bad decisions by this front office have left the Diamondbacks in woeful shape. Let's keep in mind that La Russa was a career manager but never oversaw baseball ops before taking this job and that Stewart hadn't worked in a front office for 13 years before being hired as general manager. Hale's staff seemed to make pitchers worse instead of finding fixes needed through struggles.
As such, it's easy to see why mass changes are needed.