Jul 19, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics former starting pitcher Dave Stewart during the 1989 Oakland Athletics World Series team tribute before the game against Baltimore Orioles at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports
The Arizona Diamondbacks announce the hiring of Dave Stewart as the team fourth general manager in a press release on Thursday. Stewart played 19 season with five major teams in the major leagues. He was the ace of the Oakland A’s staff from 1986-92 where he played on three American League championship teams. Those teams managed by Tony LaRussa.
"“I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy success as a player and coach and really enjoyed my time representing players, but this is the perfect challenge for me,” said Stewart, who was part of three World Series championship teams and earned Postseason MVP honors three times. “To try and put together the pieces of a championship team is something I can’t wait to begin and I could not be more excited about doing it with De Jon and alongside a Hall of Famer who I respect greatly in Tony.”"
Critics of the move to hire Dave Stewart as general manager would cite his inexperience in the front office, particularly in the area of player development. For that Tony La Russa hired De Jon Watson whose recent accomplishments include helping to build the Dodgers farm system. The same farm system that produced Clayton Kershaw and Yasiel Puig.
"“This is a tremendous opportunity to be a part of a very special team that Tony has put together,” said Watson. “I could not pass up the chance to be part of a dynamic working group and impact this organization in a way that helps us improve the way we compete, with a goal of playing October baseball.”"
De Jon Watson will assume the title of Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations. Stewart’s title is Senior Vice President and General Manager.
"“I am excited to be able to bring in two talented and uniquely qualified individuals as part of our front office leadership team that I feel will improve our organization,” said La Russa, who was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in July. “Our various strengths blend well with more than a century of experience in different areas of the game and we will work together to get this team moving in the right direction."
Judging by their titles it is unclear how Watson and Stewart will work together. Do both have equal responsibility reporting directly to Tony La Russa or will De Jon Watson’s name appear under Stewart’s on the organizational chart? It appears as if LaRussa is building a front office team similar to the way he helped build championship teams in St. Louis and Oakland. Hopefully it results in a championship for the Diamondbacks.