Manager Torey Lovullo had some vacancies to fill in his coaching staff, and did so today by hiring four new coaches and retaining a few from last season.
With the hiring of Torey Lovullo as the Arizona Diamondbacks new manager, there was a lot of uncertainty when it came to who would stay on the staff and who would leave. Many reports came out regarding Mark Grace and Matt Williams, two Diamondbacks legends, who came back to the Valley of the Sun in order to coach the next wave of talent.
However, that came to an end on November 7 as Nick Piecoro of AZCentral reported that Williams and Grace would not be retained by the new front office. Some took this as a surprise as both coaches were very well respected around the baseball community. Another shock came when the San Francisco Giants hired Former Diamondbacks managerial candidate Phil Nevin as their third base coach. This came as a whirlwind to the franchise as Nevin was considered one of the top coaches in baseball, and eventually a highly sought after managerial candidate.
As we fast forward a little over a week later, the Diamondbacks announced retentions and hirings for Torey Luvollo’s staff. The Diamondbacks twitter page broke the news.
Among these additions comes a lot of star power, if you will. Let’s start with the retentions: Magadan has been with the D-backs for one previous season, however shares ties with Lovullo going back to their days in Boston (2007-2012). Pitching coach Mike Butcher, who also has been with the club for one prior season, has a lot of expertise when it comes to developing pitchers. He has helped coach ten pitchers to All-Star game honors.
Last season was a rough one as the rotation and bullpen were easily two of the biggest issues the D-backs faced. However, Butcher will get another year to familiarize himself with the National League style of pitching and play as he spent his ten previous seasons in the American League. First Base coach Dave McKay brings thirty-plus years of knowledge of base running to his position. While with the team in 2015, the D-backs finished second in the MLB in stolen bases. Ariel Prieto has been the D-backs coach/interpreter for two years now, helping with Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas.
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Let’s get to the fun/most interesting part, shall we?
The hires Lovullo has made are rather substantial in my opinion. Yes they are in house hires, but their promotion from the farm system shows how much trust he has in them. Tony Perezchica brings fourteen years of experience with the Diamondbacks in his new position. Originally as a field/infield coordinator, Perezchica also brings managerial experience from three stints inside of the D-backs minor league system and six years of coaching experience as the hitting coach in the New York Yankees farm system.
Robby Hammock was a fan favorite of D-backs fans alike, and will remain with the staff as the Quality Control expert. Hammock spent six MLB seasons behind the plate for the D-backs as a player, and four more as one of the best managers in the minor leagues. Mike Fetters has spent the last four years as the Quality Control expert, but will now transition to a coaching position in the bullpen. Fetters was a major league pitcher for more than sixteen seasons, inlcuding two with the D-backs.
Obviously the biggest hire of the day goes to one of baseballs most underrated managers of the past fifteen years.
Ron Gardenhire was announced as the new bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Gardenhire’s resume is one of pure beauty: thirteen years as a manager for the Minnesota Twins, boasting a 1,608-1039 record. He made six postseason appearances and won manager of the year in 2010. He has experience as a base coach, coaching third base for the Twins for 11 seasons, while winning a World Series in 1991.
These were obviously the first BIG moves Lovullo had to make. This new staff screams familiarity and experience. As Lovullo has made it known, he favors an AL style of play, which means less sac-bunts and more offense….hopefully.