Through their final, abysmal weeks of the season, the Diamondbacks are doing nothing to save manager Kirk Gibson’s job.
Limping and staggering to the final line, Arizona has six games, beginning with Monday night’s contest against the Twins in Target Field, remaining in one of the most forgettable seasons in franchise history.
Runners left on base, pitchers imploding, questionable decisions and lack of emotion are all prevalent.
With a strong possibility of finishing with the worst record in Major League Baseball, the task to rebuild and re-energize the current morbid state of affairs appears daunting. Yet, that’s the responsibility ahead for Tony La Russa, the team’s Chief Baseball Officer, and final decision-maker on all things baseball.
For the second major order of business, La Russa is expected to put a new name plate on the door to the manager’s office and replace the faltering Kirk Gibson. Earlier this month, La Russa dismissed Kevin Towers as the team’s general manager.
When he took over for the fired A. J. Hinch during the July 4 holiday in 2010, Gibson inherited a team with no passion and little incentive. That’s quite similar to the 2014 contingent.
By the following season, he became the architect of an amazing comeback. In capturing the 2011 National League West Division, the Diamondbacks displayed many variables now missing, including several players, collectively, putting together highly productive seasons. That included a nearly “perfect storm” scenario in which celebrated achievements reached a certain height.
This included a 21-game win season for Ian Kennedy, a 16-game win season for Daniel Hudson, Justin Upton entering into a serious MVP discussion, Ryan Roberts delivering key hits and powerful emotion and closer J. J Putz attaining a career-high in saves.
Most players are now gone and only infielder Aaron Hill, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and catcher Miguel Montero as position players remain. The starting rotation was abandoned a long time ago and the core of the team dissolved like an ice cream exposed to the searing desert sun.
There’s not much to retain from a season gone astray. At this point, reporters’ questions to Gibson are littered with references to next season and Gibson remains in a precarious position. He carefully answers these queries with the current season at the apex of responses.
Gibson is keenly aware of not moving the discussion beyond this Sunday. That’s when the season mercifully ends with the conclusion of a series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
In responses, Gibson avoids any reference to post-season meetings, player discussion, personnel moves and his future. Some argue Gibson lost control of the clubhouse some time ago and his stoic image is not suited for communications with players depositing large pay checks and walking around with even larger egos.
So here in the final days of a dismal experience, the Diamondbacks can only hope to go quietly in the night and not give Gibson too much rope to hang himself.