In the midst of a disappointing 16-28 start, the Diamondbacks announced that they’ve hired Tony La Russa as Chief Baseball Officer.
The 69-year-old Hall of Famer, three-time World Series-winning manager, and four-time Manager of the Year will work alongside team president and chief executive officer Derrick Hall, who issued the following statement:
The entire organization is obviously frustrated with the results on the field and we are looking to improve. Tony brings us a wealth of knowledge, experience and success, and will work closely with [general manager Kevin Towers] and [manager Kirk Gibson] in evaluating our current state to determine the future of our baseball operations. He is excited and enthusiastic about the challenge, and we are fortunate to have this Hall of Famer on board and a part of the team.
It’s hard to imagine this not eventually leading to general manager Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson being let go considering how poorly the team has performed and the fact that La Russa will presumably want to shake things up by bringing in his own people.
Free agent right-hander Chris Tillman is narrowing his pool of potential suitors, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Returning to the Orioles is one option, of course, but Heyman also mentions another two undisclosed teams who are still in the running. An earlier report from Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun suggests that as many as four teams may be in the mix; either way, a final decision is expected by Monday.
Tillman, 29, has spent the entirety of his major league career in Baltimore. After posting career-high numbers in 2016, his progress was derailed during an injury-plagued 2017 campaign, during which he missed nearly six weeks on the disabled list with recurring right shoulder inflammation. He finished the season with a bloated 7.84 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 4.9 SO/9 over 93 innings.
While the mystery teams have yet to reveal themselves, the Blue Jays, Twins and Tigers have all expressed interest in the veteran right-hander this offseason. Both the Blue Jays and Twins have made big moves to bolster their rotations over the last few days, with the additions of Jaime Garcia and Jake Odorizzi, respectively. That doesn’t mean that Tillman is out of reach, however — if his price is right, he could provide some much-needed depth for pitching staffs that finished 15th and 22nd in the league last year.