Arizona went 64-98 this season for the worst record in all of baseball, which is how manager Kirk Gibson and general manager Kevin Towers got fired and 70-year-old Hall of Famer Tony La Russa took over as the Diamondbacks’ czar.
And now La Russa is saying he thinks the Diamondbacks can be contenders in 2015.
In fact, he told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic: “I will be absolutely brokenhearted if we don’t have a winning record next year.”
Here’s more from La Russa:
I don’t think that you give in on the potential that sooner rather than later we could be contenders. Because if you’ve got a good talent pool and they play tough and they play well, you win extra games. We have a nice young, nucleus so there’s a lot to build on here. We’ve got some quality veterans.
I will be absolutely brokenhearted if we don’t have a winning record next year, which is 82-80. I mean, I really believe that that’s realistic, but 82 is not going to get you into October. I think the message that we’re careful to send to our fans is that we are not a patient bunch. We are not going to ask them to hang with us for four or five years.
It’s worth noting that the Diamondbacks technically haven’t had a winning record since 2011, although they did go 81-81 in both 2012 and 2013 before falling apart this year.
Perhaps not surprising that a 70-year-old with a long history of managing good teams plans to turn his current bad team into a good team very quickly rather than going through a lengthy rebuilding process, but … well, good luck Tony.