The most dysfunctional team in baseball toils in obscurity, but only because no one has ever paid attention to the Diamondbacks. But that could change, because Arizona has become a volatile mix of factors that could boil over anytime.
The problems started with the hiring of A.J. Hinch, a 34-year old ex-catcher who had never managed before, at any level. OK, the problems really started with a terrible team that required a new manager a month into the season, but Hinch’s presence seems to be rubbing some current and former Diamondbacks the wrong way. According to one, “he doesn’t have any credibility between the lines as a manager.”
Arizona GM Josh Byrnes admitted the hiring of somewhat without coaching experience but with a psychology degree from Stanford was “unconventional.”
“He brings unique leadership and perspective to the job,” Byrnes said. “We’re not here to reinvent the wheel, but to change the nature of the job a little bit? OK, we’ll do that. A.J.’s a leader. He connects with people. He gets things done.
Obviously there’s a piece of experience he doesn’t have. He’s going to have to learn on the job…He’s never done a double switch before, but he knows what it looks like. He’ll figure it out.”
I don’t know how well he’s figuring it out. The D-Backs are 2-6 since Hinch took over, and former pitching coach Bryan Price is none too pleased.
“The hiring of A.J., I thought, was a poor decision…A.J. has worked hard to get his credibility in the business in that (player development) side of the game, but he doesn’t have any credibility between the lines as a manager.”
But as long as he’s still got the players on his side, right? Hinch got into an argument with starter Doug Davis after removing him from the game Friday. An experienced manager would have known to take that up the tunnel, where the cameras can’t see.
And the players all went out to dinner Thursday night. That’s not officially a players-only meeting, which can be a death knell for a manager, but that’s pretty damn close. So keep an eye out in the desert for more drama soon.