While the Los Angeles Dodgers are trying to navigate their way to the postseason amid what is becoming a heated NL West race, the Arizona Diamondbacks are struggling to even win 50 games this season, putting Torey Lovullo and the rest of the franchise in the company of some of the worst teams in MLB history.
At just 48-104, Arizona’s transition to a team fully in rebuild mode has gone about as smoothly as you’d expect. In 16 games against their rivals from Phoenix, Los Angeles has gone 14-2, often obliterating an overmatched pitching staff with an armada of experienced bats.
With the Dodgers positioned to dominate for years, the Giants currently standing as the best team in the league, the star-laden Padres always a threat to explode, and the Rockies playing better baseball of late, conventional wisdom states that Arizona needs a major shake-up to avoid ending up in the basement once again.
The Diamondbacks extended Lovullo’s contract through the 2022 season, and they even put in an option that could bring him back in 2023. Bob Nightengale of USA Today claims that Arizona didn’t want to make Lovullo the “fall guy” for this season.
At least this confirms that the Dodgers can breeze through one-ninth of their schedule next season.
Dodgers fans should be happy with Torey Lovullo’s extension.
While Lovullo won 93 games in his first season in charge after an impressive stint as John Farrell’s right-hand man in Boston, he hasn’t equaled that win total in four seasons. Arizona won 82 and 85 games in 2018 and 2019, and they won just 41% of their contests in the shortened 2020 season.
The D-Backs are tied with the Orioles for the worst record in the major leagues.
While the Diamondbacks are assembling a promising collection of minor league players, keeping Lovullo basically ensures that they won’t be a threat to the Dodgers next year, and potentially for the following season.
The Diamondbacks may be upset at the Dodgers for celebrating in their swimming pool after clinching a playoff spot in 2013 and turning every road game at Chase Field into another home contest for LA, but they might not have the capacity to exact revenge in the immediate future with Lovullo at the helm.
Whatever motivational tactics Lovullo had going for him early in his tenure have clearly fizzled out, and the lack of great talent around him means that the 2022 season might look as bleak for one of the Dodgers’ chief rivals as it did in 2021.
This is what happens when Mike Hazen and the organization have no clear direction.