Earlier in the offseason, the Arizona Diamondbacks fired General Manager Dave Stewart, and hired now-former Boston Red Sox GM Mike Hazen as his replacement. At that time, it seemed inevitable that Boston’s bench coach, Torey Lovullo, would join him in Arizona, given the close nature of the relationship between the two. On Friday, the Diamondbacks made that eventuality a reality by hiring Lovullo as their new manager. He steps into the void left by former manager Chip Hale, who was fired alongside Stewart.
Torey Lovullo Takes Over in Arizona
Lovullo has been a top managerial candidate for several years now. Some thought he would take such a position back in 2014. Luckily for the Red Sox, he stayed on. In 2015, when manager John Farrell had to take time off for his successful lymphoma treatment, Lovullo stepped in as interim manager. Though the Red Sox had a disappointing season overall that year, Lovullo led the team to a strong finish over the final seven weeks of the campaign.
After that season, the Red Sox signed Lovullo to a new contract, making him one of the highest-paid bench coaches in the league and preventing him from seeking a managers job until after 2016. Filling his role will be a top priority and a difficult task for Boston.
Lovullo and Hazen have known each other since Hazen started as an intern in the Cleveland Indians. Lovullo is known for his clubhouse leadership and ability to connect with people. The Diamondbacks, after making some of the most highly publicized moves in the previous offseason, had a disastrous year. They needed someone with Lovullo’s personality to get the most out of their under-performing players and to unite the clubhouse. Lovullo, on paper, seems to be the right man for the job.
As for the Red Sox, Farrell will likely look within the organization for his new bench coach. Hitting coach Chili Davis and third base coach Brian Butterfield are likely the top two candidates, with Butterfield being the favorite. Farrell and Butterfield coached together with the Toronto Blue Jays, and have a strong relationship. Luckily for the Red Sox, Lovullo cannot take any of Boston’s other coaches with him to Arizona.