As ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted yesterday, the Diamondbacks were 4-9 heading into their game and are viewed by rival executives as candidates for early change. It did not get much better after that. The Diamondbacks were shutout until the fifth inning, and after bringing it to a three run game in the ninth, Kenley Jansen shut the door. They are now 4-10. It does not look good for the Diamondbacks' front office. But should they really be making changes this early? Let us investigate.
In general manager Kevin Towers' first season with the Diamondbacks, he lead the team to the National League West title in 2011, just one year after finishing at the bottom of the division with 97 losses. Since the 94 win campaign in 2011, the Diamondbacks are 162-162, finishing 81-81 in both of the past two seasons, even after many picked them to do much better. But now, the Diamondbacks, at 4-10, are falling fast. They need a serious hot streak to get back on the top of the division.
Towers moves in the past offseason show the urgency of the situation. The Diamondbacks have the highest payroll in team history. They have committed $112.2 million to 29 players, including a combined $14.3 million to their two biggest additions, pitcher Bronson Arroyo and outfielder Mark Trumbo. Both Arroyo and Trumbo seemed to be fantastic deals in the offseason. The Diamondbacks were able to bolster their pitching staff with a starter and add to their lineup with a right-handed power hitter.
Trumbo has done his job. He is hitting .236 (13-for-55) with 5 home runs, which leads the National League, and 15 RBI. The Diamondbacks expected him to do just that; hit for a low average, but with some serious pop. Arroyo has allowed five runs in 9.1 innings pitched, which may need to improve in order to stockpile wins. However, this has just come in two starts, which is a extraordinarily small sample size.
The Diamondbacks extended Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson in February. These two have kept them in the mix, and did lead them to the division crown in 2011. But, now that the Diamondbacks are not playing well, and are on a two year playoff drought, some changes may have to be made in order to get the talented roster to perform.
Towers and Gibson should be waited out. Almost any team many can lose 10 of their last 14 at any point in the season without a whimper from anyone. Since the Diamondbacks are starting off poorly, more people, including many baseball executives, have taken notice. Following the month of April (where they finished 13-13), it took the 2013 Dodgers until July to get back to .500. They waited out then. The circumstances are not the same, but the Dodgers waited out Mattingly and their team. And it paid off.
In summary, if the Diamondbacks cannot improve by the middle of the season, then we should worry about the futures of Kevin Towers and perhaps Kirk Gibson. But for now, it could just be a bad stretch that they need to shake off. It could take one game before they get rolling. With a small sample size, practically anything can happen, including a winning season for the Astros. All joking aside, the Diamondbacks just need to be waited out, then changes can be made in their front office.