According to a report by Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Arizona Diamondbacks plan on having Kirk Gibson as their manager in 2015.
The #Dbacks currently plan to bring back manager Kirk Gibson for the 2015 season, but Tony La Russa delaying any official announcement.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) August 19, 2014
The Diamondbacks have not officially announced that they will retain Gibson but at the moment there are no imminent plans to fire him. He has a 343-351 record as the manager of the Diamondbacks. The news is somewhat surprising considering the team is unarguably one of the five worst teams in the major leagues and will miss the playoffs for the third season in a row. Gibson also does not have the greatest reputation around the league due to the eye for an eye mentality his team has. Gibson and the team’s general manager Kevin Towers have an obsession with “gritty” players and it has made the team marginally worse. They have traded multiple players who were not “gritty” that have flourished elsewhere like Justin Upton and Trevor Bauer. The obsession with grit over production is an ongoing joke among baseball fans as seen by the comments in this Hardball Talk piece.
Nonetheless Chief Baseball Officer of the Diamondbacks Tony La Russa appears to be a supporter of Gibson. After Randall Delgado intentionally hit Andrew McCutchen with a pitch, La Russa supported it. When he managed the Cardinals, he was a big fan of baseball’s idiotic unwritten rules and would enforce them by throwing at opponents, similar to Gibson. In defense of Gibson, a lot of the team’s problems this season are beyond his control. The Diamondbacks have battled injuries to key players all season. They have lost their best player Paul Goldschmidt, their best pitcher Patrick Corbin, and potential future stars A.J. Pollock and Chris Owings. Those injuries are extremely difficult for any manager to overcome. The injuries they have battled are a justifiable cause to retain Gibson as manager.
— Steve Gilbert (@SteveGilbertMLB) August 19, 2014
Diamondbacks beat writer for MLB.com Steve Gilbert reported that La Russa has not yet decided on the fate of Gibson. La Russa did not speak to the media directly Tuesday but a spokesperson informed them no decision has been made. “I don’t think the timing for each of those has to coincide,” La Russa said. “I just think that at this point, we’re at Aug. 18, I’ve been around three months, I’ve observed a lot, talked to and met with a lot of people in the organization. I have a much better idea. I just think the official comment is, we’re at Aug. 18, the season is a month and 10 days from being over. So it won’t be long until you have to trot out your plan officially.” Nightengale has a history of being accurate in his reporting so it is very possible that the Diamondbacks are leaning toward retaining Gibson. After leading the Diamondbacks to the playoffs in 2011, the team has gotten progressively worse every year. It is debatable how much of the team’s regression is Gibson’s fault considering injuries and disastrous trades. Expect an official ruling on Gibson’s future after the Diamondbacks finish their season.