Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo will remain with the team after signing a contract extension, GM Mike Hazen told reporters. Lovullo’s previous contract was set to expire following the 2021 season, but his new deal is guaranteed through the 2022 season with a club option for 2023.
Hazen recently told reporters that he hoped to have a decision made about Lovullo’s future before the season was over, and the skipper has now received a bit more security heading into what might be a tumultuous offseason in Arizona. The D-backs are tied with the Orioles for the worst record in baseball (48-104), as Arizona has followed up a rough 2020 season with an outright disaster of a 2021 campaign.
So many things have gone wrong for the D-backs over the last two years that Lovullo is hardly to blame for all of the team’s problems, though the extension also can’t be viewed as a huge vote of confidence. With only one more guaranteed year added, Lovullo’s lame-duck status could very well continue deep into the 2022 campaign, as Hazen and the front office have given themselves some flexibility in determining the manager’s role amid many other large questions about the future direction of the franchise.
The Diamondbacks’ struggles over the last two seasons have sunk Lovullo’s record as manager to 333-365, though it wasn’t long ago that Lovullo was drawing widespread praise for his work in Arizona’s dugout. He built a strong reputation as a minor league manager in the Indians organization and then as a coach with the Blue Jays and Red Sox (also serving as Boston’s interim manager for the last month and a half of the 2015 season) before being hired by the D-backs following the 2016 season.
Lovullo’s first season with Arizona saw him win NL Manager of the Year honors while leading the Snakes to a 93-69 record and a victory over the Rockies in the NL wild-card game. While that remains Lovullo’s lone postseason trip as manager, the Diamondbacks also had winning records in both 2018 and 2019.
Between a widespread array of injuries and under-performance from so many players up and down the roster, Lovullo hasn’t had much to work with, particularly in the bullpen. Hazen made a point of observing the Diamondbacks’ 9-29 record in one-run games, noting that while they are still coming up short, the fact that they’re staying competitive is some testament to how the D-backs are still responding to Lovullo even while playing out the string.