Out of necessity, Arizona Diamondbacks develop a ‘win-now’ attitude

PHOENIX – For a franchise that struggles both in the standings and to find its identity, the Arizona Diamondbacks appear to shift a fundamental dimension toward immediate success. No longer does the organization seem to tolerate training, education, development, and patience.

After rising to the top of the National League West through the first half of the season, the club has fallen upon difficult times. The decline seems to have pressured into decisions that could have likely been made some time ago.

The priority here is a lack of patience.

In the past, the Diamondbacks organization, cognizant of its status as underachieving, remained committed to the development of players. That would include minor league maturity and the need to nurture players who are controllable for years.

General manager Mike Hazen has eschewed the free-agent route and adhered to “the small market” mentality of limited spending. Not in concert with high-spending clubs like the Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, Phillies and most recently the Padres, the approach was player development.

Now, that changed and if such players under a microscope do not perform to the organization’s expectations, they are quickly banished. The lack of patience turned into a priority of winning at the present moment and no exceptions.

Before Sunday’s game with San Diego in the Chase Field, that attitude was brought into sharp focus. Here the Diamondbacks made several roster moves but two in particular accentuated this new attitude.

The message was clear in sending starting pitcher Ryne Nelson to AAA Reno and designating catcher Carson Kelly for assignment. No production, no roster spot.

“This is a big statement by this organization,” said manager Torey Lovullo before Sunday’s game. “Even though these are not easy decisions, we feel these were the right decisions. You better be productive and you better do your job. No one is exempt from this type of situation. We are in the business of winning baseball games.”

Times for the organization have changed and as well as attitudes and approaches. No longer is the organization in a “wait-and-see” mode. Rather, there is now a jump to immediate success.

“A couple of years ago, it wasn’t the same,” Lovullo added. “At this point in 2021 (a 52-110 season record), we were talking just about developing, reading, and reacting and able to see if guys could play at this level. That’s not the way anymore. We’re here to win baseball games. If you’re on the right side of it, we’ll continue with you. If not, we have to make some tough decisions.”

Those decisions made Sunday, Lovullo pointed out, were tough, “not easy” but necessary. In the future, Lovullo gave a clear implication such decisions will continue to be made and likely with greater frequency.

On the diamondAlek Thomas sacrifice fly in the eighth inning snapped a tie and lifted the Diamondbacks to a 5-4 victory over San Diego before 29,277 in Chase Field.

With the win, the Diamondbacks captured their first series victory since taking two of three in Atlanta July 7-9 and their first series at home since taking two of three from Cleveland June 16-18. They spilt a four-game series with the Rays at home June 27-29

Thomas’ shallow fly to center was enough to get Christian Walker in from third. Down 3-0 in the first, the Arizona comeback was highlighted by a pinch, two-run homer in the seventh from Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. to tie this one at 4-4.

“You should always be ready,” Gurriel said through an interpreter. “Any time you’re on the bench, there could be any point that this could happen.”

Next … the Diamondbacks now engage the Rockies in Denver for three and the Padres again for four this weekend. Following the upcoming road trip, and in their subsequent four series, three are against division leaders, including Texas and Baltimore at home and three at Dodger Stadium.

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