There are bad MLB teams every single season, but very rarely do you see a team make headlines by being horrible.
That’s exactly what the Arizona Diamondbacks have accomplished this year.
They’re managed to make national headlines by going on some historically bad slides at certain points this season.
For one, the team just snapped a 24-game road losing streak, the longest such streak in MLB history.
The streak is over. The Diamondbacks beat the Padres, 10-1, to end their 24-game road losing streak. It was the longest road losing streak in MLB history.
— Kyle Glaser (@KyleAGlaser) June 27, 2021
On top of that, the Diamondbacks’ current 22-58 record puts them on pace for a 45-117 season, which would mark one of the worst finishes in the modern era.
There is no saving this campaign, but there is still plenty of time to pass some blame around.
Which two factors contributed most to the organization falling into its current position?
2. Decrease In Payroll
The organization can’t exactly say it’s committed to winning when it has been spending less and less on its roster in recent years.
The Diamondbacks’ active roster currently totals a payroll of $67 million.
We’ll exclude the odd 2020 season from this discussion for obvious reasons, but the Diamondbacks spent $97 million 2019, $133 million in 2018, and $91 million in 2017.
That’s a massive drop-off between this season and the others.
It’s no surprise that Arizona’s roster has plenty of holes, like a miserable bullpen and below-average rotation.
It’s much too late to address those roster gaps as it pertains to the 2021 season, but the team will have to spend some legitimate money in the offseason in hopes of making the 2022 campaign a better one.
1. Keeping Torey Lovullo Around
Torey Lovullo was named the manager of the Diamondbacks prior to the 2017 season.
Expectations and hopes were high, as Lovullo impressed a lot of fans during his time as an interim manager with the Boston Red Sox.
And initially, those expectations were met.
Lovullo was named Manager of the Year in his first season at the helm after guiding Arizona to a 93-69 record and a playoff berth.
The postseason run ended in the NLDS, but getting to experience postseason baseball at all was a sight for sore eyes for Diamondbacks fans.
Unfortunately, things went downhill from there.
Arizona missed the postseason in 2018 after going 82-80, missed the postseason in 2019 after going 85-77, missed the postseason in 2020 after going 25-35, and the team is well on its way to missing the postseason in 2021 as it has the worst record in baseball.
In the 6th inning, Torey Lovullo left Alex Young in to bat for himself with the bases loaded, with a tie game.
The last time a relief pitcher batted with the bases loaded, 2 outs, in a tie game:
May 14, 2018
Elieser Hernández (MIA) grounded out in the bottom of the 13th.
— D-backs facts & stats (@dbaxfax) June 29, 2021
The honeymoon phase with Lovullo is long gone, and now the organization needs to get real about its future plans.
At a certain point, the club has to ask itself whether there is any possible way Lovullo remains with the team beyond this season.
The answer is obviously no, so why is he still around?
Send a message to the fans that this 2021 campaign isn’t acceptable and show Lovullo the door.
The counterargument is that since Lovullo’s contract expires after this season, the club might as well let it ride.
That’s not a very popular philosophy, though.
It will be very interesting to see if there is a mid-season coaching change in Arizona.