By: Kayla Mortellaro
The Diamondbacks and chief baseball officer, Tony LaRussa made the official announcement Thursday afternoon that Dave Stewart and De Jon Watson have joined the team’s front office.
Stewart was named Sr. Vice President and General Manager and Watson was named Sr. Vice President of Baseball Operations. Both of these men will report to LaRussa combining 122 years of professional baseball experience.
“I am excited to be able to bring in two talented and uniquely qualified individuals as part of our front office leadership team that I feel will improve our organization. Our various strengths blend well with more than a century of experience in different areas of the game and we all will work together to get this team moving in the right direction,” said LaRussa.
Stewart comes to the Dbacks organization after having a successful playing career as a pitcher from 1978 through 1995. He served as a pitching coach for the Padres, Brewers and Blue Jays.
He also served in the front office for Toronto but was passed over for the general manager position in 2001. Most recently, Stewart started Sports Management Partners, an agency that represented players like Matt Kemp and Chad Billingsley.
LaRussa is pleased to have Stewart, a three time World Series Champion, join the club’s organization. “I’ve known Stew for nearly three decades and his diverse background includes championships on the field as both a player and coach, in the front office and in contract negotiation as a player representative.”
Stewart now becomes the fourth general manager in Diamondbacks franchise history. Stewart said of his opportunity, “I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy success as a player and coach and really enjoyed my time representing players, but this is the perfect challenge for me. To try and put together the pieces of a championship team is something I can’t wait to begin and I could not be more excited about doing it with De Jon and alongside a Hall of Famer who I respect greatly in Tony.”
He now becomes the only general manager in the majors to have played and coached prior to becoming a GM.
Watson joins the Diamondbacks organization with 29 years of professional baseball experience with eight of those years spent with the Dodgers organization and most recently was the Vice President of Player Development. Watson spoke about his opportunity to join the Dbacks and said, “This is a tremendous opportunity to be a part of a very special team that Tony has put together. I could not pass up the chance to be part of a dynamic working group and impact this organization in a way that helps us improve the way we compete, with a goal of playing October baseball.”
LaRussa wasn’t shy with his comments about Watson and said,
“De Jon has great strengths in player development and scouting on the amateur, professional and international levels and has played a significant role in the careers of some of the game’s best players.”
LaRussa, Stewart and Watson are now the three men that spearhead the Diamondbacks front office. With only three games left in the Dbacks 2014 season, many questions remain for the newly formed management team.
The biggest question the men will have to decide is the fate of Manager Kirk Gibson. Gibson’s ball club is currently 63-96 and he is 353-375 all time as the manager of the Diamondbacks.