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Former Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart: 'I'm glad I don't have to deal with it'

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Posted at 5:09 PM, Feb 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-16 19:09:57-05

Days after he was relieved of his duties as general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Dave Stewart said he had "better things to do," and said himself and D-backs managing general partner Ken Kendrick were like oil and water.

Four months later, Stewart, who is now a sports agent, feels pretty much the same way about D-backs management, noting he doesn't miss working under Kendrick, along with team president Derrick Hall and chief baseball officer Tony La Russa.

"I'm glad I don't have to deal with it," Stewart said Wednesday on MLB Network Radio. "You're always gonna have to deal with someone above you. I had to deal with three people above me, which makes it real, real difficult to do your job."

Stewart, along with manager Chip Hale, was fired by the D-backs in October after just two years on the job, as the D-backs finished with a disappointing 69-93 record last season. Stewart said that decision surprised him, especially after the team enjoyed a better-than-expected 79-83 record in his first year at the helm.

"After the season I thought I would get what I call a tiebreaker season," he said. "We had a good season (in 2015) coming in. Last year was not a good season. We did have injuries, but I wasn't using that as an excuse. Neither was Chip Hale. Injuries are a part of the game.

"But I thought I would have an opportunity and a third season to come back and see what happened if we were a healthy team and make a few offseason moves to help our bullpen. But that didn't happen."

Stewart said everyone he's spoken with inside and outside of baseball agree the D-backs made a hasty decision by firing him, and he wishes he would've been afforded the kind of autonomy in his position that new D-backs GM Mike Hazen has been granted.

"After having conversations with Derrick during the period of time that I was doing the job, I think what would've been fair is to step out of it while I was still there to see how I would do under different circumstances vs. the circumstances that I was working under. I think that would've been the fair way to do it. And then if I wasn't doing the quality of work that they were expecting, then make the change," he said.

"That in my opinion should've been the solution vs. having me work under those circumstances and then pretty much taking the blame for a lot of the negatives that happened with that ball club when it was a group decision, not just a single decision by me."

When asked what he would have done differently as D-backs GM, Stewart said he would've declined to trade shortstop Dansby Swanson, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft. Swanson was dealt to the Braves before the 2016 season for starting pitcher Shelby Miller, who went on to have a dismal season in Arizona.

"I would probably say I should've stuck to my gut, although I think Shelby Miller's gonna be everything that I thought he was gonna be when I traded for him. But my gut that whole time said that I should not move Dansby Swanson," he said. "I'm not saying that as an afterthought; that was my thought through the whole negotiation, and I ended up giving into it and letting in my opinion a good player get away. 

"If anything, maybe substitute him with another player. That may have been the one thing I probably wish I could've had a redo."

Stewart's advice to other prospective general managers: Do your homework before accepting a position in order to ensure you'll be a good fit within a given organization.

He said he's happy in his current role as a sports agent.

"When I look at it, I am grateful to Tony La Russa for giving me the opportunity to come in and work for a major league club because I did want to be a GM. So the experience was good from that standpoint and now I'm doing something different," he said.