The Arizona Diamondbacks are "strongly considering" multiple front-office changes, which could mean the departure of chief baseball officer Tony La Russa, general manager Dave Stewart and assistant GM De Jon Watson, according to USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale.
Nightengale also said team ownership prevented La Russa and Stewart from firing second-year manager Chip Hale and trading struggling pitcher Shelby Miller before this season's trade deadline.
"Diamondbacks ownership is strongly considering making sweep front-office chances, firing some of the most respected men in the game," Nightengale wrote Sunday, noting that if D-backs owner Ken Kendrick and president Derrick Hall make those changes, "the D-backs will be changing GMs for the seventh time in 11 years."
Nightengale reported La Russa and Stewart were planning to fire Hale but were stopped by ownership due to the optics of such a move. They also reportedly had a deal in place with the Miami Marlins to move Miller, but ownership blocked that effort, as well. The D-backs acquired Miller in an offseason trade with the Braves in which 2015 No. 1 overall draft pick Dansby Swanson was dealt to Atlanta.
"The Diamondbacks, who spend more energy worrying about their image than perhaps any team, are now on the verge of becoming the game's laughingstock," Nightengale wrote in regards to the team's reported front-office dysfunction.
The D-backs had high expectations heading into the 2016 season after signing Miller and free-agent pitcher Zack Greinke. Instead, the team is 51-73 as of Monday, the third-worst record in Major League Baseball.
La Russa was hired as the team's chief baseball officer in 2014, and Stewart was hired as general manager several months later following the dismissal of GM Kevin Towers. La Russa said he and Stewart recognize this has been a disappointing year.
"This is a game based on results. There was good improvement in '15, and in '16, was the opposite of that," La Russa told USA TODAY Sports. "If somebody in charge is upset enough, they'll make a change."