Webb: Gibson will do a great job
D-backs players feel change is for the better
PHOENIX -- Respect in the clubhouse will not be an issue for the interim manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Given his long and storied playing career as well as his work on the coaching staff the last few years, Kirk Gibson's transition in replacing A.J. Hinch, who was dismissed Thursday along with GM Josh Byrnes, should be a smooth one.
"I think he's going to do a great job," pitcher Brandon Webb said. "I think it's a great opportunity for him. It's going to be a good change. Hopefully this sparks us."
Most players had not been informed of the move, but as word began to spread Thursday night, few expressed surprise.
"I think it was something we felt was coming," catcher Chris Snyder said. "It was definitely time for a change."
Said Webb, "I think we all kind of saw it coming, but we just didn't know when it was going to happen. Maybe we even thought it would happen before now. I think it was time for a change with the way we've been playing for so long."
Hinch was 89-123 since taking over for Bob Melvin on May 8, 2009. The hiring was controversial at the time because of Hinch's lack of managing or coaching experience at any level as well as the fact that he was coming from the front office.
The team limped to a 58-75 finish under Hinch last season and got off to a poor start this year.
"After everything went down last year and the way we continued to lose, it kind of snowballed," Snyder said. "Then it went on this year and it became obvious that it was time for a change. The atmosphere was not good. Between the lines we played hard, but there was something missing."
Though Gibson has never managed, his hard-nosed reputation as a player, two World Series rings and 1987 Naional League Most Valuable Player Award along with his experience coaching make up for that in player's minds.
"I think we all respect Gibby," Webb said. "It's not like we didn't respect A.J. it's just that he came in in a different circumstance. He was coming from the front office, never managing and being so young and we had so much respect for [Melvin] that it was hard."
Whether the change in managers affects the results on the field remains to be seen.
"I'm not going to tell you the change will cause us to go out and win 10 straight," Snyder said. "But I think you're going to see much more enjoyment from the players in between the lines, in the dugout and in the clubhouse. There is an unbelievable amount of talent here."
That talent, though, didn't perform to expectations, particularly in the bullpen.
"This year has been a struggle for me," said Chad Qualls, who lost his role as closer due to those struggles. "A.J. stuck with me for a long time. I feel like if I had pitched like I was capable of certainly we would be better than we are. I've thought about that a lot."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.