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La Russa leaves D-backs, joins Red Sox

Hall of Fame manager spent three-plus seasons in front office
MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

PHOENIX -- After watching the D-backs struggle in 2016, front-office executive Tony La Russa didn't feel he could walk away from the Arizona organization despite the dismissal of his handpicked general manager Dave Stewart and manager Chip Hale.

"I would have been haunted by that season," La Russa said.

PHOENIX -- After watching the D-backs struggle in 2016, front-office executive Tony La Russa didn't feel he could walk away from the Arizona organization despite the dismissal of his handpicked general manager Dave Stewart and manager Chip Hale.

"I would have been haunted by that season," La Russa said.

The D-backs made a complete turnaround in 2017 flipping their record from 69-93 to 93-69 and in the process captured the top National League Wild Card spot.

So, with his contract expiring at the end of October, La Russa felt like this was the right time to move on. He is joining the Red Sox as a vice president/special assistant to president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.

"Grateful is best word to use," La Russa said. "I'm grateful that the new leadership whether it would be on the field or upstairs produced that kind of turnaround."

Tweet from @Dbacks: Chief Baseball Analyst Tony La Russa will depart the #Dbacks organization at the end of the month. We thank Tony for his contributions. pic.twitter.com/bbGdBYRmJA

La Russa was hired by the D-backs in May 2014 to the newly created position of chief baseball officer. In that role, La Russa was in charge of baseball operations.

Following the 2016 season, he was shifted to chief baseball analyst, while the team hired Mike Hazen to be its general manager and oversee baseball operations.

"Tony's contributions have played a significant role in helping put our franchise on the path to success, and for that, we are all very grateful," D-backs managing general partner Ken Kendrick said. "He has always represented the team with class and has left a mark on the franchise that will benefit us for years to come."

La Russa, who was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014 for his distinguished managerial career, retired from his post as Cardinals manager after winning the 2011 World Series.

La Russa then went to work for Major League Baseball under chief baseball officer Joe Torre before the D-backs hired him.

"I would like to thank Tony for all of his contributions to our baseball operations and our community during his time here," D-backs president/CEO Derrick Hall said. "Having his Hall of Fame credentials, vast experience and knowledge of the game as resources to rely upon and learn from has been tremendous. The transition to the new leadership team has been smooth and flawless with his willingness and positivity. I will forever value his hard work and our friendship."

La Russa said he had already received some calls from interested organizations and would evaluate where he might best be able to help a club.

Working under Hazen, La Russa said he saw firsthand that the organization was on the right path.

"The best part about it is one of the reasons I'm leaving is because these guys are so good," he said of Hazen and his staff. "Because they're really good downstairs and upstairs, it's time to move on. I'm glad for the Diamondbacks that that's the truth, because that makes for some exciting times ahead. I think the organization is in great hands."

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Arizona Diamondbacks