"It's been simplified, which is a good thing," La Russa said of his role. "The general manager will have final say over trades and the manager. I think it's the right move. It puts the authority where it belongs. I think the other thing that is important to state is that my No. 1 responsibility is using 50 years of expertise to impact the way we play the game. That hasn't changed."
La Russa will report to D-backs CEO/team president Derrick Hall, as will Hazen.
"Mike Hazen is in charge of baseball operations and Tony is fine. He realizes that he's going to have impact," Hall said. "His true impact could be with the people in uniform. We just have to make sure both sides are OK with that arrangement. We still have to see if that's going to work. I think it will, but time will tell."
La Russa sat in on the interviews with general manager candidates so that they could hear directly from him that he had no problem with being stripped of his power.
"I look forward to working with Tony," Hazen said. "[He is] somebody that has that level and expertise about the game of baseball. I know that the game is moving in a particular direction with the buzzword of analytics, [but] there's no replacing the softer parts of the game, the knowledge of how to manage a human being. There's nothing that tells anyone how to connect with a player that's going through a personal struggle, yet has to go out there and play every day. Those things I'm confident that Tony's going to be able to help with, and I look forward to hearing what he has to say on all those things."
Hall said he could envision La Russa having input in making up the Spring Training schedule and how the game is taught throughout the various levels of the organization. La Russa could also spend time during the season at each of the team's Minor League affiliates working with the manager and coaches.
After watching his hand-picked GM, Dave Stewart, dismissed by ownership following the season La Russa thought about leaving himself, but he didn't want to go out after a 69-93 season.
"There was one dominant, overpowering priority that haunted me all season, and if I left it would haunt me the rest of my life," La Russa said. "And that is we had a plus-20 margin of losses over wins. As I made clear, I'm supposed to impact that. To leave with that kind of season record, it's very tough to take. I appreciate the fact that I can be a part of making it better."
Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.