Kevin Towers Firing A Referendum On The Damage He Has Done
By Joseph Jacquez
Apr. 1, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA: Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers prior to the game against the St. Louis Cardinals during opening day at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Today, Diamondbacks fans finally got the news that they have been wanting to hear for quite some time. Kevin Towers has been dismissed of his duties as Diamondbacks Vice President and General Manager. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic first reported the story. Ever since Tony La Russa was hired as the team’s first ever Chief Baseball Officer, there has been constant speculation about Towers job security. On multiple occasions, La Russa has praised Towers for how hard he works, and how well he manages his staff.
Despite this praise, it was only a matter of time before Towers would be fired. La Russa wants to put his footprint on the Diamondbacks future. The only way to do that is to get rid of the old regime of decision makers, and that is what he did. The last three years counting this season has been a complete disaster, and Towers is to blame for the under-performance of this team.
As La Russa begins the search to find a new general manager, this is what he said in a statement about the decision to fire Towers:
"“Over the past three months, I have had the opportunity to evaluate all aspects of our baseball operations and have decided to restructure our staff in order to improve our decision-making process,” La Russa said in the statement. “I have the utmost respect for Kevin and a friendship with him that dates back many years which has allowed me to appreciate his talents and experience. I have offered him a new role in the front office, as I believe his skills fit well within the framework of what we are building. Understandably, he would like to see who the general manager is before making his own decision.”"
Towers enjoyed immediate success in his first full season with the Diamondbacks after being hired at the end of the 2010 season. He put together a team that won 94 games, and an N.L West division title the clubs first since 2007. That year, the Dbacks came within one game of beating the Brewers, and playing for a National League pennant. However, the Dbacks haven’t been back to the playoffs since. They finished with a .500 record in each of the past two seasons, and fans were tired at that point of mediocre baseball.
Coming into this season, there were no excuses. The Dbacks entered this year with a franchise record payroll, and a team that was talented enough on paper to contend in a tough N.L West. Instead, the Dbacks lost 22 of their first 30 games, including two games in Australia against the Dodgers to open the 2014 MLB season. They played themselves out of the playoff race before the month of May began. That is not what the fan base and ownership was looking for after back to back 81-81 seasons.
Granted, there is no way that anybody can say that the 2014 season has been a disaster. As I stated earlier, coming into 2014, this team had a roster talented enough to compete. Most MLB experts and executives with other clubs were completely shocked at how bad the Dbacks were after the first month. Lets just say nobody expected a 9-19 record.
This team has been decimated by key injuries to key players at the wrong time. Ace Patrick Corbin was lost for the whole year before the season even started after he tore his UCL. This was a huge blow to the whole pitching staff. Then Mark Trumbo was lost in the middle of April. At the time of his injury, Trumbo was near the top of the N.L in both HR’s and RBI’s. The Dbacks also lost Chris Owings when he was making the case to be the N.L Rookie of the Year, and they lost A.J. Pollock when he was the Snakes best hitter.
This has clearly defined the Snakes 2014 season, but there is no doubt that no General Manager in Dbacks history has done more damage. The biggest example is one of the worst trades in Diamondbacks history: the Justin Upton for nothing trade.
In January of 2013, the Dbacks traded Upton for Martin Prado and a bunch of prospects. Once they traded Prado, it became a disaster trade. Maybe Brandon Drury will pan out, but that is not a guarantee. Upton meanwhile is having a career year. We traded him when he was about to peak for basically nothing. One thing that really defines this trades is this statistic: Upton has 36 home runs this season by himself, and Dbacks OF’s have 34 all together.
Towers will always be known for trading young prospects for players that never panned out. He traded guys like Jarrod Parker, Trevor Bauer, and Tyler Skaggs. He got guys like Brandon McCarthy, Cody Ross, Jason Kubel, Trevor Cahill, and Martin Prado in return. Ross’s contract might be the worse. This season he is batting .241 in 68 games, and he is owed 9 million plus next season.
Here is one thing that everybody has to keep in mind. Managing General Partner Ken Kendrick has always wanted to win now, and has always told his G.M’s to get expensive veterans that can potentially help the team win now instead of waiting for talented young players to develop and make a few small moves. Kendrick has to get alot of the blame as well. I have always considered the Dbacks the Tampa Bay Rays of the West Coast. They are trying to do whatever they can to try to compete with the heavyweights (Dodgers, Giants), and its just not realistic.
However, it is clear that the Diamondbacks needed someone else to make baseball operations decisions if they are going to get back to October. That is why I dont understand why Towers is planning to stay in the organization in some capacity, probably in a scouting role. Towers way of thinking needs to be completely removed from the organization if the Dbacks plan on having success in the future.