Diamondbacks Remove Kevin Towers From GM Role

9:27am: Arizona has announced via press release (in a somewhat oblique manner) that Towers has been removed from the general manager position.

The club says that it will open a search for a new GM, with the interview process beginning this week. “Any additional changes within the Baseball Operations department will be decided upon jointly” between LaRussa, President and CEO Derrick Hall, and the new GM, according to the announcement.

Meanwhile, Towers has seemingly not been fired, per se. The team says that he has been offered another position within the organization, and is considering the opportunity. In a prepared statement, LaRussa says that Towers “would like to see who the general manager is before making his own decision.”

1:56am: The Diamondbacks have fired general manager Kevin Towers, sources tell Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Towers becomes the second NL West GM to be dismissed during the 2014 campaign, as Padres GM Josh Byrnes was let go earlier in the summer.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Arizona Diamondbacks

Towers, who has been in the GM’s chair for Arizona since succeeding interim GM Jerry Dipoto (now GM of the Angels) back in 2010. His job security has been questioned over the course of the season given the Diamondbacks’ dismal performance, which will result in their third consecutive season without a playoff appearance.

Earlier this season, the Diamondbacks hired Tony La Russa to serve as the club’s Chief Baseball Officer — a position that was created in order to analyze and oversee the club’s decision-making process. That move prompted many to speculate that Towers’ days with the organization could be numbered, which does appear to be the case, as Piecoro hears that an official announcement on the move will be coming in the morning.

Few of the moves that Towers has made in recent seasons have panned out well. This past offseason, he dealt center fielder Adam Eaton and left-hander Tyler Skaggs in order to acquire Mark Trumbo from the Angels — a move that he felt was necessary to address a lack of power from the team’s corner outfielders. However, the move came just a season after Arizona dealt Justin Upton (and Chris Johnson) to the Braves in exchange for what most believed at the time to be an underwhelming package of Martin Prado, Randall Delgado, Brandon Drury and Zeke Spruill. The Trumbo acquisition, however, was just one attempt at bringing a power-hitting corner bat back into the organization, as Towers also inked Cody Ross to a three-year, $26MM pact that has been a negative for the organization.

Prado was signed to a four-year, $40MM extension before playing so much as a game with the D’Backs, but that contract looked questionable at best just 18 months later when he was dealt to the Yankees in exchange for power-hitting prospect Peter O’Brien. The team also received little in exchange for right-hander Ian Kennedy — left-handed reliever Joe Thatcher, relief prospect Matt Stites and competitive balance (Round B) draft pick — and then watched Kennedy go on to have a strong rebound in his first full season with San Diego.

Towers’ trade of Trevor Bauer in a three-team deal that netted Didi Gregorius — a light-hitting but defensively gifted shortstop — was also the source of scrutiny, though Gregorius still looks to have some promise. The D’Backs seemed dissatisfied with Bauer’s behavior, and he wasn’t the only player whose demeanor didn’t sit well with management. The Diamondbacks reportedly allowed players’ laid back personalities to fuel multiple transactions, including the aforementioned trade of Upton.

Ultimately, while Towers’ tenure had its bright spots — the five-year, $32MM extension signed by Paul Goldschmidt looks tremendous for the D’Backs at this point — his run as GM appeared to consist of more moves that served as steps backward than moves that provided a foundation for on-field success.

It’s been speculated that Towers, if dismissed by the D’Backs, could return to San Diego in an advisory capacity, though Padres officials denied on multiple occasions that they’d had any conversations with Towers regarding the potential move. Now that he is on the market, Towers will obviously be free to explore a new post with the Padres or any other club.

Looking ahead for Arizona, LaRussa has only begun the work of turning things around. He still has to decide on the fate of manager Kirk Gibson, who was serving as interim manager when Towers was hired but was ultimately awarded the full-time job. And more importantly, LaRussa will presumably spearhead a search for a new general manager to work under him. It remains to be seen what kind of timeline the club will work under, but there should be sufficient time to install a new GM before the offseason kicks into gear if that is the intention.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


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55 Comments on "Diamondbacks Remove Kevin Towers From GM Role"


JacobyWanKenobi
11 months 26 days ago

I knew they’d have a winning season!

letsgogiants
11 months 26 days ago

A move that needed to be done for the D-Backs. Hopefully the front office gets an entire makeover. Just a few years ago, this team was looking very strong with a good blend of young and veteran talent. But now they look like a team with many holes to fill. For the D-Backs sakes, they really need a good GM to make up for all the talent Towers has managed to trade away the past couple years.

Chioakcisco
11 months 26 days ago

Hope Kirk Gibson has his unemployment papers ready.

steimel
11 months 26 days ago

They’ll probably wait until the day after the last game of the regular season. The NFL teams seem to follow that course of action as good as anyone.

Brian Baker
11 months 26 days ago

Maybe they’ll let him pick his replacement as well.

PlayBoyBuddy Rose
11 months 26 days ago

lol!

Doug
11 months 26 days ago

Justin Upton, Max Scherzer, Jarrod Parker, Trevor Bauer, Tyler Skaggs, Ian Kennedy, Ryan Cook, Adam Eaton…boy the future (could have) looked bright!

Sean
11 months 26 days ago

No one was ecstatic about Ryan Cook when he was in AZ.

Sufferfortribe
11 months 26 days ago

In Bauer’s case, just not the 1st inning. :(

ratboy
11 months 26 days ago

Towers is bad but he didn’t trade Max Scherzer.

peregrintook69
11 months 26 days ago

Although in hindsight the Detroit Tigers killed on that three team trade.

Jeff McCoy
11 months 26 days ago

No big deal, but Adam Eaton links to the retired pitcher and not the White Sox player.

11 months 26 days ago

Thanks, I’ll edit.

11 months 26 days ago

Always seems to happen

11 months 26 days ago

It’s our auto-linker. As with Chris Young, others. Need to add him to the mental checklist of players you have to manually add.

11 months 26 days ago

I’ve got no respect for people who air their dirty laundry to the media like Towers did again and again.

craigcounsellhitsbombs
11 months 26 days ago

Not even an AZ fan and still: Finally! When you hear more about the upper management/leadership of a team than you do about the actual team, it’s time to make a change.

jv1975disqus
11 months 26 days ago

I thought he did a good job in San Diego, but his moves in Arizona were completely baffling (however I didn’t hate the Upton trade as much as most people did). He deserves to be fired based on the Bauer trade alone, let alone the Eaton/Skaggs/Trumbo deal.

The argument was that Gregorious was a great defensive shortstop. Fine. There was no reason to think he would ever hit at the major league level. So he comes to Arizona, predictably doesn’t hit, predictably plays pretty good defense, and then gets sent to the minors after doing *exactly what he was expected to do* because they have a better shortstop prospect who apparently Towers forgot about when he traded his former 1st round draft pick.

rct
11 months 26 days ago

Out of curiosity, as I’m not a Padres fan and know little about them, what good moves did he make in San Diego?

jv1975disqus
11 months 26 days ago

I was impressed with his ability to build a pitching staff (and even moreso for the bullpen) on such a limited budget. Guys like Bell, Gregerson, etc. He found some legitimate stars who were either castoffs from other teams (Nevin) or low(ish) draft picks (Peavy). I might be cherry picking, and his record for high draft picks is horrible, but I always thought he did a good job with a limited budgets. 4 division titles in his time there isn’t so bad…

vonjunk
11 months 26 days ago

Pretty obvious now he was able to i.d. valuable middle of the road guys from the trash bin, but when it came to finding real talent and understanding young talent, he was lost.

jv1975disqus
11 months 26 days ago

Understanding young (i.e. amateur) talent – I totally agree. But finding “real” talent – I’m not really sure what you mean by that. Do you not consider Nevin, Caminiti, Finley, Klesko, etc. to be “real” talent? Most of these guys came to San Diego and had some of the best years of their careers.

Sky14
11 months 26 days ago

Happy for Dback fans. A bad GM can destroy a franchise quite quickly and take many years to recover from, my Twins suffered through the same with Billy Smith. Hopefully the Dbacks can get a competent front office in and have a quick recovery.

Curt Green
11 months 26 days ago

Hopefully, the Twins will do it quicker but I fear they won’t.

Sky14
11 months 26 days ago

The Twins turnaround has already begun, their farm is restocked and just beginning to bear fruit. Players like Santana, Vargas and Arcia are contributing with more and likely better to come. Similar to Towers with the Dbacks, Smith left the team in a pretty bad position with trades that yielded little. Baseball is not a sport with quick turnarounds like football. When there are few major league assets and a barren farm it can be many years before things improve.

AZDbacksfan1
11 months 26 days ago

And so, every Diamondbacks fan wept tears of joy, for the man that has almost single handedly ruined or team has finally saw his days of awful trades and decisions come to an end. Rip in peace Kevin Towers (but not really)

MattDbacks
11 months 25 days ago

“Rip in peace”

k26dp
11 months 26 days ago

Hopefully they’ll get a gritty, gamer GM to replace Towers. Maybe Pig-Pen.

ratboy
11 months 26 days ago

“First priority: we need Rougned Odor.”

Brian Baker
11 months 26 days ago

9 months from tonight Keith Law will have another child, named anything but Kevin.

Sufferfortribe
11 months 26 days ago

Bye Kirk.

BAINES03
11 months 26 days ago

See, Larussa DID learn something from Jerry Reinsdorf. Never actually fire somebody. Just move him somewhere else where he will be paid yet have zero responsibility or input.

That being said, it’s a sad day for White Sox and Angels fans. No more ripping off the D-backs.

Chioakcisco
11 months 26 days ago

And the A’s, for that matter.

GameMusic3
11 months 25 days ago

And Yankees.

Brian Baker
11 months 26 days ago

The look on Kevin Towers’ face says it all.

Curt Green
11 months 26 days ago

Next: Terry Ryan

Lefty_Orioles_Fan
Lefty_Orioles_Fan
11 months 26 days ago

Their season got off on the wrong foot.
They got got swept down under and then their season went under
Start fresh and see what happens.

PS Yeah, that Cody Ross contract doesn’t look good and I like Cody Ross.

vonjunk
11 months 26 days ago

A couple games in Australia did not make or break their season. Decisions on personal did. Towers was given the highest budget in Dbacks history and spent his money locking up middling players to long term contracts, secured more middling players by trading from a good staple of youth and produced a pile of middling garbage that took the field this year. Towers pinned too much hope on Tyler Corbin and middle of the road starters. When Corbin went down the pitching staff had no one to step up, as they were all middle-of-the-road. Injuries did hurt, but not grabbing some top talent with trades or paying for top talent has hurt the team and is why Towers was sort of dismissed.

rundmc1981
11 months 26 days ago

I’ve never heard “oblique” used as an adjective…and now I have! Grammar wins!

11 months 26 days ago

Is this actually a complaint with my grammar, or am I not understanding? Because “oblique” is, in fact, an adjective.

rundmc1981
11 months 24 days ago

No complaints. Appreciate hearing the word usage. No sarcasm here.

11 months 22 days ago

Cool, thanks … can be hard to distinguish snark sometimes!

ratboy
11 months 26 days ago

As a Dbacks fan I’m curious: where is everybody getting the “Gregorius is a great defender” sentiment from? I know he was scouted as such, but watching him at the MLB level he has not looked like an above average defensive SS. Metrics put him at about average, I think that’s a bit optimistic personally but this isn’t a guy I would rearrange an infield around…I really hope new management will at least try Owings at SS a little while longer so his value stays solid.

vonjunk
11 months 26 days ago

Hey! As a fellow Diamondbacks fan, I advise waiting to be honest abut Didi until we hopefully trade him. You’ll fall into the same trap Towers so often set for himself. Be little a player, diminish his value, and then try to trade him (read: Upton, Bauer, even Skaggs).
The infield should be Goldy, Hill, Owings and Lamb. Didi was a Towers baby and most likely will be traded unless we can find a taker for Hill. I’d even advise against trading Hill at present because the Dbacks would have to eat a lot of salary and get little to nothing in return. Hill is a good defender who can run hot and cold at the plate and seems to have an every other year thing going. Next year he should do well in the pattern and that is when the team should consider a trade…but not need to trade him. The real trade target should be Didi, as his perceived value, connected to his position and reputation will never be higher. Plus, he isn’t such a good hitter, either. Shhhhh, I know, wait for that trade!

ratboy
11 months 26 days ago

Well I guess you can all blame me when Didi can’t be leveraged for quite as much as Towers spent, though I’m sure Dbacks fans are used to that by now.

MattDbacks
11 months 25 days ago

Didi is a really good defender and solid athlete, so I’d tend to agree with the rave reviews about his defense.