Kevin Towers Rumors

West Notes: Matsui, Angels, Gibson, D’Backs

Here are a handful of interesting notes from around baseball's West divisions:

  • The Athletics' interest in re-signing impending free agent DH Hideki Matsui is waning, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Oakland wants to get younger, according to Slusser, and Matsui, now 37, doesn't fit that bill. A return isn't entirely impossible, though, and A's GM Billy Beane will meet with Matsui's agent, Arn Tellem of Wasserman Media Group, next week.
  • Angels owner Arte Moreno said that the Halos' 2012 payroll will be in the $130-140MM range, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link), which would prevent them from pursuing any expensive free agents. In the Angels' installment of MLBTR's Offseason Outlook series, Ben Nicholson-Smith calculated that the Angels will have about $120MM on the books before accounting for players making the league minimum, so new GM Jerry Dipoto will have about $10-20MM to play with.
  • Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson's 2013 club option vested when the Snakes reached the playoffs this year, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. The D'Backs almost certainly would have picked up the option anyway considering Gibson's success in his first full season as skipper, but Arizona's postseason berth assured it. Gibson's coaches have all been extended through 2013, as well.
  • D'Backs GM Kevin Towers will focus on position players this offseason rather than pitchers, according to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com, with second base being a key spot of interest. It's been expected that Aaron Hill's $8MM 2012 club option will be declined, though Arizona would like to re-sign him, according to Gilbert.
  • Towers doesn't expect to find a new vice president of scouting and player development, the position vacated by Dipoto, according to Piecoro. As well, Towers and Dipoto will hash out which executives the latter will be allowed to bring to Anaheim, with director of international scouting Carlos Gomez expected to be a person of interest in those talks. "That'd be a tough one," Towers said. "He's good. International guys are hard to find, especially young guys. He is under contract. I plan on offering him even a second year."

D’Backs Will Look Into Exercising Towers’ Options

The Diamondbacks went from having the third worst record in baseball last year to the third best record in the NL this year thanks to the moves made by new GM Kevin Towers. Because of that improvement, CEO Derrick Hall told Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic that he'll look into exercising the first two-year club option (for 2013 and 2014) in Towers' contract this offseason. Towers also has another two-year club option for 2015 and 2016.

When Arizona hired Towers last offseason, they only gave him a two-year contract rather than the four-year deal most GMs receive. "I didn't want to put the organization in a position where we had another long-term deal in case it didn't work out the way we hoped it would," said Hall, referring to previous GM Josh Byrnes. Byrnes had five years left on his contract when he was fired last summer.

Towers told Piecoro that he is very happy with his current situation, and that he's not too concerned about his contract. "To me, I'm at a point in my career where I don't worry about contracts or lengths of contracts as long as the people that I work for trust the job that I'm doing and like me being here," he said. "This is where I want to be. I want to be here, not only because I like the working environment, but I like the ownership, I like the CEO and my boss, and I like where we're headed."

Our Transaction Tracker shows all of the moves Towers has made with the Diamondbacks. Known for his bullpen-building skills, Towers turned a historically bad relief corps (5.74 ERA in 2010) into a strength (3.85 ERA in 2011) by signing J.J. Putz, trading for David Hernandez and Brad Ziegler, and selecting Joe Paterson in the Rule 5 Draft. He also signed Stephen Drew to a two-year contract that bought out his remaining years of arbitration-eligibility.


Odds & Ends: Cubs, Towers, Phillies, Torre, Lee

Tuesday night links, as Scott Baker makes his first start for the Twins in nearly three weeks….

  • Jim Hendry will officially interview Ryne Sandberg for the Cubs' manager job, reports Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago. According to Levine's sources, the club also plans to talk to Pat Listach, Bob Melvin, and Bob Brenly.
  • A "reliable source" told Jim Bowden (Twitter link) that the D'Backs are set to offer Kevin Towers their GM job. Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona says no job offer has been made yet, though the team met with Towers again today (Twitter link).
  • Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly reports (via Twitter) that the Phillies have signed Franklyn Zavala, a 16-year-old Dominican pitcher, for a $330K bonus.
  • Understandably, Joe Torre's comments about the possibility of managing the Mets didn't sit well with current manager Jerry Manuel, as Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger writes. Torre apologized for his comments, telling Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that he's "closing the door on managing the Mets – and probably everybody else" (Twitter links).
  • Astros manager Brad Mills avoided the question of whether Carlos Lee would play more first base in 2011, says MLB.com's Pete Kerzel. Alyson Footer, the team's director of social media, notes in a pair of tweets that first base is Lee's strongest position and she'd like to see him there next year.
  • Pat Gillick won't rule out taking another general manager job if the right situation arises, writes Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.
  • Craig Counsell tells Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link) that he'll be back in 2011, either for the Brewers or another club.


Odds & Ends: Backe, Ellis, Crisp, Macha, Holliday

Some links to check out as the Rockies try to win their ninth straight…


Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Hendry, Lugo, Towers

On this day back in 2003, the Tigers became the first team in baseball history to have four pitchers make their Major League debut in the same game. The starter was 20-year-old Jeremy Bonderman, who gave way to 22-year-old Wil Ledezma, 25-year-old Chris Spurling, and 23-year-old Matt Roney before "veteran" closer Matt Anderson entered the game. Anderson was just 25-years-old at the time, but the first overall pick of the 1997 draft already had 210 big league appearances to his name. 

The Tigers went on the finish the season 43-119, and were rewarded by selecting Justin Verlander with the second overall pick the following season. Here's this week's set of links from around the web…

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Odds & Ends: Lowell, Ohka, Towers, Washburn

Leftover links for Tuesday evening….


Odds & Ends: Weathers, Towers, Span

Links for Tuesday…


Odds & Ends: Mauer, Strasburg, Towers, Washburn

Thursday linkage…


Yankees To Hire Kevin Towers

The Yankees will announce the hiring of former Padres GM Kevin Towers before spring, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today.  ESPN's Buster Olney had been predicting this since October.

Towers planned to meet with the Yankees, Mets, Mariners, and Red Sox during the Winter Meetings, reported MLB.com's Corey Brock.  Towers later told Tim Sullivan of the San Diego Union-Tribune that he wanted to see how an American League team was put together.  Click here to download Towers' Padres trade history, compiled by Brendan Bianowicz.


GM Trade Histories: NL West

Today Brendan Bianowicz updates the GM Trade History series for the NL West.  You can download the info-packed Excel spreadsheets below.