Kevin Towers Rumors
Links for Wednesday...
- Kevin Towers has a standing offer from the Red Sox, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. For now, Towers plans on taking a few months off. In contrast, a week ago ESPN's Buster Olney wrote that "there would appear to be excellent odds that Towers will land with the Yankees as a special assistant sometime in the months ahead."
- The Cubs' contract with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo is official.
- Miguel Angel Sano received his U.S. work visa, according to SI's Melissa Segura.
- The new Rays hitting coach is Derek Shelton, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times.
- Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic crafts an offseason plan for the Diamondbacks, who have a decent amount of money to work with. We did our Offseason Outlook for the team back in September.
- J.C. Bradbury of Sabernomics says tendering a contract to arbitration-eligible right fielder Jeff Francoeur is probably worthwhile for the Mets. I don't sense that non-tendering him is a serious consideration.
- Donald Fehr will receive an $11MM parting gift when he steps down from his MLBPA position, says ESPN's Amy K. Nelson. The players were mostly in favor of the decision, according to Curtis Granderson.
- The Rangers met with Jim Crane's group Tuesday, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. Two more potential investing groups are scheduled.
- Backup catcher Mike Redmond told MLB.com's Kelly Thesier he plans on playing next year, whether or not it's with the Twins.
- 41-year-old righty Keiichi Yabu also hopes to play in 2010, says NPB Tracker's Ryo Shinkawa.
- Reliever George Sherrill has no hard feelings about the Orioles trading him to the Dodgers, says Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.
- MLB.com's Dick Kaegel talked to Zack Greinke, who was characteristically blunt.
- In a Saturday post, Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts said he'd like to see how GM Ned Colletti handles the decreased payroll flexibility once his young players reach arbitration. Weisman is even-handed in his assessment of Colletti, but here's a funny quote: "I don't laud him for retaining the young core of the team: Kershaw, Kemp, Billingsley, Broxton, Martin, et al. Knowing not to dump those guys is like knowing not to show up to work in your underwear."
FRIDAY, 5:53pm: Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports writes that the Padres and Diamondbacks could work out a compensation package for Arizona VP of player personnel Jerry DiPoto. San Diego CEO Jeff Moorad has what he characterized as a "gentleman's agreement" not to raid his former club for candidates, but Morosi says that the stipulation could be waived for the right price. Moorad is said to have a "very high opinion" of DiPoto.
In addition to labeling Red Sox assistant GM Jed Hoyer as a "strong candidate" (per industry sources), Morosi writes that some in the industry expect Dodgers assistant GM Kim Ng to be considered. Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine has drawn the interest of the Padres, but the team has yet to seek permission to interview him.
WEDNESDAY, 2:02pm: MLB.com's Corey Brock, via Twitter, says Forst has not been interviewed and the Gillick rumor below is untrue. Furthermore, the A's emailed the AP to say the Padres have not asked permission to interview Forst. SI's Jon Heyman's sources believe Hoyer is the favorite.
WEDNESDAY, 8:37am: Center says the Padres have two more GM interviews in addition to the three they've already conducted. He says Hoyer, David Forst, and Pat Gillick "have surfaced in connection with the Padres vacancy." Meanwhile, Newsday's Ken Davidoff says via Twitter that the Padres have not contacted the Yankees for permission to speak with Eppler.
TUESDAY: Let's discuss the latest buzz around the Padres.
- MLB.com's Corey Brock says the team's baseball operations department will be run by manager Bud Black, executive VP Paul DePodesta and assistant GM Fred Uhlman Jr. until CEO Jeff Moorad finds Kevin Towers' replacement at GM.
- Moorad has interviewed three candidates for GM, with more to come. He hopes to make the hire within a few weeks. Red Sox assistant GM Jed Hoyer and Yankees director of pro scouting Billy Eppler have been rumored.
- Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes about the Padres' offseason needs (they have roughly $10MM to spend). Center says the team needs a right-handed hitting center fielder, and Mike Cameron's name surfaced.
- Center suggests that to save money the Padres might have to shop Kevin Kouzmanoff, Heath Bell, or both. He even wonders if they'd non-tender Kevin Correia and attempt to sign him more cheaply (presumably using his desire to play near home as leverage).
- On his blog, DePodesta writes about the difficult realities of working within baseball.
- Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues suggests the Yankees should add Towers to their front office.
MLB.com's Fred Claire spoke to Kevin Towers about the future. The former Padres GM has already received a dozen inquiries. Towers' money quotes:
"I know I don't want to be in an office if I'm not a general manager. And I'm not looking for a job where I feel the GM might be in jeopardy, that's not me."
That might rule out a position under Mets GM Omar Minaya. Towers also said he would be willing to work for another GM if his job consisted of scouting rather than spending time in an actual office.
Some links to peruse in between innings of the Cards/Dodgers game....
- Barry M. Bloom at MLB.com writes that Twins catcher Joe Mauer is concerned with "winning, not fame." Mauer's willingness to fly under the radar might be good news for Minnesota fans worried that the batting champ will eventually leave town for a larger market. Of course, I'm sure knocking off the Yankees would help too.
- No one thinks former Padres' GM Kevin Towers will be out of work for long. Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that Towers should be the first choice for any team seeking a general manager. The New York Post's Bart Hubbuch adds that he expects Towers to join the Mets' front office, since Omar Minaya's tenuous grasp on his job could result in an eventual promotion for Towers.
- Joel Pineiro tells MLB.com's Tom Singer that developing a sinker was the key to his 2009 success. Singer points out that Pineiro leads all free agent starters in a handful of categories this year, including baserunners allowed. The 31-year-old righty will get a chance to prove his effectiveness on a bigger stage this weekend against the Dodgers.
- Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe speculates on Joba Chamberlain's 2010 role, wondering if "the pitcher Red Sox fans love to hate may be no better than a set-up man after all."
- Baseball America's Aaron Fitt views the settlement between the NCAA and Andy Oliver as a "return to status quo" for the draft's "no agent" rule, but doesn't anticipate it lasting long.
- We've heard some rumblings that Oakland's David Forst might be in the mix for the Padres' vacant GM spot. ESPN.com's Rob Neyer wonders, if it's true, why the Padres wouldn't just hire the ex-A's assistant GM they already have: Paul DePodesta.
Links for Tuesday...
- Chat today, 2pm CST.
- The Marlins will retain manager Fredi Gonzalez, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post believes the Mets will look to take on overpriced players via trade this winter.
- A must-read from Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: his ten steps to re-boot the Pirates for 2010. Kovacevic again notes that closer Matt Capps will be on the trading block.
- RotoWorld's Matthew Pouliot looks at the performance of a couple of Alex Anthopoulos fantasy teams from ten years ago. My best pick from '99 was definitely Mike Sweeney.
- Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News has a transcript of yesterday's Brian Sabean/Bruce Bochy sit-down. Lots of good stuff in there.
- Tyler Bleszinski of Athletics Nation has part two of his Billy Beane chat. Beane seems interested in retaining free agent infielder Adam Kennedy.
- ESPN's Buster Olney wrote yesterday that "rival executives are already speculating about Kevin Towers' possible connection to the Texas Rangers if -- and it's a big if -- Dennis Gilbert's group wins the bidding for the team."
Mets GM Omar Minaya has interest in hiring two of his former counterparts, Kevin Towers and J.P. Ricciardi. Joel Sherman of the New York Postsays Minaya contacted the ousted GMs "to express his support...and also to lay the groundwork to speak to both soon about possible jobs in the Mets' organization."
Sherman notes that Minaya is on thin ice, and bringing in his potential replacement is a double-edged sword. Plus, Minaya would have to deal with Towers ribbing him about the Heath Bell trade.
In other Mets news, Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse reported on Twitterthis morning that Minaya fired coaches Sandy Alomar Sr. and Luis Alicea while retaining Howard Johnson and Dan Warthen. Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News has a few more details.
A few links on the second to last day of the regular season...
- Even though they'll finish with the worst record in baseball, Nationals GM Mike Rizzo indicated that it's not a lock the team will draft Bryce Harper first overall next year, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson. Says Rizzo: "I haven't seen him yet. He certainly hasn't separated himself like [pitcher] Stephen Strasburg did last year."
- CBSSports.com reports that Kevin Towers said he wasn't given a specific reason for his termination, but KT did say that he's "been around long enough to know why."
- Juan C. Rodriguez of The Sun Sentinel says that Florida's final 2009 payroll was just under $35.6MM. Hanley Ramirez ($5.5MM) and Dan Uggla ($5.35MM) were the only Marlins to make more than $3.5MM this year.
- Matthew Carruth at FanGraphs weighs in with his opinion of the Towers and J.P. Ricciardi firings.
Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com has a new Full Count video up this afternoon, so let's see what he's got for us...
- The Indians plan to conduct 8-10 phone interviews for their managerial vacancy, then bring in 3-5 finalists by the third week of October, presumably for formal interviews. Bobby Valentine will be "on the short list," and will almost certainly get an interview. Buck Showalter will not be a candidate.
- Cleveland is proceeding with the search as if Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell will not be a candidate, however that could change quickly if Farrell expresses interest in the job. At that point, the three parties involved would need to discuss a way around the clause in the Farrell's contract that prohibits him from seeking a managerial job elsewhere.
- Signing Josh Johnson long-term is the Marlins' top priority this offseason. In order to get a deal done, Florida will need to "exceed significantly" the four year, $38MM deal the Royals gave Zack Greinke, who was at a similar service time level last offseason.
- If a deal doesn't get done, Johnson will almost certainly not sign an extension next offseason, when he'd be just one year away from free agency. At that point, the Fish would need to trade him.
- Who will replace Kevin Towers as Padres GM? Paul DePodesta, a special assistant to Towers and former GM of the Dodgers, is not interested in the job. Pat Gillick doesn't figure to be a candidate either.
- The leading candidate might be Diamondbacks' exec Jerry DiPoto, but the Padres would need approval from the commissioner's office to get him. CEO Jeff Moorad left the D-Backs just last December, and the league frowns upon executives raiding their former teams for front office talent.
- However, DiPoto has already interviewed for openings with the Nationals and Mariners, so it would be difficult for the D-Backs to make much of a fuss.
- Carl Crawford is "well intentioned" when he says he wants to sign a long-term extension with Tampa Bay. The problem is that the team probably won't offer him enough to keep him from becoming a free agent at the end of 2010.
- The bigger question is Joe Mauer, who can also hit free agency next winter. Mauer told The NY Times earlier this week that he is not interested in becoming the highest paid player in the game, even though he probably deserves to be. He is represented by Ron Shapiro, the same agent that kept Cal Ripken Jr. in Baltimore and Kirby Puckett in Minnesota. Shapiro clearly understands the value of a player staying with one team his entire career.
- Shapiro, father of Indians GM Mark Shapiro, would be "sticking it to his son" a bit by keeping Mauer in the AL Central. That's my phrase, not Rosenthal's.
Some links on a surprisingly busy Saturday morning...
- Here's a link to this morning's post containing comments from Padres CEO Jeff Moorad about the firing of Kevin Towers. It was quickly buried by the news of J.P. Ricciardi being let go, so you may have missed it.
- FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal says that Towers "should be relieved to be out of an organization in which he constantly faced ownership interference, payroll reductions and other forms of nonsense."
- Stoeten at Drunk Jays Fans provides some fan reaction to the Ricciardi move. Moral of the story: it was a move that had to be made, but what took so long?
- MLB.com's Scott Merkin says that we could once again hear Bobby Jenks' name mentioned in trade rumors this offseason. The team has a capable replacement in Matt Thornton, and Jenks figures to get a raise on his $5.6MM salary through arbitration.
- Rod Barajas has interest in returning to Toronto next season, and indicated that he wasn't sure if the rift between players and manager Cito Gaston would influence his decision, according to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian.
Kevin Towers, the longest-tenured general manager in baseball, was let go by the Padres last night. He was at the helm for 498 of Trevor Hoffman's saves and 740 of Tony Gwynn's hits, but the team went 1,107-1,160 under his watch. There is still one more year left on his contract, which Cot's says makes him "one of the top five or six highest-paid GMs."
Tim Sullivan of The San Diego Union Tribune spoke to team CEO Jeff Moorad about the situation, who was very complimentary of Towers, as you'd expect.
“The organization is indebted to Kevin for not only the 14 years he served as general manager, but for the fact that the club is well-positioned to go forward into the future,” Moorad told the Union-Tribune in an exclusive interview before Friday night's game at Petco Park. “I think we need to build a better baseball operations department, better skilled at the areas we're committed to going forward.
“I admire (Towers') skills very much and respect his relationships that exist around the game. But I think over the next period of time, our focus is on more of a strategic approach to drafting and development that has a chance to compete in the division year-in and year-out.”
Although he did not mention specific candidates, Moorad said his search for a replacement has not been internal and indicated that it could take weeks, rather than days. Sullivan lists Diamondbacks VP Jerry DiPoto and the "semi-retired" Pat Gillick as possible replacements.