Kevin Towers says he’d like to see next year’s Diamondbacks team surprise people just like this year’s Padres team did. But only two clubs have lost more games than the Diamondbacks this year, so the new Arizona GM has some work to do. And Towers knows which areas of his new club he'll be targeting first.
“The focus will probably be primarily on the bullpen this winter, as well as the bench,” Towers told reporters via conference call.
That isn’t to say that the entire ‘pen will be turned over, but the Diamondbacks will consider every possible avenue as they look to improve upon an MLB-worst 5.82 bullpen ERA. Towers said he’ll explore major league free agency, minor league free agency, international options and the Rule 5 Draft in search of better production.
Towers gets credit for assembling the Padres bullpen, which has an MLB-best 2.85 ERA this year. Replicating that success in the desert “really boils down to good scouting and good evaluations,” Towers said. In particular, Towers’ scouts will be instructed to look for big pitchers (potentially starters who fit best in the ‘pen) with good fastballs and “plus” secondary pitches.
The Diamondbacks will also look to acquire starting pitching depth this winter; until then, Towers is familiarizing himself with the team and his new staff. After 14 years in San Diego, Towers has many connections in the Padres front office and didn’t rule out the possibility that he might bring some of his former Padres employees to Arizona.