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The Diamondbacks fire Kevin Towers

Sep 5, 2014, 7:30 AM EDT

Kevin Towers AP

In the end, it is not surprising. It is also not unjustified. The Arizona Diamondbacks have fired Kevin Towers as their general manager. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic broke the news in the wee hours this morning. The team is expected to make a formal announcement later this morning. There is no news if manager Kirk Gibson still has a job.

Towers was hired at the end of the 2010 season, and in 2011 the team was fantastic. Winners of 94 games before losing to the Brewers in the NLDS. But the team dipped to .500 in 2012 and repeated with an 81-81 record last year. This year was far worse. As of this writing the Dbacks would have to win every single one of their remaining 23 games in order to finish .500. Obviously not happening.

Many of Towers’ moves can be blamed for the Dbacks’ backslide. He traded away Justin Upton to the Atlanta Braves for a package of Martin Prado — who is now gone, after Towers locked him up to a long-term deal — and Randall Delgado who has been a disappointment. He traded away pitchers Ian Kennedy, Trevor Bauer, Jarrod Parker and Tyler Skaggs, all of whom have had success away from Arizona. He signed Brandon McCarthy, who was subsequently ordered not to throw his most effective pitch, only to trade him away to the Yankees where he has been successful since being allowed to throw it again. None of the players Towers got back in those trades have flourished in the desert.

Beyond the trades, Towers has brought considerable criticism to the organization in the last two years following public statements about how he wanted players with a certain type of attitude — gritty and hard-nosed — and how he wanted his pitchers to intentionally throw at opposing hitters in order to show that the Dbacks were not themselves easy targets. The former idea was mocked because, in almost all cases, the “gritty, gamer” label is applied to players as a descriptor after they win as opposed to quality that baseball executives seek out over and above, say, baseball talent. Towers claims the plunking thing was misconstrued by the media, but it’s hard to buy that after seeing Dbacks pitchers throw at batters this year under the orders and to the praise of Dbacks manager Kirk Gibson.

Ultimately, though, a GM can survive anything as long as he gets results. Towers has not gotten results in Arizona, and now he’s gone.

  1. proudlycanadian - Sep 5, 2014 at 7:33 AM

    What took so long?

    • drs76109 - Sep 5, 2014 at 1:17 PM

      Probably it relates to idfentifying the former St L Cardinal who will undoubtedly replace him.

      Same is likely true for Kirk Gibson as manager. (Wonder if Dave Duncan would like to manage?)

    • drs76109 - Sep 5, 2014 at 1:17 PM

      Probably it relates to identifying the former St L Cardinal who will undoubtedly replace him.

      Same is likely true for Kirk Gibson as manager. (Wonder if Dave Duncan would like to manage?)

  2. Ren Ignatiago - Sep 5, 2014 at 7:34 AM

    That’s one down.

    • Old Gator - Sep 5, 2014 at 8:56 AM

      Yeah. The horned toads have been disappearing. Now it’s the general managers’ turn. Let’s see if the horned toads will come back if the Snakes stop throwing at their heads.

  3. trbmb - Sep 5, 2014 at 7:38 AM

    Please take Cashboy to replace Towers, but before you do, make sure there is plenty of cash for Cashboy.

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - Sep 5, 2014 at 8:03 AM

      Name a GM that’s available that has had more success than Cashman.

      • Kevin S. - Sep 5, 2014 at 9:12 AM

        I’m convinced this account is actually Louise Meanwell. There are valid criticisms of Cashman, but all this one can say is is “Cashboy” repeatedly among meaningless argle-bargle.

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Sep 5, 2014 at 9:44 AM

        I agree, there are plenty of valid criticisms, but who are you going to replace him with? Towers? RAJ? You can clamor for change all you want, but what if the options are worse than what you have?

      • Kevin S. - Sep 5, 2014 at 10:19 AM

        The good GMs all have jobs. You think you’re going to poach Andrew Friedman? Good luck with that. If you fire him, you’re going with either a re-tread or an unknown, and while I’d be fine giving an up-and-comer a shot if there actually was a vacancy, I don’t think that’s a better bet than just keeping Cashman.

      • natstowngreg - Sep 5, 2014 at 11:29 AM

        This is why the timing is so curious. With 3 weeks left in the regular season, who’s on the market who would be any better? [BTW, whatever happened to AJ Hinch, who was supposed to be an up-and-coming GM?]

        Do they have an internal candidate they think would be better? They had one, once upon a time. Guy named Mike Rizzo. He’s gainfully employed elsewhere. I suppose D-backs ownership could throw a big wad of money at Cashman or Rizzo, and dare the Steinbrenners or Lerners to match it. Though the Steinbrenners have made it clear they want to keep Cashman, and there have been no rumblings of dissatisfaction with Rizzo.

      • Paper Lions - Sep 5, 2014 at 11:54 AM

        WRT candidates, the public doesn’t really have enough information to know who the good up and coming GM candidates are….unless we rely on those that were finalists in other recent GM searches.

        If Towers is no longer doing anything useful and they are going to fire him anyway, may as well do it now and start the search….the sooner you start, the more likely you are to get the person you want if there is competition for GM candidates.

        WRT Cashman. He’s been fine. He is in a unique situation and the mandate and resources are not the same as they are for other teams, which results in a different decision making process.

    • gloccamorra - Sep 5, 2014 at 4:02 PM

      natstowngreg: A.J. Hinch resigned from the Padres when Preller was hired, and is, um, available. Unfortunately, he’s tied to Jeff Moorad both in San Diego and Arizona, and is unlikely to be hired by current Arizona management.

  4. chill1184 - Sep 5, 2014 at 7:40 AM

    Prediction: Towers is gone after the season is over

    • cshearing - Sep 5, 2014 at 8:23 AM

      Prediction: You do not know how to read, but somehow do know how to write.

      • Old Gator - Sep 5, 2014 at 8:57 AM

        Analysis: you cannot read a sarcasm font. Consider radial keratotomy.

    • 4d3fect - Sep 5, 2014 at 9:49 AM

      You’re gonna eat a bowl of chow mein and get hungry real soon

      I PREDICT

      • bfunk1978 - Sep 5, 2014 at 10:20 AM

        Dammit you can see directly INTO MY SOUL.

    • raysfan1 - Sep 5, 2014 at 10:18 AM

      Breaking News: Francisco Franco is still dead.

      • asimonetti88 - Sep 5, 2014 at 10:35 AM

        Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead! But he’s feeling better every day…

  5. miguelcairo - Sep 5, 2014 at 7:42 AM

    No doubt a step in the right direction.

  6. nottinghamforest13 - Sep 5, 2014 at 7:47 AM

    Keith Law will release an article today praising Towers while taking a dump all over Larussa.

  7. theebbandflow - Sep 5, 2014 at 7:49 AM

    Ultimately, though, a GM can survive anything as long as he gets results.

    AND YET Ruben Amaro Jr. still has a job…

    • burnmybreadandcall911 - Sep 5, 2014 at 7:56 AM

      Don’t expect him to get fired anytime soon, guy’s wearing plot armor and is serving as the main anti-hero of this ugly story.

      • Old Gator - Sep 5, 2014 at 8:58 AM

        That’s not armor plating. It’s a foul tasting skin secretion, very much like the one that protects newts.

  8. chargrz - Sep 5, 2014 at 8:24 AM

    He is a huge reason the Padres have been as bad as are even today. His drafts are epic failures. How he ever had a job is a mystery.

    • Old Gator - Sep 5, 2014 at 9:26 AM

      Here. You need to read this for an explanation:

      • 4d3fect - Sep 5, 2014 at 8:09 PM

        Assigned reading for one of my high school classes, unbelievable. Explains everything. I’ve been practicing creative incompetence ever since.

    • gloccamorra - Sep 5, 2014 at 4:10 PM

      The Padres have had four baseball head honchos, four GMs and three owners in the last ten years. Towers was just the first of the four GMs and had to answer to three of the head honchos: Owner Moores, Club president Sandy Alderson, and sort-of, almost owner Jeff Moorad, who fired him. The rest of the Padres mess was accomplished without Towers.

  9. 2bbige - Sep 5, 2014 at 8:44 AM

    Us Dodger fans lament the loss of Towers & will immediately launch a “Keep Kirk” campaign. Hate losing guys who are more concerned about pool swimming than wins/losses!!

    • drewy44 - Sep 5, 2014 at 9:34 AM

      For the sake of our hitters getting plunked, I would prefer both Towers and Gibson gone.

  10. skerney - Sep 5, 2014 at 8:58 AM

    *Gibby learns he still has a job today
    *Rounds the bases doing his trademark fake hobble/chainsaw gimmick

    • Old Gator - Sep 5, 2014 at 8:59 AM

      Shop smart! Shop S-MART!

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Sep 5, 2014 at 9:10 AM

        s-m-a-r-t???

      • weaselpuppy - Sep 5, 2014 at 11:16 AM

        Groovy…

    • gloccamorra - Sep 5, 2014 at 4:18 PM

      Gibby has a job because LaRussa is leaving his fate to the new GM. Hold off on the Spring Training reservations.

  11. luz56 - Sep 5, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    And the sooner Kirk Gibson is let go the better… A fresh start here in Arizona where we have failed miserably for three years with these two buffoons

    • nsauser - Sep 5, 2014 at 10:04 AM

      We need new upper management and a new managing partner too.

    • gbrim - Sep 5, 2014 at 12:15 PM

      I predict Gibby will keep his job, and Montgomery will be promoted to the GM position, with TLR functioning as the GM for purposes of trades, FA signings, etc. Montgomery will run the farm system, scouting dept. etc.

      TLR has been full of praise for Gibby and the farm system, and was much more muted in his comments on Towers, hence my prediction.

      • gloccamorra - Sep 5, 2014 at 4:21 PM

        Well, he gave Towers a generous pat on the back while kicking him out the door.

  12. bobbassbal - Sep 5, 2014 at 9:46 AM

    The report about Towers being fired is somewhat wrong. A press release will come out later this morning saying Towers is going to be reassigned to a “yet to be determined role” in the Diamondbacks organization and that they are searching for a new GM. That GM will ultimately be Dave Stewart.

  13. nsauser - Sep 5, 2014 at 9:56 AM

    Good riddance! Anyone want the blueprint for sabotaging an MLB team?? Call Towers, he’s got the perfect plan.

    • asimonetti88 - Sep 5, 2014 at 10:44 AM

      Honestly, it might not be a bad idea to hire him as an adviser… and then do the exact opposite of everything he says.

  14. skipperxc - Sep 5, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    I’m disinclined to assign meaning to a single event, but Towers and Gibson both have never seemed to get over losing to Milwaukee (and Ryan Braun, specifically) in that playoff series. Every year it seems they had new reasons to hold that grudge.

  15. thebadguyswon - Sep 5, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    One dirtbag down, one dirtbag to go.

  16. phillysports1 - Sep 5, 2014 at 10:35 AM

    @ Old Gator.

    Heard of Rube Amaro ?

  17. bigmeechy74 - Sep 5, 2014 at 10:36 AM

    He literally couldn’t have done a worse job if he tried. He got the least possible value in every trade he made. He got nothing for upton, bauer etc. Man what a pathetic era

  18. bolweevils2 - Sep 5, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    I think the Phillies will follow by firing Ruben Amaro. Then the D’Backs will decide Amaro is just the type of guy they want to run their team, and the Phillies will decide Towers is the perfect fit in Philadelphia.

    • drs76109 - Sep 5, 2014 at 1:25 PM

      That’s not going to happen. The Phillies like insularity and “family”. If they do release Amaro as GM, likely he’d stay in the organization and then they’d bring in someone like Bob Boone, a former player who is currently an assistant GM for the Washington Nationals.

      The issue with the Phillies is protecting the “family” – i.e., a GM who will not come in and fire everyone who’s been there for, like, forever…that is exactly what Pat Gillick agreed to when he took the GM job a few years ago. Elsewise, he would not have been hired.

      I say this ruefully, as a Phillies fan, as I do think Amaro has to go, and I’be increasingly been coming to the thought that Sandberg needs to go, since he seems to be just a little “not ready for prime time” as a manager.

  19. cfischeraz - Sep 5, 2014 at 11:41 AM

    Hey, Calcaterra, stop being a one-trick pony when it comes to the D’backs and hitting opposing players. The D’backs are nowhere near as bad at it as the Pirates are.

    Pittsburgh hit Goldschmidt last year and they sidelined him for the season this year, so the D’backs got back at them the next night. You posted the right stuff that night – how they should have thrown early instead of late, how they should have stopped after the first attempt went bad, etc. – but if Arizona is guilty of anything it’s talking about it afterwards.

    Take a look at the stats. This year Pittsburgh leads the league in hitting opposing batters by a big margin: 76 – 62 over the ChiSox. The Pirates have already exceeded last year’s league leading total of 70.

    Arizona is 26th with 38 hit batsman (insert can’t hit strike zone/mascot/side of a barn comment here). Ask St. Louis and Matt Holliday about Pittsburgh pitchers. Ask Andrew McCutchen how he likes being targeted for retaliation because his teammates are targeting the opponent’s best batters.

    You, however, keep bringing this up and beating a dead horse, including twice today – And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights and http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/09/05/the-diamondbacks-fire-kevin-towers/. Get to the root of the problem – find out why Pittsburgh goes after the other team so often.

    • gbrim - Sep 5, 2014 at 12:18 PM

      Mr. C. is like my dog with his favorite chew toy, he ain’t giving up on the DBacks being the problem regarding hit batters. Stats don’t stop him. Logic doesn’t stop him. The Cardinal/Pirate incident of a few days ago was probably Gibby’s fault somehow, in Mr. C’s opinion.

    • antaresrex - Sep 5, 2014 at 3:05 PM

      I don’t buy that Pittsburgh is the problem or that they are targeting anyone. They might have an organizational philosophy that coming after opposing hitters is OK, but if so, I’m not convinced that the raw HBP total proves it.

      Charlie Morton leads MLB with 19 hit batters. Edinson Volquez is tied for second with 13. If I take each team’s two leaders in hit batters out of their totals, Pittsburgh is suddenly no longer way out in the lead. Instead, they sit third behind the Cardinals and the Yankees. Still on the high end, but not an outlier.

      • gloccamorra - Sep 5, 2014 at 4:28 PM

        The Pirate have a pitching philosophy of pitching inside on players who crowd the plate, or players who reach across the plate for outside pitches. They’re not trying to hit anyone, they’re just not that accurate. The hit batters are accomplishing what the close pitches were intended, to make the batters less aggressive.

    • jilljulias - Sep 6, 2014 at 11:00 AM

      It was extraordinary that Towers actually said on the record that their pitchers needed to hit more batters.

      I was actually surprised that he wasn’t disciplined for the comment. Yeah, the Pirates hit too many batters-but please show me where their GM is quoted as saying their pitchers need to hit more batters.

      As far as I know, NO GM has ever said that except Towers. So yeah, I think it’s fair game to be brought up.

  20. drs76109 - Sep 5, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    My guess is that MLB will have its first female GM next year. Kim Ng is bound to get a gig in the next wave of GM hirings that started with this firing. And that’ll be a good thing.

    • gbrim - Sep 5, 2014 at 1:42 PM

      Gender shouldn’t matter, therefore the hiring isn’t a ‘good thing’ on the basis of gender, in my opinion.

      • Reflex - Sep 5, 2014 at 8:03 PM

        She is a qualified candidate. Nobody is hiring her ‘because of gender’ or even suggesting that anyone should. That is a strawman argument.

        If two candidates are equal in every way that matters, diversity is a valid reason to pick one over the other. No one is suggesting that Kim should be hired primarily because of her gender, only that she is a well qualified candidate who should be able to land a GM position.

  21. shawndc04 - Sep 5, 2014 at 1:40 PM

    Kim Ng.

  22. provguard - Sep 5, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    Get rid of Gibson and his he-man attitude!!!

  23. jrob23 - Sep 5, 2014 at 3:31 PM

    good riddance. He was the Jeff Ireland of baseball. Totally inept and in over his head

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