In a not-all-too-surprising move, the Arizona Diamondbacks have fired general manager Kevin Towers after four years, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.
The D-backs have been a big disappointment this season, currently 59-81 and sitting in fourth place in the NL West. The "gritty" image of the team that Towers and manager Kirk Gibson were architects of hasn't worked out. When the D-backs brought in new senior leadership mid-season, the writing appeared to be on the wall for Towers. Piecoro writes:
The team is expected to make the announcement Friday morning. The move comes less than four months after the hiring of Tony La Russa as the organization's Chief Baseball Officer, a move that most believed would ultimately lead to changes at the top of the baseball operations department.
There was no immediate word on the status of manager Kirk Gibson, though it's unclear if that means he is assured of returning next season.
Towers had a strong early showing as D-backs GM. He won 94 games in 2011, turning a last-place team into a first-place team. The next two seasons the D-backs were 81-81. If Towers is indeed out of a job, his tenure in the desert ends with a 314-311 record.
The list of players jettisoned by Towers is quite impressive. He traded Justin Upton, Trevor Bauer, Jarrod Parker, Ian Kennedy, Adam Eaton, Tyler Skaggs. The results, obviously, haven't turned out the way he hoped.
Towers will be best remembered for trading Upton, a No. 1 overall pick, to the Braves before the 2013 season for Martin Prado, Randall Delgado and three prospects. Towers' more recent big deal was the three-way trade that brought slugger Mark Trumbo to the D-backs in exchange for Eaton and Skaggs. Trumbo was injured much of this season.
Infamously, Towers said after last season that his pitchers didn't hit enough opposing batters. When he fired pitching coach Charles Nagy last October, Towers preached an "eye for an eye" mentality. That played itself out recently when the D-backs hit Pirates star Andrew McCutchen a day after Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt had been hit and injured.
Before joining the D-backs, Towers was the GM of the San Diego Padres for 14 seasons. It was reported in July, during the Padres' search for a new GM, that the team would be interested in bringing Towers back as a senior advisor should he lose his job in Arizona.
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