The Arizona Diamondbacks have finally fired general manager Kevin Towers, sources tell Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.
Upon the hiring of Tony La Russa, Towers declared to the media that he would not be a “pseudo-GM”. In the old Southwest, this town ain’t big enough for two baseball architects, and with Hall of Famer in the fold, the incumbent had to go.
Towers has had four offseasons as general manager of the Diamondbacks. He came to Phoenix with the reputation of building a great bullpen and a great bench. One could make the argument that that reputation was built by the hands of Trevor Hoffman and his 500+ record setting saves.
The Diamondbacks won the National League West in 2011, his and Kirk Gibson’s first full season as a manager/general manager tandem. Back then he lived up to his reputation: bringing in J.J. Putz, David Hernandez and Brad Ziegler established the bullpen’s prominence and the bench was filled with versatile veterans, which made the 2011 NL Manager of the Year’s job easy.
Towers brought in Juan Miranda and Melvin Mora, neither of them made it to the All-Star Break. He did make up for that by trading Kevin Johnson to Toronto for second baseman Aaron Hill and infielder John McDonald. Hill remains as a household name. Everyone else, even Mr. One-hit wonder himself (Ryan Roberts) was acquired by the previous management group.
In 2012, he signed Jason Kubel (which was a big gain in 2012 until it was not in 2013) but traded Jarrod Parker, Ryan Cook and Colin Cowgill to the Athletics for Trevor Cahil, who they just released today. But 2012 was a solid season in terms of offseason additions.
It’s 2013 where he went off the rails. He signs Brandon McCarthy (which by the way we all thought was a good deal at the time) but also Cody Ross for three-years, $27 million.
Why? Cause the Diamondbacks are going to be a gritty team, that’s why!
You know who are apparently not gritty? Chris Young, Chris Johnson (who they acquired in the middle of 2012) and Justin Upton, that’s who. Towers trades Young to Oakland for former closer and clubhouse virus Heath Bell. Then he sends Johnson and Upton to Atlanta for Martin Prado, Nick Ahmed, Brandon Drury and pitchers Randall Delgado and Zeke Spruill.
Prado’s play is similar to Johnson, making that part of the trade similar to Johnson for Hill. That means Upton was sent to Atlanta for a long reliever with a 5.40 ERA, a struggling AAA starter, a third baseman in Single-A and another young shortstop. One of which was brought in a trade that jettisoned top prospect Trevor Bauer to Cleveland.
That being said, two of the three main additions in the offseason leading up to the 2013 offseason (Prado and McCarthy) were traded to the New York Yankees. Meanwhile Bauer has so far struck out 124 batters in 129.2 innings for the playoff contending Indians.
Now we know why nothing about his reputation mentions his ability to build starting lineups and starting rotations. Three starting pitchers with a lot of promise, along with an All-Star outfielder, was recklessly traded away and every free agent brought into the starting rotation has failed miserably.
Even with the consideration of the pitching demise of Daniel Hudson and Ian Kennedy’s regression, the Diamondbacks could’ve still had a full young rotation consisting of Patrick Corbin, Tyler Skaggs, Trevor Bauer, Jarrod Parker and even Chase Anderson who is now 8-6 with a 3.75 ERA. Even with Corbin and Parker down with Tommy John, and the D’backs still have Wade Miley and Josh Collmenter in the rotation.
The Diamondbacks are at their worst even with their highest payroll in franchise history. This type of failure could scare a mid-market franchise like Arizona from doing that again. This is why Towers had to go.