The Arizona Diamondbacks will announce the firing of GM Kevin Towers later this morning, according to AZCentral, possibly seeking a grindinger, grittier, harder-nosed GM with more intangibles and who's willing to stand up for his suitemates in the front office.
Towers and manager Kirk Gibson took over the Diamondbacks in late 2010, and in their first full season led the team to a shock division title. But that appears to have been the aberration, not the new norm: Since then the D-Backs have gone 81-81 in 2012, 81-81 in 2013, and this year already have 81 losses on Sept. 5.
But more than team records, the biggest knocks on Towers have been that he comes out on the losing ends of his trades, and maintains a bizarre insistence that toughness is the most important quality a baseball player can have. Sometimes those failures combine, like in the still-inexplicable deal that shipped Justin Upton to Atlanta before the 2013 season.
"Justin doesn't have that kind of attitude; he has a quiet intensity that doesn't fit the mold of what KT and Gibby seem to want. He plays hard, but has to look suave doing it. Slamming into walls isn't his thing, and they will accept nothing short of all-out sacrifice for the team."
Towers, though, did not dispute the perception that the Diamondbacks were trying to add "grinders," specifically citing Prado and one of the prospects in the deal, shortstop Nick Ahmed, as players who "fit the mold."
"That's the way Gibby played the game," Towers said. "Look at our coaching staff, that's the makeup of our coaching staff as well. That's how we won (the NL West) in 2011. Justin was part of the 2011 club.
"Different clubs like to look for different intangibles in players. We kind of like that grinding, gritty player – hard-nosed."
After that club turned in a .500 season, Towers took to the radio to blame it on his pitchers, accusing them of not retaliating against other teams.
"I think come spring training, it will be duly noted that it's going to be an eye for an eye and we're going to protect one another. If not, if you have options, there's ways to get you out of here and you don't follow suit or you don't feel comfortable doing it, you probably don't belong in a Diamondbacks uniform."
You can get away with this stuff if your team is winning. But if you're forever harping on playing the game "the right way" while playing it the bad way, you tend to become a laughingstock.
Towers's new boss had seen enough. Tony La Russa, hired in May as "chief baseball officer," has effectively been handed the reins to the team. So Towers is gone, to be replaced by La Russa's man—whoever that may end up being—while Kirk Gibson hangs by a thread.