Updated Apr 10, 2014 - 9:17 am
KT = Keep Towers
Rip him. They are the worst in the sport.
Just don't fire him.
Kevin Towers is the right man to be general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks. I know there's a portion of readers immediately wanting to hurl insults at me since I think K.T. should still be GM. He's made mistakes but he's not a mistake.
There's always an argument this time of year: panic vs. reality. If the Diamondbacks think that this collection of 25 players in their current positions will compete for the playoffs, we should all panic. Here's a reality check: change is needed.
However, that change needs to come via personnel decisions and not changing the person making those decisions. Towers deserves a lot of the blame. He also won a division and made some great moves as GM. Give Kevin Towers the opportunity to fix this.
As upset as fans might be, Kevin Towers is a man who accepts whatever accountability you want to put at his feet. It's not popular for talk show hosts to come out in favor of a 2-8 general manager following back-to-back .500 seasons. The easy thing for me to do is to demand a firing so fans love me. Why should I care if Kevin Towers hates me? If he gets fired, it's about the new GM anyway, so I shouldn't care.
I'm going the unpopular route because it's the right thing to do. Towers has drawn huge national criticism because of the young players he's traded from the D-backs. None of those national critics like to admit zero of those moves proved to be detrimental.
Pick which trade was a disaster:
Jarrod Parker is recovering from a second Tommy John surgery.
Trevor Bauer has only earned five starts with the Indians in his two seasons with a 4.30 ERA and he has struck out only one more than he's walked. He has won as many games for Cleveland as he has recorded YouTube songs.
Justin Upton went 2-for-4 Tuesday to skyrocket his average to .231. He has more strikeouts than singles, doubles, triples, HRs, RBI and walks...COMBINED! Take away his April 2013 and his numbers aren't much different than Martin Prado.
Tyler Skaggs looked great in his one outing. Mark Trumbo has looked great in almost every outing.
Say it national media -- Towers was right. You were wrong.
It's not all roses. Admitting Charles Nagy wasn't the right guy as pitching coach just to trade Tyler Skaggs before Dave Duncan had the chance to be involved with Skaggs' development = I didn't like that. Everyone and their mother knowing you want to trade Justin Upton before you trade Justin Upton = bad. The decision to bring in Brandon McCarthy = very bad. If Towers pays Trevor Cahill the $12 million owed him next year = disastrous.
Despite everything you just read, erase it all by reading this: the Brad Zeigler trade, the Aaron Hill trade and the Paul Goldschmidt contract (OK, you may have to re-read the Goldschmidt contract a couple times).
Notice, I didn't include the Miguel Montero contract as a mistake. It obviously is a mistake if we look at it now versus the production received. I also feel like calling him out for Montero is hindsight and hypocritical. First, I was completely for it so who am I to attack Towers for signing Montero? Secondly, Montero was coming off of a good year. He was playing well in 2012. Most importantly, Yadier Molina had signed a contract setting a record for catchers just two months earlier. At the time, signing Montero for $15 million LESS than Molina seemed very fair. I understand if Ken Kendrick judges Towers negatively for the Montero contract because the GM looks to be wrong, but it's unfair for me to do the same.
If Kevin Towers is to blame for the rash of pitching injuries, he should have been fired yesterday. I think this is a baseball problem and not a Diamondback problem, so I don't blame him. Once you move injuries from the "blame" category, what did you expect the 2014 Diamondbacks would do with Daniel Hudson, Patrick Corbin and David Hernandez all on the shelf? How bad would it be if Towers didn't get Bronson Arroyo?
I respect that Towers was anticipating being stuck with a weak rotation and went heavy offense in an attempt to cover it up. If he didn't go big on offense, it showed he had no clue about his team's weaknesses. Kevin Towers is to blame for Cahill and McCarthy but he clearly accepts that fact. If he didn't, Trumbo wouldn't be here.
I won't sugarcoat the fact that the 2014 Diamondbacks were supposed to play in the gritty mode of Kevin Towers and that grittiness is 2-8. Kevin Towers should shoulder the vast majority of blame. He's also done more good than bad. Plus, he's on his first manager and every GM should be given a chance to change the manager.
I'll never forget how bad I got ripped by fans when I stood behind Steve Kerr as Suns GM when things looked bleak. The Suns ended up in the Western Conference Finals. I'm not guaranteeing Diamondbacks in the NLCS but I will stand in front of the firing line for this GM as well. I believe we will be rewarded.
Kevin Towers deserves a lot of heat from his owner, his boss, fans and media. He also deserves the chance to re-earn their praise.
Doug Franz, Co-host of Doug & Wolf