Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers became a proverbial punching bag for media members across the country this past off-season. Many accused Towers of trading away two of the team's best young assets (Justin Upton and Trevor Bauer) for far less than they were worth on the open market.
Whether those assertions are true or not remains to be seen, but the D-backs general manager certainly illustrated Friday that he cares about both the short and long-term future of the franchise.
The team and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt reportedly agreed to a five-year extension that will keep the 25-year-old in Arizona until at least 2018. As part of the agreement, the D-backs control Goldschmidt's option for 2019.
While Goldschmidt's play (.286 batting average with 20 home runs and 82 RBI in 2012) certainly warranted a new deal, the move was somewhat surprising given the fact he has less than two years of service at the big league level.
Count SI.com senior baseball writer Tom Verducci among those willing to give Towers credit where credit's due.
"I really like (Goldschmidt's extension)," Verducci told Arizona Sports 620's Doug & Wolf Friday. "I think it's a smart thing to do with a position player that you like, that comes up in your system and that you know really well."
"I think it's great and I think more teams should do it," said Verducci. "Because that first contract for players, if you can give them security, you can get on the whole a hometown discount.
"The second contract is when they really get the big bite of the apple, and you're not going to get much of a discount. Signing up those arbitration years and a free agent year or two if you can is the way to go these days."
While Goldschmidt, who was an eighth-round draft pick by the D-backs in 2009, has only 28 home runs to his name in 193 career games, Verducci believes the first baseman gives Kirk Gibson and Co. something they might be missing without the likes of Upton and Chris Young: some pop.
"He's got big-time power ... the raw power is there," said Verducci. "But I'm talking about a consistent home run producer, middle of the lineup. Those guys are hard to find."
During their 81-81 campaign in 2012, the D-backs finished No. 15 in the league with 165 home runs.