Arizona Diamondbacks General Manager Kevin Towers doesn’t try to ‘win the press conference’. He tries to win on the field. That much was evident in his first big deal since moving to the desert.
Many fans weren’t happy about Towers’ decision to deal the power hitting Mark Reynolds. Their reasoning? They only got two relief pitchers in return.
It shouldn’t matter. Towers dealt the flashy for the necessary.
He looked at Reynolds and saw a flawed player who struck out too much and was too big of a liability in the field. When fans looked at Reynolds they saw a guy who could hit a baseball farther than many of them could hit their three iron on the golf course.
Despite Reynolds’ ability to hit the cover off the ball, the team struggled to win games with him in the lineup. A fact that wasn’t lost on Towers.
“We’ve lost over 90 games with the 30+ home runs the 40+ home runs,” the general manager said. “I think what Kirk Gibson and myself looked at was let’s try to assembled a ball club where we got higher on base, more contact and probably a little more hit and running and we just didn’t feel he fit.”
The D-backs couldn’t be that kind of team with Reynolds on the roster. So they killed two birds with one stone. They got rid of a guy incapable of playing the style of ball they wanted in exchange for two young pitchers that could help to fortify a bullpen that was weaker than the economy last season.
Towers is building the team in his image and trying to breed a culture that is condusive to long term winning. Something the general manager knows about from his time in San Diego.
“As a group I was not real happy with the attitude of the ball club at the end of this year. I certainly know with losing clubs sometimes comes bad attitudes, but we definitely need to change the culture in our clubhouse. We need to bring more winning type players into the fold. Guys with a little bit more grit and a little bit more fire.
“I sensed from our clubhouse at the end of the year a little sense of entitlement, guys being comfortable. What Kirk and I talked about is that we want to make it an uncomfortable clubhouse. We want guys to earn playing every day. That’s our hope that when we come into spring training it will be a different culture. I think our fans will see a different attitude to our ballclub. We’re not going to lay back and let the game come to us we’re going to press people and playing with a little bit of grit and fire.”
Right-handers David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio may never cause fans to gasp and gaze like a Mark Reynold 500-foot home run would, but they could go a long way to making fans and the clubhouse happy.
Towers is known for building strong bullpens to hold leads for yeoman type offenses. If he likes what he sees from the these two hard throwing relievers you have to trust his assessment. He was, after all, the guy who oversaw a bullpen in San Diego that had eight seasons with at least 45 saves and brought Heath Bell to San Diego.
The trade may never wow fans or be one they remember, but that’s alright. Towers isn’t about winning fans’ opinions in December, he’s about winning their hearts in October.
Listen to D-Backs’ General Manager Kevin Towers with Doug and Wolf