Many thought the Arizona Diamondbacks would enter the 2014 season with both a general manager and a field manager who were lame ducks.
Both Kevin Towers’ and Kirk Gibson’s contracts were set to expire at the end of the campaign. But that’s no longer the case, as both men received extensions earlier this month.
“It was the right thing to do, in my opinion,” D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall told Doug and Wolf during Newsmakers Week on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Thursday. “I didn’t think it was healthy going into spring training with the target on their backs, the lame-duck status, the on-the-hot-seat (talk) when we didn’t feel that way.
“We were going to go into the offseason with the approach of ‘you’ve got one year left, you’re still secure, now go out there and perform.’ Yet, we have a lot of faith in these guys and it’s not fair to them, it’s not fair to their staffs, it’s not fair to the players.”
Gibson and Towers are entering their fourth full season as a managerial tandem. In their first three years, the D-backs have won a division title and have yet to finish lower than third in the National League West.
“They’re both doing a great job,” Hall said. “They’ve been together three years, they’ve never had a losing season. Their first together, they won the division. They go on and should have won the NLDS (against Milwaukee), but we know what happened there.
“And here we are today, thinking we’re still as good as we were in 2011.”
Things have changed in the National League West since the D-backs ruled it three seasons ago. The San Francisco Giants have won a World Series and the Los Angeles Dodgers finally have solid ownership and have spent enough money to make them the favorites for the forseeable future.
Another thing that has changed, according to Hall, is the attitude and confidence of his manager.
“You watch Gibby now and he’s got this whole new sense of enthusiasm and focus and motivation,” he said. “He’s been unbelievable so far this year, so I’m very happy.”