Kevin Towers isn’t blind to the fact that the Arizona Diamondbacks team he put together is struggling.
He’s obviously not happy about it, either.
But the reality is the D-backs are 4-14 in 2014, and are a disastrous 1-11 in the friendly confines of Chase Field.
Should the season continue on this path, there are some who believe Towers won’t last until game 162. He knows that, but it’s not something he’s concerned with.
“We’ve got an organizational-high payroll that was expected to win, we fully expected to win,” Towers told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday morning. “My job is to provide the product, [manager Kirk Gibson] the product, the product which I still believe in is not performing at this point in time.
“Hopefully we have a little bit more time to try to get this thing turned around and straightened out.”
Towers was hired as the team’s general manager on September 22, 2010, just as the D-backs were finishing up a season that would see them win just 65 games.
They improved to 94 wins the following season, winning the NL West and getting many to believe not only was the team on the right track, but maybe even destined for great things.
With a young core and a stocked farm system, the team appeared to be on an upward trajectory.
However, the D-backs won just 81 games in each of the next two seasons. And now this year is happening, and people want someone to blame, with Towers a popular target. Is job security an issue? Should it be?
“I can only worry about what I can control, and what happens above me and how ownership, what they decide to do with my fate, either here in the near future or in the future, I just try to do the best job that I can to try to right the ship and do what I can. What happens beyond that, I can’t control.”
So instead of worrying about his own job status, Towers said his focus is on the team and trying to get things turned around.
But that’s where ownership has a decision to make. If they believe in Towers and his skills as a general manager, then you give him time to fix this. But if you look at him as the main reason for the team being in the position it is in, then how can you reasonably allow him to keep making the decisions?
Whichever way the team decides to go, Towers’ D-backs legacy will likely be defined by what happens this summer.
And it will be determined largely by the players on the field, who Towers still expects to play well.
“Being a former player myself believe me, there’s been adverse times and to me, your good players, they dig down real deep inside and they figure, ‘You know what, this is pride, man,'” he said. “‘And I don’t want to go down in history as being one of the worst Diamondback baseball teams of all time. I don’t want that as part of my legacy.’
“And I know I feel that as an executive. That’s when you’ve got to really get down there deep and figure out how to freaking change this thing, if not you’re going to live with that the rest of your life. And I certainly don’t want that as part of my legacy here.”
Another thing he does not want to be a part of his legacy is a managerial change.
“Gibby and I talk about things on a daily basis; I’d say probably our greatest asset is we communicate very, very well with one another, and we realize where we’re at, we realize what’s going on,” Towers said. “We talk about how this is a time, these are times when people start talking about whose head is going to roll. We get it.
“We talk about this is a time when you have to put your back against one another and find a way to make it happen.”
Gibson took over for the fired A.J. Hinch during the 2010 season, and has since guided the D-backs to a 294-292 record under his stewardship. He was named the Manager of the Year in 2011.
So there is reason to believe that when given talent, Gibson can win games.
“I’ve told him numerous times this year, ‘Dude, I feel bad. I provided you this product. This product is not firing on all cylinders right now and it puts you in a very, very tough spot.
“All we can tell you guys is we aren’t going to give in — we won’t give in. Hopefully the players won’t give in, we can turn this thing around and we won’t have to worry about everything that’s being said about either both of us or our organization.”