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Kevin Towers: A good man who built a bad team

Kevin Towers was demoted this week.The Diamondbacks are looking for a new general manager. If you never had the chance to get to know Kevin Towers, I think you would have enjoyed knowing him.

It’s easy to forget, but he took one of the worst bullpens in baseball history and transformed the team into a 2011 division champion that would have made the NLCS if not for a vitriol-wielding, dishonest, cheating disgrace to the game. Following 2001, Towers engineered three enormous trades for the Arizona Diamondbacks. I disagreed with all three trades at the time, yet that never changed my respect for Kevin Towers.

There’s no way to sugarcoat it: KT traded major prospects and projected hopefuls. Trading for Didi Gregorius, Martin Prado and Mark Trumbo did not make, or, at least, has not made, the Diamondbacks better. The jury is still out on whether or not he lost all three trades, but it would take a herculean effort to prove he has a chance to win any of them. When you make major trades and go .500, you normally get put on notice as a GM. When you’re on notice and you raise the payroll to the highest level in franchise history just to have a disastrous season, almost every franchise will fire you. The Diamondbacks are no different.

I got a text late Thursday night letting me know Towers had been fired. Just like everyone else, we got word Friday morning that Towers had not been fired, but re-assigned. We all knew it would happen, but I was still surprised. I thought it would happen next week before Monday Night Football or maybe in a few weeks before ASU/UCLA. When the news went public, I checked my email and Twitter feed. I didn’t get what I thought I would.

I’m sure there are zero Diamondback fans that wake up in the morning hoping to earn my respect, but I was really impressed with the local reaction. Almost every tweet or email I received seemed happy the saga of “what will happen” was over. However, only a couple attacked Towers personally. I was happy to see that because Kevin Towers gave everything he had to the Diamondbacks, even when it was clear that the end was near.

It’s rare in any walk of life to find someone who knows their job will end soon without letting it affect their determination to succeed at their profession. There will be quite a lot of things said over the next couple weeks about the former Arizona GM, but I think it boils down to a simple narrative: Kevin Towers is a good man who didn’t get it done.