D-backs’ GM unable to sit back in offseason
Jan 20, 2012, 1:26 AM | Updated: 2:31 am
Diamondbacks’ GM Kevin Towers knew he couldn’t take a break this offseason. Though the team won the National League West last season, Towers did not want to fix something that wasn’t broken but instead add more to it.
“The world champions came out of this division (NL West) two years ago, so we didn’t want to stand pat,” Towers told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo. “We knew to stay on top of the division we needed to add to what we already had, and we’d been able to do so.”
The team has been able to keep every key player from last season’s roster while adding a few more without making major sacrifices. The re-signing of Joe Saunders put the highlight to the offseason as he will stay with the pitching rotation that has not only strong starters and relievers but also young prospects in the minors.
“I think our preference was maybe to go with more of a veteran starter to give those kids more time to develop in the minor leagues and develop their secondary pitches, so when the point in time comes when they’re called upon, they’re ready,” Towers said. “If there’s an injury and somebody goes on the DL, one of those kids is going to be ready to come up and contribute.”
The D-backs were actively pursuing Bartolo Colon to be a veteran starter with the team when Saunders said his desire was to remain a D-back. Towers went back to the front office to talk about contract options and budget exceptions.
“This is what we can do in the way of a contract offer to keep (Saunders) back here. We’re a better ball club with him. With (Saunders), now it gives us like four guys at 30 starts and 200 plus innings,” Towers said. “He was a big part of what happened the last year here with the D-backs.”
With the lineup and depth chart set up for the season, the ball club doesn’t have much to worry about heading into Spring Training like they did last year. The only housekeeping left is to work with the arbitration players and their salaries.
“We certainly feel a lot better about ourselves a month before spring training this year than we did the month before spring training last year,” Towers said. “Should be a good group, an exciting group and if we can keep our guys healthy, I think good things will happen.”