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D-backs CBO Tony La Russa on restructuring front office: ‘We want to put a bunch of complementary abilities together’

It’s been a little over a week since the Arizona Diamondbacks relieved Kevin Towers of his general manager duties, and at least on the surface Chief Baseball Officer Tony La Russa sounds like a man with a plan.

Speaking on Arizona Sports 98.7FM‘s D-backs and San Diego Padres broadcast with Greg Schulte and Tom Candiotti Friday, the former Hall of Fame manager sounded encouraged with his long list of potential candidates.

Earlier this week, reporter Steve Gilbert released a list of potential candidates — one that featured Allard Baird (Red Sox vice president of player personnel), Larry Beinfest (former Marlins general manager), Billy Eppler (Yankees assistant general manager), Gary LaRocque (Cardinals director of player development), Ray Montgomery (D-backs scouting director), Hal Morris (Angels director of pro scouting), Tim Purpura (former Astros general manager), Dave Stewart (agent and former general manager) and DeJon Watson (Dodgers assistant general manager).

“When you see the list that we’ve put together, there’s a real good range of experiences and abilities,” said La Russa. “There’s not a bad candidate there. It’s going to be a look and see how the fit is. It may be that some guy has a certain set of skills that fit what we’re putting together more than someone else.”

What the D-backs organization is putting together remains to be seen, however it’s apparent that La Russa will have his imprint all of it.

Still, he insisted the job is a unique one to outsiders — because of the unity and leadership that exists across the board.

“You have Ken Kendrick, you have Derrick Hall and then all of a sudden they stick Tony [in there],” said La Russa of how his hire may have changed the perception of the organization. “That’s different, which means it kind of adjusts how the rest of the team comes together.

“What we want to do, we want to put a bunch of complementary abilities together not people who do the same thing.”

When that meshing process gets completed remains to be seen, but the question remains what kind of role Towers might have moving forward with the ballclub should he elect to say on.

La Russa addressed that point as well.

“The team that we’re building at the front office level, there’s an important place for Kevin,” said La Russa. “I’ve told him about it, and he’s very smartly said, ‘Look, I’m there but it depends on who the GM is because maybe he wouldn’t want me or maybe I can’t work with him.’

“We have not fired him. He has not been dismissed.”

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