Blog Entry

Amateur hour again in San Diego

Posted on: October 3, 2009 5:41 pm
 

It's always amateur hour in San Diego, from Fire Sales to Roseanne Barr's crotch-grabbing national anthem to owner John Moores' extramarital affair and subsequent ugly divorce turning beautiful Petco Park into a tawdry parlor housing a cheap team.

Nobody in the game is more adept at turning good fortune into an unsightly mess than the Padres. CEO Jeff Moorad's firing of longtime general manager Kevin Towers sends every indication that it's happening again.

One step forward, three steps back.

"This year, Kevin did what I've gotten used to seeing over the years," Moorad said Saturday at a news briefing to formally announce the sacking in San Diego. "Pulling a rabbit out of the hat. He's done a terrific job of molding the team and doing it on the fly."

So, he's being fired, why?

"We got to a point where we felt the appropriate thing was to either extend his contract or cut ties," Moorad said.

At the time of Towers' firing, the Padres, since July 28, were 36-23, the fourth-best record in the majors and the second-best in the National League. Not that the next step was the World Series. Towers a couple of weeks ago excitedly spoke of possibly even contending in 2010 which, I thought, was overly optimistic -- but a heck of an advancement from where the club was a year ago.

Which was, frankly, wretched. The Padres lost 99 games in 2008 but, worse than that, were unwatchable even on their good days. They were slow, unathletic and boring.

It was the result of payroll slashing -- something that figures into the Padres' history Moores more than World Series -- and a dysfunctional front office split by philosophical differences.

When a group led by Moorad agreed this spring to purchase the Padres from Moores, president Sandy Alderson quietly left and, judging by the personnel moves that followed, the handcuffs were removed from Towers. He was back to operating at a greater degree of autonomy than he had at anytime in '08.

The results have been evident over these past six weeks. In removing this club from the sewer, cleaning it up and making it presentable, Towers has performed some of his best work yet.

He added athleticism, acquiring outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. (from Milwaukee) and promoting Will Venable. Now the Padres actually have outfielders who can cover ground in their own home park. (And a cat-quick Rule V shortstop, Everth Cabrera, who at times is electric).

He fixed a terrible bullpen in short order acquiring, among others, Luke Gregerson (St. Louis) and Edward Mujica (Cleveland). He obtained three young pitchers from Oakland for journeyman Scott Hairston.

And in trading Peavy to the White Sox, he not only induced the Sox to pay every penny of the remaining $52 million owed the pitcher over the next few years, he also got four pitchers back in the deal.

Now Moorad wants a man with more of a "strategic approach."

Whatever.

Maybe this will work out. Maybe Moorad will come out of this looking like a genius.

I will say this: It is close to humanly impossible for him to come out of it looking worse than Moores, a phony whose bait-and-switch tactics to get a sweetheart deal on a new ballpark worked out far better for him than for San Diego fans.

There is a case to be made for sweeping changes in part of the Padres' baseball operations. Both amateur scouting and player development have been poor for much of the past decade and, for that, Towers bears some responsibility.

But given his body of work over the past 14 years -- heck, his body of work over the past eight months -- what Towers deserved was a "thank you" and a contract extension, not a firing.

Instead, Moorad admitted on Saturday that he's already interviewed three potential GM candidates.

Three! While Towers was still working for him.

Amateur hour?

Yeah. Stay classy, San Diego.

Comments

Since: Sep 17, 2007
Posted on: October 4, 2009 4:34 am
 

Amateur hour again in San Diego

At least ibwaterman made some excellent points. All you did, billjamessnob, was say that he doesn't know what he's talking about. The Padres played WAY over their heads in the second half and anyone that thinks that this group is going to play at that level for the entire '10 season is nuts. Matt Bush being selected #1 a few years ago was a huge swing and miss by Towers, but even putting that aside, their player scouting and development has been god awful and when you don't have tons of money to piss away in free agency, the Padres are the result. Guys like Venable, Cabrera and Kouz are servicable, but they aren't going to win you any championships on their own. Trading Bay for Giles worked out in the short term but his declining skills and absurd contract made him a Barry Zito like albatross while Bay has become an elite player. With the recent resurgence of Colorado and San Fran recovering from the Barry Bonds hangover and actually playing baseball again, San Diego is looking at a long and painful rebuilding process before contending again. Though the main difference between San Fran and San Diego is Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, it is a big difference and "ace" Kevin Correia is neither of those guys. Considering the long list of mediocre prospects, regressing journeymen and pitchers who should have had their arms amputated already (Mark Prior and Shawn Hill jump to mind) that have been recruited by Towers, this change is understandable.




Since: Sep 17, 2007
Posted on: October 4, 2009 4:13 am
 

Amateur hour again in San Diego

At least ibwaterman made several excellent points. All you did, billjamessnob, was claim that he doesn't know what he's talking about. The Padres played WAY over their heads in the second half and anyone that thinks the group they have now is going to play at that level for the entire 2010 season is nuts. Their player scouting and development has been god awful and when you don't have a ton of money to piss away in free agency, you get the Padres as a result. Guys like Cabrera, Venable, Kouz, etc. are servicable but they alone aren't going to propel you into contention, especially with Colorado's sudden resurgence and San Fran recovering from the Barry Bonds hangover and actually playing baseball again. In fact, the main difference between San Fran and San Diego is Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, but it's a big difference. Trading Jason Bay for Giles was beneficial in the short term but eventually Giles' declining skills and absurd contract made him a Barry Zito like albatross while Bay has become an elite player. Matt Bush was a huge swing and miss by Towers and even discounting that, the last couple of years has just been a patchwork of mediocre prospects, declining journeymen and pitchers whose arms should have been amputated already (Mark Prior and Shawn Hill come to mind). Thanks for the '98 season Kevin, but with new ownership in place and no chance of competing save a Tampa Bay like miracle season in the next couple of years, this move is understandable.



Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: October 4, 2009 2:42 am
 

Amateur hour again in San Diego

What's the big hullabaloo about? KT was in SD for 14 yrs... longest tenure as GM in MLB. It's not a cup of coffee!

The team has a new owner who wants to go in a different direction. Big deal! Not exactly something new. Why so upset?

Then look at the Friars' record the last 2 seasons... Are you kidding me? Why would you subject your fans to that? 99 losses last year!!! Out of the playoff chase by May... BY MAY!!!! I don't care what the record is since July... your team was dead before the weather got warm in most states! Uh... you can't cherry pick 2 1/2 mths of performance and forget about the first 3 1/2 mths of the season!!! Sheesh...

Now if Moorad can show Bud Black the door as well, we can start with a clean plate. Please, don't complain when we clean house on Black too! Just check his W/L record before you complain about that one. Losing sucks! If you're leading the loser, it's just a matter of time before you're shown the door... Please Moorad, please! Kick Black out the door!



Since: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: October 4, 2009 1:00 am
 

Amateur hour again in San Diego

The lack of balance in this piece is staggering, to the point I'm wondering what Towers has on this below average hack.

Congrats on the two minute research lol



Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: October 3, 2009 10:31 pm
 

Amateur hour again in San Diego

Couldn't have put it any better, you nailed it, Miller!



Since: Sep 27, 2007
Posted on: October 3, 2009 10:13 pm
 

Amateur hour again in San Diego



To put this simply, you have absolutely no clue what you are talking about, none. Kevin Towers being fired is the biggest disgrace in all of baseball this year.



Since: Feb 19, 2007
Posted on: October 3, 2009 8:55 pm
 

Amateur hour again in San Diego

Miller likes Towers, so this is unsurprising that he'd take Towers firing badly.

That said, I'm not sure what Moorad is doing either.  If he were to pick the wrong GM and the team goes spiraling back into the toilet, the fans are going to excoriate him.  And given the situation, I doubt there are many who could do better than Towers.



Since: Jan 16, 2007
Posted on: October 3, 2009 8:06 pm
 

Amateur hour again in San Diego

I couldn't agree more.  Kevin may have made some mistakes in the draft, but when it comes to making something out of nothing....Kevin Towers is the man.  Thank God John Moores is gone. I am sorry to see Kevin leave, but I understand what is going on here. 



Since: Aug 23, 2006
Posted on: October 3, 2009 7:37 pm
 

Amateur hour again in San Diego

Come on dude, Kevin Towers was shown the door in large part because it's a new ownership group. As far as heaping praise upon him for doing so much with so little, come on brah, just look at teams like the Tampa Bay Rays and the Florida Marlins, they're doing a lot with similarly low payrolls. How many big name Padres have come through the farm system in KT's tenure? Jake Peavy, uhhhhh, uhhhhh, .... yeah, not much. Dude kept Brian Giles for this season at freaking $9 million? Are you kidding me? Dude lets Trevor Hoffman walk after all he's given San Diego over the years, and when he probably could have re-signed him in the $4-5 million range, then picked up an outfielder who would have put up better numbers than the putrid ones Giles put up. Imagine having Luke Gregorson pitch the seventh, Heath Bell pitch the eighth and then Hells Bells come out for the ninth. Doesn't know why he was fired, heck, I think Padres fans could come up with a few. KT's work with the Pads has at times been inspired, but this is a business and right or wrong it's all about what have you done for me lately. Wake up Miller, you sound entirely ignorant writing crap like this


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