Tag:Kevin Towers
Posted on: September 24, 2011 12:40 am

Gibson believed D-Backs could win -- and they did

Did anything think the Diamondbacks could win?

Yeah, someone thought that. Kirk Gibson thought that.

Kevin Towers thought it, too.

I know. I heard it. In February.

"If you say you [can't], then you've got no shot," Gibson said then.

He said they could. He told them they could. He made them believe they could.

And now they have.

Our spring training headline read: "If team is anything like Gibson, watch out."

They are like Gibson, as much like him as any team could be. They play hard. They don't give up. They don't give in.

And now they're the National League West champions.

Is it all Gibson?

Of course not. It was Towers who built the bullpen, and the signing of closer J.J. Putz was the biggest move.

But you know what? Gibson was the one who recruited Putz.

"He pretty much sold me," Putz said in June. "He said things were going to change."

No team has changed like the Diamondbacks have. No team gets more credit from rival scouts.

No team has had a turnaround like Arizona's, from a 97-loss joke to a 91-win (and counting) champion.

Gibson didn't do it by himself. He would never tell you he did. In fact, over the last month, Gibson has tried to do anything he could to deflect attention, and to focus it all on his players.

Sorry, Kirk, you deserve the attention.

You believed before they did. You believed before anyone else did.

And you were right.

Posted on: September 2, 2011 2:00 am

3 to Watch: The White Sox crisis edition

If the White Sox somehow find their way back into the race in the American League Central, will Ozzie Guillen and Kenny Williams stop fighting long enough to enjoy it?

Should they?

Sometimes it feels like the White Sox only play well when they're in crisis. Sure enough, they've won seven of their last 10, during a stretch that included Guillen's strange demand for a contract extension and also, according to sources, a nasty pregame confrontation between Williams and one of Guillen's coaches.

Sometimes it seems that if things get ugly enough off the field, the White Sox respond by avoiding ugly play on the field.

The Sox are still 5 1/2 games behind the first-place Tigers, which means they probably need to win at least five of the six remaining head-to-head meetings to have any chance at a miracle run.

The White Sox get their first chance this weekend in Detroit, with three meetings Sept. 12-14 in Chicago. Neither team's schedule is particularly taxing otherwise, which is better news for the Tigers, as the team holding a significant lead.

If there were close races elsewhere, we'd barely acknowledge Tigers-White Sox. But five of the eight playoff spots are basically wrapped up, and baseball is in real danger of a September without drama.

If you want a pennant race, root for the second-place Giants this weekend against the first-place Diamondbacks, who lead San Francisco by six games. And if you like your drama on and off the field, root for the White Sox against the Tigers.

On to 3 to Watch:

1. The next seven days might be the most crucial remaining stretch in the American League West, even though the first-place Rangers and second-place Angels will be on opposite coasts. The Rangers have six games at Boston and at Tampa Bay, which could give the Angels (six home games against the Twins and Mariners) a chance to eat into their 3 1/2-game deficit. It begins for Texas with Rangers at Red Sox, Friday night (7:10 ET) at Fenway Park. It could also be an interesting night for the Red Sox, who are starting to believe that Andrew Miller could help them in some role in the playoffs. Miller, the 6-foot-7 left-hander, shut out the Rangers for 6 1/3 innings last week in Texas.

2. The Diamondbacks have won nine in a row, and as everyone in Arizona no doubt knows by now, club president Derrick Hall and general manager Kevin Towers vowed to shave their heads if the team ever won 10 straight. That could happen Friday night, when Joe Saunders faces Matt Cain. But the most interesting pitching matchup of the weekend comes a day later, in Diamondbacks at Giants, Saturday night (9:05 ET) at AT&T Park. Ian Kennedy, a Cy Young candidate this year, faces Tim Lincecum, a Cy candidate every year.

3. The presence of Justin Verlander in the Tiger rotation makes it unlikely they'll lose enough games to blow a 5 1/2-game lead. But if the Tigers are to truly be dangerous in the playoffs, they'd likely need Max Scherzer to find some consistency, as well. Scherzer has a 1.64 ERA in three starts this year against the White Sox, but he gave up seven runs in three innings Monday night against the Royals. Scherzer faces Mark Buehrle in White Sox at Tigers, Sunday night (8:09 ET) at Comerica Park.

Posted on: August 31, 2011 6:11 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2011 7:43 pm

Another year, another 6-game lead in the West

BOSTON -- The Padres were six games up on the Giants with 34 games to play.

The Diamondbacks began play Wednesday six games with 26 games to play.

The Padres were 76-59, even after losing 10 in a row. The Diamondbacks are 77-59, after winning eight in a row.

The Padres didn't make the playoffs last year. The Diamondbacks this year?

"Every year's different," said Adrian Gonzalez, who was part of that Padres team. "What happened to us was we had that 10-game losing streak. The baseball just didn't roll our way. But I said at the end of the year, when you know you gave it your all, you don't look back. You have no regrets."

As Gonzalez said, the Diamondbacks aren't the same as the Padres. The Giants of 2011 aren't the same as the Giants of 2010.

Gonzalez, of course, is out of the National League West now. But he retains a connection, because his former general manager in San Diego, Kevin Towers, now runs the Diamondbacks.

"KT's a great GM," Gonzalez said. "He goes by instincts. He doesn't let a computer tell him the character of a player. You can't tell that by computer."

Posted on: September 22, 2010 10:39 am
Edited on: September 22, 2010 2:06 pm

D-Backs announce Towers as new GM

Kevin Towers is the new Diamondbacks general manager, and Kirk Gibson is expected to remain the team's manager for 2011.

The Diamondbacks are announcing the Towers hiring today, and a source told CBSSports.com's Scott Miller that Towers will likely retain Gibson, who has been the team's interim manager since GM Josh Byrnes and manager A.J. Hinch were fired on July 1. Towers and Gibson met this morning, but because details on Gibson's contract still need to be worked out, an announcement on his future may take a few days.

Towers built an outstanding reputation during his 14 years as general manager of the Padres, and San Diego's success this year with a team that he largely built has only added to it. He was able to build competitive teams with limited budgets, which figures to be important because money has become an issue in Arizona.

A lack of money, in fact, is one reason that some people in baseball thought Towers wouldn't end up in Arizona. The Diamondbacks are still paying Byrnes through 2015, and the thinking was that they might stay with interim general manager Jerry DiPoto, an impressive and low-cost alternative.

But the D-Backs were able to agree with Towers on a two-year contract for approximately $2.5 million, with option years.

The Diamondbacks offered DiPoto a chance to stay on as part of Towers' staff, but it's expected that DiPoto will decline the offer and leave the organization. There is already talk that DiPoto would be a leading candidate to replace Jack Zduriencik in Seattle, if the Mariners make a change. For now, Zduriencik is expected to survive this disappointing Mariner season, but it's unlikely he could survive more disappointment next year. DiPoto interviewed for the Seattle job before Zduriencik was hired two years ago.

The 48-year-old Towers interviewed with the Diamondbacks once before, when Jeff Moorad was running the Diamondbacks, but Byrnes got the job. It was Moorad who fired Towers in San Diego shortly after taking over the Padres last year.

With Gibson likely remaining as manager, it would be no surprise if Alan Trammell joined the Diamondbacks' coaching staff. Trammell, who was Lou Piniella's bench coach with the Cubs but is not being considered for the managing job there, is one of Gibson's closest friends and also has ties to Towers, who he worked for with the Padres.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com