D-backs extend contracts of Towers, Gibson
FEB 03, 2014 5:04p ET
PHOENIX -- If there were any doubts about the Diamondbacks' commitment to general manager Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson, the ownership group erased them Tuesday.
Towers and Gibson, the architects of a D-backs' turnaround that included the 2011 NL West title, were signed to contract extensions beyond the 2014 season, the team announced on Twitter. The parties agreed not to announce terms.
The D-backs also signed Gold Glove right fielder Gerardo Parra to a one-year, $4.85 contract to avoid arbitration, a figure at about the midpoint of the filings between each side. They continue to negotiate with left fielder Mark Trumbo, their remaining arbitration-eligible player, and to explore roster additions. Towers also said that Cody Ross is taking live batting practice and is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a dislocated hip, possibly ready for the start of the regular season.
"This is a place we hope to spend the rest of our careers," Towers said of himself and Gibson. "I don't take this lightly. I'm glad they given us the opportunity. We'll make them proud."
Towers and Gibson had been signed to contracts through the 2014 season with team options for 2015 and 2016, but it was reported in October that at least one of the option years had been declined.
The new deals will prevent even the appearance of lame-duck status for both as they prepare for the challenge of the NL West, which has become one of the best and most competitive divisions in baseball.
"I'm not going to lie. It would have been a distraction for me, but more so with a guy like Gibby, who has to manage young ballplayers," Towers said. "Sometimes players look at it differently.
"Whether I am on a seven-year or 10-year contract, I feel on the hot seat every year. I feel pressure every year."
D-backs pitchers and catchers are to report Thursday, with the first workout Friday.
D-backs president/CEO Derrick Hall said the team has had internal discussions about new deals for Towers and Gibson this winter, and he also said he believed it was important that the pair not be burdened by the inevitable speculation, even if it were groundless.
"I didn't think it was a very healthy way to go into the season," Hall said. "That can be a distraction, talking about who's on the hot seat. They haven't had a losing season. They're as loyal as it gets. They've earned it. They deserved it."
The D-backs won the NL West at 94-68 in 2011, Towers' first season and Gibson's first full season, and have been 81-81 the last two years. Injuries played a part in the 2013 finish, although the D-backs didn't use that as a reason.
Towers has made one major trade this winter, adding Trumbo in a three-way trade with the Los Angeles Angels and Chicago White Sox that sent left-hander Tyler Skaggs to the Angels and center fielder Adam Eaton to the White Sox.
“Whether I am on a seven-year or 10-year contract, I feel on the hot seat every year. ”
The D-backs also cleared salary by sending right-hander Heath Bell to Tampa Bay for prospects, then
made a strong push for Japanese free agent right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka signed with the New York Yankees rather than accepting the D-backs' long-term contract off that was reported by Japanese media to be worth about $20 million a year.
With the season only a days away, the D-backs are continuing to look at ways to bolster their roster, Towers said.
They have had internal discussions regarding free agent right-hander Bronson Arroyo, who would not cost them a draft pick if signed.
Arroyo was 14-12 with a 3.79 ERA last season and is 138-127 in 14 years, the last 10 as a member of rotations in Boston and Cincinnati. He has averaged 13 victories and 207 innings in the last 10 years, and at his age -- he will turn 37 Feb. 24 -- he is likely looking for a shorter-term deal, perhaps two years. Tim Hudson signed a two-year, $23 million free agent deal with San Francisco earlier in the winter.
Trumbo has asked for $5.85 million in his arbitration filing, while the D-backs have offered $3.4 million. The midpoint would be $4.625 million.
"The gap between us is large, but we're going to continue to have dialogue," Towers said. "I hope we can get something done."