The Diamondbacks are expressing significant interest in Kevin Towers becoming their next general manager, major-league sources say.
Towers, however, has yet to meet with club officials, and his salary desires represent one of several potential stumbling blocks, sources said.
The Padres were paying Towers nearly $2 million per year when they fired him last October. The Diamondbacks still have a financial obligation to their previous GM, Josh Byrnes, who is under contract through 2015 and had a small ownership stake in the club.
“If the money’s right, he’ll go,” one source said of Towers, who currently is a special assistant with the Yankees. “He doesn’t like sitting on the sidelines.”
The Yankees granted permission for the Diamondbacks to interview Towers, sources said, but declined permission for the D-backs to speak with another of their executives, vice-president of amateur scouting Damon Oppenheimer.
The Diamondbacks have scheduled meetings with other candidates for next week. Two of the Dodgers’ assistant GMs, Logan White and De Jon Watson, are among those expected to be interviewed.
The D-backs’ current GM, Jerry DiPoto, took over for Byrnes as an interim in July and made several moves that have been well-received within the industry.
Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall said last month that DiPoto was at the top of his list, but that it would be “crazy” for the team not to interview other candidates.
Asked for comment on the process, one source familiar with the club’s thinking said, “More to come next week.”
Towers likely would be a candidate for the Mets if they replaced Omar Minaya. However, Towers’ friends say he prefers to be with a team out west.
The Mariners might hold the greatest appeal for Towers, who is from the Pacific Northwest. Some in the industry believe the M’s could replace GM Jack Zduriencik, but a high-placed source downplayed that possibility this week.
The Diamondbacks represent a logical fit, but the status of interim manager Kirk Gibson would be among the issues the team would need to resolve with Towers.
Towers could balk if the Diamondbacks wanted to retain Gibson, preferring to hire his own manager and coaching staff.
The Padres’ lead owner, Jeff Moorad, replaced Towers with Jed Hoyer after last season. Towers spent 14 years as the team’s GM. Moorad previously was a top executive with the Diamondbacks.