D-Backs in trouble if they want to replace Gibson, Towers, rival execs say

Manager Kirk Gibson's Diamondbacks have been struggling early in this MLB season.

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Rival executives note that the Diamondbacks will face a major problem if they seek to replace manager Kirk Gibson and/or general manager Kevin Towers.

The team lacks obvious internal replacements.

Such was not the case the last time the D-Backs underwent a regime change, firing manager A.J. Hinch and GM Josh Byrnes on the same day in July 2010.

Gibson took over for Hinch, and at the time the team also had two other future managers on its coaching staff, Bo Porter and Matt Williams.

Jerry Dipoto replaced Byrnes and had help from another highly regarded executive in the front office, Peter Woodfork.

Towers took over on Sept. 10 of that year. Woodfork then left for the commissioner’s office, and Dipoto became GM of the Angels in Oct. 2011.

Today, the D-Backs are in a much different position.


Bench coach Alan Trammell is almost certainly not a candidate to replace Gibson; the two are closely aligned, and viewed as virtually indistinguishable from one another, sources say.

The D-Backs’ Triple-A manager, former major leaguer Phil Nevin, joined the organization only this season after managing the Tigers’ Triple-A affiliate for three years.

Another potential candidate, D-Backs broadcaster Bob Brenly, led the club to the 2001 World Series title in his first season, but hasn’t managed since ’04.

As for the front office, none of Towers’ special assistants are viewed as likely successors. General managing partner Ken Kendrick, in a recent interview with the Arizona Republic, indicated that he wants the team to rely more on data, and a GM with that type of background almost certainly would come from outside the organization.

Replacing a GM at mid-season generally is considered more difficult than replacing a manager. Teams are in the middle of preparing for the amateur draft the first week of June, and after that will turn their attention to the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31.