D-backs name Towers new GM

BY foxsports • September 22, 2010

The Diamondbacks got their man.

The team named former Padres general manager Kevin Towers its new GM on Wednesday at a 3:30 ET news conference.

The deal between Towers and the club is for two years with “some option provisions,” one source said. The exact financial terms are not yet known. The future of interim GM Jerry Dipoto, the other finalist for the job, is unclear.

"It was a difficult conversation to let him (Dipoto) know that we were going in a different direction because I know his heart was in it and he wanted this position so badly," team president Derrick Hall said. "Jerry is going to be a general manager and has proven he can handle it, but in our current situation we felt that Kevin Towers is the right man for this position to turn this thing around right now."

The Diamondbacks offered DiPoto an opportunity to remain with the organization. He declined, according to multiple sources.

"It's really up in the air right now," Hall said. "I know he's keeping an open mind until he meets with Kevin to see if there's a good fit. I absolutely think the world of Jerry and I'd love for him to be here if it makes sense for both parties."

Ownership had been torn on loyalty to Dipoto, an executive with the team since 2006, and the appeal of Towers, who reached the postseason four times in 14 seasons as GM of the San Diego Padres.

"I like a lot of the things that are happening on the field and it's a quick turnaround," said Towers, sitting between managing general partner Ken Kendrick and Hall at his introductory news conference. "I'm not a big believer in five-year plans, six-year plans. I want to win next year and these guys want to win next year and I think that was the beauty of coming here to work with them."

Towers, who had been working as a special assistant with the Yankees, headed to Phoenix on Tuesday for a second interview with Diamondbacks officials, and the two sides hammered out a deal.

In earlier discussions, Towers had spoken with club officials about manager Kirk Gibson, the team’s coaches and other baseball matters. But the two sides talked about money for the first time on Tuesday, a source said.

"First impression, I like the look in the eye, I like what he had to say," Towers said. "I think he probably deserves more time to set a foundation in spring training because it's tough on an interim basis to maybe do some of the things you'd like to do during the season. He's done a great job in a short period of time."

Towers was earning almost $2 million annually when the Padres dismissed him last October. The Diamondbacks’ previous GM, Josh Byrnes, was under contract through 2015.

One possibility was that the D-Backs would offer Towers a salary below $1 million — and if he did not accept, they would simply retain Dipoto.

The Diamondbacks, however, are believed to have offered Towers more than $1 million and perhaps a good amount more. The difference between say, $750,000 and $2 million, is roughly the price of a utility infielder — and a modestly priced one at that.

The team also had considered De Jon Watson and Logan White, both assistant GMs with the Dodgers, and Angels scouting director Eddie Bane.

Dipoto’s moves have been well-received in the industry, and it is possible he will now become a candidate for the Mets, who are expected to dismiss or reassign Omar Minaya. Dipoto pitched for the Mets in 1995 and ’96.

"I like the young starters that they have here, but I've always said that a baseball game is like a dining experience: it can be a great meal, tremendous ambiance and great company, but if you have to wait 40 minutes for your check you ain't going to remember anything that was good about it," Towers said. "Baseball is no different."

The performance of right-hander Daniel Hudson, acquired by Dipoto from the White Sox in a package for Edwin Jackson, has been particularly encouraging for the Diamondbacks. Hudson is 6-1 with a 1.65 ERA in 10 starts.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.