Saturday, October 03, 2009

The Columnists Start to Chime in on Towers/Padres

Saturday October 3, 2009

We are starting to see some of the columnists chiming in on their thoughts on the Towers firing by Padres owner and CEO Jeff Moorad.

It has been pretty consistent.

Buster Olney of ESPN says - "A "Major League" move by the Padres"
As in Major League the movie, not as in big league. In other words, bush league.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports is not as nice - "GM Towers is better off out of San Diego"
I loved this line from his article, "

"Yes, we've turned around our season, going 36-24 since July 28. Yes, this is arguably Kevin's finest job in 14 years as GM. Yes, we might actually contend in 2010.

"But it is time for a change."

Scott Miller of CBS Sports said - "Amateur Hour again in San Diego"

None of these guys seem to understand why Towers was cut loose. All of them question Moorad's rationale.

"If the guy is so good and he has put the team in the position to contend in the future, why are you firing him?" seems to be the overriding question.

My take on the Towers firing

Saturday October 3, 2009

I gave myself a night to sleep on the firing of San Diego Padres GM Kevin Towers and VP of Player Personnel Grady Fuson and now I would like to throw in a little more well thought out version of my two cents on the matter.

First let me start by giving you a little background.

After moving to San Diego too late in the 1985 season to buy season tickets, I bought my first Padres season tickets in 1986. Section F16 Row 21.

I returned as a season ticket holder in 1995 after a one year hiatus following the firesale and purchased front row outfield seats. I sat in my seats at Qualcomm and Petco through Towers entire tenure.

As a fan one thing I could always count on from the Padres was Kevin Towers being honest with us.

The team wasn't always going to contend with the low budget constraints the team dealt with. As a Padres fan we already knew that, but we also knew Towers was a straight shooter and we could count on him to do all he could to give us a fun team to watch.

Moorad has shown that he plays everything close to the vest and cannot always be trusted to be honest if it does not give him an advantage. You can never seem to get a straight answer from him. He doesn't say "this is the way it is"

Maybe that is because he is a lawyer, not a baseball person. That means he is trained to hedge what he is saying and say whatever he can to obfuscate what is really happening.

I think many season ticket holders that were beginning to get excited about this team and now will be holding back to see what will happen under the new admin. We have our season ticket renewal packages in hand and we are waiting on your next move Mr. Moorad.

The garbage from Moorad in the Tim Sullivan article in the UT about taking a few weeks to interview candidates does not ring true. Moorad doesn't have much time to make his call on a new GM. He has to already have a guy not only in mind, but ready to step in.

Fans won't wait. Moorad has until October 23rd to impress the season ticket base here in San Diego with his choice for a new GM (and a new VP of Player Personnel) or we will simply take our entertainment dollars elsewhere.

If he hesitates to act, it will cost him more of his season ticket fan base after the team already lost a huge percentage in 2009. I do not think Moorad is that stupid.

Jerry Dipoto is a known quantity for Moorad so he makes perfect sense.

Yahoo said they have heard rumors of Pat Gillick.

At this point we know two things.

Moorad cannot have interviewed anyone under contract with a team or we would have heard about it. That means id he has done interviews, they are not currently with a team.

No one in the Padres organization will be the next GM.

I will update this post after the News Conference


Padres CEO Jeff Moorad said among other things that:
It was an organizational decision to fire Towers
He wanted a GM more involved in the draft and player development
He wanted more planning and discipline in scouting & player development
He wanted a GM that would do more "strategic" planning
(Just curious how that was possible in the ever changing and low budget environment that was the Padres organization?)
No internal candidates were/will be considered.
(he actually made both comments were and will be at different points.)

Then he hmmmed and hawed before answering the question about how many candidates he had already interviewed before saying "Three"

Pretty simple question. Should have been a simple answer. Sounded to me like he was not telling the entire truth. What did you think?

If he did interview anyone, it means they are not currently in baseball. That leaves a small group of people. Pat Gillick could be on that list, but at 72 years old he would be a short term fix. Hard to be doing strategic planning when you are only going to be there a couple of years at most.

The last time Moorad had a chance to interview people for a GM position, he chose a young (35 years old) and relatively inexperienced person in Josh Byrnes. Towers at 44 was the oldest and most experienced person interviewed for the Diamondbacks position in 2005.

Moorad's MO points to DiPoto or another Player Personnel person or an assistant GM that was tasked with player development.

As for Kevin Towers, I doubt he will be unemployed long.

With today's firing of Ricciardi in Toronto and the impending firing of Hendry in Cubs land, I can see two high profile jobs that Towers could fill.