Corey Brock of MLB.com has an interesting update on Kevin Towers, via a quote from Padres CEO Jeff Moorad. "We're continuing our evaluation and assessment of multiple parts of the organization, baseball included. At this point, Kevin is our general manager, and is under contract through the 2010 season."
Doesn't sound like a glowing endorsement of Towers, does it?
Moorad is being consistent, for whatever that's worth. All along, he's said that he'll wait until the end of the season to complete his evaluation of Towers and the rest of the baseball front office. Check my blog post on Aug. 31, and you'll see a similar comment. At that time, Moorad also said Towers would have final say-so on personnel decisions within baseball operations.
If Moorad wants a new GM, it wouldn't be shocking, just because that happens so often in major league baseball and other industries. A new boss takes over and eventually brings in his own people.
Whatever happens, Moorad and Towers have shown they can work well together, judging by the many good moves the Padres have made since Moorad became CEO in late March. For what it's worth, the two have strengths that seem to fit. Few CEOs have more contacts within baseball than Moorad, a former player agent who is comfortable in either the clubhouse or the executive suites and knows how agents think. Towers is an information junkie, and Moorad's vast network of baseball sources could only help when the Padres gather information on potential trade prospects or draftees. Towers, for his part, is among the betters GMs at brokering trades. I quoted Moorad in March that he considers Towers unsurpassed at "the art of the deal."
Moorad also thought enough of Towers to interview him for Arizona's GM opening four years ago. It wasn't a mere chat. For nearly four hours, Towers met with Moorad and other Diamondbacks executives at a resort in Phoenix. In the end, Josh Byrnes got the job. That couldn't have been easy for Towers, who presumably wouldn't have interviewed with a division rival unless he thought he had the job.
Towers, the GM with the longest tenure, is guaranteed well over $1 million next year. That puts him in the upper echelon of GM incomes. Moorad hired Byrnes for a whole lot less than $1 million per year.
I highly doubt that Moorad wants a puppet for a GM. I'd be stunned if Moorad envisions himself as a de facto GM. Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch, who is close to Moorad, said in June that Moorad is a big-picture guy who "has a long-term vision" and "knows what he doesn't know."