Diamondbacks targeting Kevin Towers for GM vacancy

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New Bronx parking lots proving too unpopular

Via Ken Rosenthal, the Diamondbacks are expressing “significant interest” in Yankees special advisor Kevin Towers for their vacant general manager position. Peter Gammons went so far as to say the two sides had a deal “set” this morning, and they just had cross some T’s and dot some I’s before it became official. It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that KT’s stint with the Yanks is temporary since another GM job will come his way before long. If nothing else, we know he had a role in the Steve Garrison and Chad Huffman acquisitions, though I suspect his impact goes far beyond that.

Perhaps the bigger news to come out of Rosenthal’s piece is that the Yanks denied Arizona permission to speak to scouting director Damon Oppenheimer about the job. He’s long been a candidate as well. To be quite honest, I find blocking a potential upward move for Oppenheimer like that to be pretty messed up, but I guess he is under contract. It’s only a matter of time before he moves on to bigger and better things, but for now the Yanks will enjoy the fruits of his labor, and that includes a much improved farm system with more pitching than they know what to do with.

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New Bronx parking lots proving too unpopular
  • crawdaddy

    Unless you know what future plans the Yankees hold for Oppenheimer, I wouldn’t be too hard on the Yankees right now.

    • Guest

      Unless they are planning on removing Cashman (which I seriously doubt is happening anytime soon), I think its fair to say that the Yanks are being non-awesome here.

      Opppenheimer has proven himself and deserves a shot to run his own roster. The Yanks shouldn’t hold him back.

      • Ted Nelson

        It may not be that the Yankees are planning on removing Cashman, but that he is planning on removing himself at some point. He’s been GM for 12 years. Maybe he wants to do it for another 30 years, or maybe he’s getting tired of it/wants a new challenge/etc… Could want a more hands-off role in the org, or could want to retire and become a monk in Tibet… who knows. So, I think crawdaddy’s point stands. You can say it’s most likely x or y, but unless you have some inside info it’s just speculation.

        Even if they are just blocking him… If some team wanted Joba to be their closer, would you say it’s unfair for the Yankees to grant him his release and let him sign there because they’ve got Mo in front of him? Both Joba and Opp are employees of the Yankees. If another team were willing to start Jesus in the bigs tomorrow, should the Yankees simply release him from his contract? It might sound ridiculous given the norms of baseball, but I find the two situations quite comparable.

        • Horrendously Dumb

          Into the great unknown we idly wasted away a Friday afternoon. I too, thought about becoming a Tibetan Monk. Only the idea of high altitude and lack of satellite TV (no Yankees baseball) prevented me from taking a such austere route.

        • Guest

          I hear what you are saying, but norms count for something. Norms are unwritten rules that help our society function.

          And the norm is you don’t release your players from contracts to give them the opportunity to take on a more prestigious role on another team, but you do allow people in your front office to move up the pecking order. And, if the Yankees don’t allow Damon to move on, they areviolating the norm. When you violate norms that are put in place for good natured reasons (such as allowing people to move forward in a cut-throat, low job security field), well, you’re kind of being prickish.

          For what its worth, I think its a good norm, and one that enures to everyone’s benefit. Front office jobs in the majors are tough to come by and even harder to keep. Nothing wrong with giving someone the opportunity to succeed after they have worked so hard to support your success.

          • Thomas

            The Yankees aren’t followers, they go there own way and set a trend.

            /PSA’d

            • art vandelay

              the more you know …..

          • Ted Nelson

            “Nothing wrong with giving someone the opportunity to succeed after they have worked so hard to support your success.”

            The thing that is wrong with it is that you want that person to continue supporting your own success rather than your direct competitor’s success. That may either be A. because you’re planning on promoting that person internally or B. because that person is great at their current job. I don’t really cry for Opp at night because I’m sure he’s very well compensated as is and I’m sure he’ll find a job somewhere in baseball for the rest of his life. I have a hard time feeling sorry for someone who is near the top of the world and is being blocked from the absolute top. If he’s got a problem with it, he should/will take it up with Cashman or whoever. Back to the original point, without a working knowledge of the Yankees front office happenings or at least more evidence, it’s useless to speculate on what’s going on. I wouldn’t just automatically assume Cashman is screwing Opp. Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t.

            There are a lot of cut-throat industries out there, and I don’t know too many where you willingly hand over a valuable employee or any other asset to a direct competitor. It is absolutely not to the Yankees own advantage if they let a guy they think will be one of the best GMs in baseball go to a competitor and lose him from their own organization.

            Would the Yankees be able to work pick(s) and/or prospect(s) out of Arizona if they were to want to hire Opp while he’s still under contract?

        • Chris

          I still can’t believe that Cashman is only 43, and he’s been the Yankees GM for 12 years. Four WS titles, 6 AL pennants, and 11 playoff trips in 12 years. That’s pretty impressive for a GM that’s only 2 years older than the oldest player on his team.

  • crawdaddy

    Or Cashman is going to remove himself after the 2011 season.

    • Horrendously Dumb

      Pretty sure Cashman has certain fail safe measures in place in the event of internal candidates vying for his job goes. They are either summarily executed or dismissed It depends on the Ninja code of the day.

  • http://www.mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

    Good riddance. He was a horrible hire who never has done anything good in the game of baseball. Can’t believe we’re even talking about him.

    /SBGL’d

    I actually think is a great thing for the Yankees, as we knew Towers wasn’t here for long, but the longer Oppenheimer is around the better. For DO’s sake I do hope he gets the chance to be a GM, but as a Yankee fan I’m selfishly happy if he gets passed over. He’ll be gone eventually, but this is one less open job for him.

  • http://www.mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

    Maybe Rob Neyer can do a piece about how Cashman is keeping DO down now. He actually might have a point (not that we know it’s Cashman’s doing).

  • http://deleted Richard Deegan

    Why on earth allow another team to interview multiple candidates from the same team? Let them make up their minds a bit, first. Or are the D-Backs using these “interviews” just to grab as much info/ideas as possible about the Yanks operations?

  • MikeD

    If Towers takes the job, he’ll certainly be well prepared to steal multiple pieces from the Yankee farm system when the Yankees come calling in the off-season to make a deal for Miguel Montero.

    • Horrendously Dumb

      Done Deal… Jesus for Migueal. Of course, we need to kick in some money to make the deal fair.

    • http://twitter.com/marcos_aguirre Marcos

      We’ve got a pretty good catcher named Montero too…

    • http://www.teamnerdrage.com dr mrs the yankee

      Yes I’m sure he hid them away from Mark Newman who Cashman certainly wouldn’t ask about these guys. Towers has a great eye for talent and is a good GM but I don’t think there’s anything hidden away that Oppenheimer, Nardi and Newman don’t know about.

      • MikeD

        That’s not what I meant. Towers will have a better idea than other teams what the Yankees really think of certain players in their system, regardless of what the buzz it, or even what the Yankees say externally. He’ll also have a better chance of evalutating the players. He has his own opinions that may differ in many cases from Oppenheimer and company, and since he is known as a talent evaluator, then I would assume he will walk away from his time from the Yankees with his own opinions that he would use when trying to make trades with the Yankees. There’s nothing wrong with this. My point is he’ll be in better position to deal with the Yankees than perhaps other teams.

        For example, when the Yankees were making the A-Rod trade, the Rangers could have also taken Robinson Cano as one of the other players the Yankees were sending with Soriano. Cano had issues back then so the Rangers passed. Perhaps with someone like Towers involved, he might have also taken Cano. So if Towers does go to Arizona and if the Yankees one day make a deal with him, we may see some seemingly second-level player shipped along that we won’t blink an eye at…that is until several years later. That’s the insight I was referring to.

        Not all knowledge is equal. Not all talent evaluators are equal.

        Nothing negative here. The knowledge might eve

        • MikeD

          That last line should have been deleted.

          I should also add that Towers’ knowledge could work against him. Supposedly the Sox have been careful in dealing with Jed Hoyer since moving to San Diego.

          Kevin Towers rings up Cash sometime next year:

          Towers: Hey, Brian, how’s it going? I see you guys are in the middle of a pennant race again and we have a nice fourth-OFer type you could probably use for the stretch.

          Cash: Hey, back, dude of dudes. Nice of you to be thinking of us. Yup, yup, another year, another pennant race, but man, who would have thought the Orioles would be playing .650 ball here in late July?

          Towers: I feel your pain. That Showalter, what a magician, but at least the Red Sox are down in fifth place. I guess Theo’s grand strategy this off season to go with an all-speed team didn’t quite work out. Hopefully one day I can get my team back in the race, but that’s not this year, so we’re trying to move a little salary. Anyway, I’d be happy to ship you our 4th-OFer to you, all I need back is Player X down in A-ball. I know he has some command issues, but at least I can try to claim I got something as opposed to making this look like a salary dump.

          Cash: Really? Well, that’s certainly interesting. Can you hold one second.

          Cash (dials DO): Hey, Damon, that you? Got Kevin on the other line. He wants Player X down in A. You told me he was a non-prospect.

          DO: Well, yes, I did, but if Kevin wants him, we best pass.

          Cash: Hey, Kevin. Thanks for the offer, but we really like Player X now.

          Towers: Okay, well, can we talk about Kevin Romine?

          Cash: Sure. I mean, Keith Law did say he has iron hands….

  • Dick Whitman

    Why would anyone ever want Oppenheimer? He drafted Cito Culver and the system he drafted is like middle of the pack if not worse.

    /everyanalystever’d

    • Horrendously Dumb

      In complete agreement about Oppenheimer. The only person who is even more responsible for this disaster is B.Cash. Cash should allow himself to be available for the AZ opening and take DO with him.
      That said, the Whitman blocking on DO’s upward mobility is simply uncool.

  • nathan

    Maybe this happened:

    DO: Hey Cash just wanted to let u know i dont want to interview for the job at Phx.

    $$: Ok will let them know

    DO: Well, you let them know I cant be interviewed not I dont wannab

    $$: I agree its a dump, let me block them off.

    • Horrendously Dumb

      Or
      DO : Hey I heard the AZ job is open . I just want to say it has been a great pleasure to learn the ways of Ninja Sensei under you.

      $$ : You not ready !

      DO : But Sensei, I want to see the world

      $$ : ( sounds of smacking and whimpering )

  • Andy In Sunny Daytona

    I thought I read that Towers was a big reason why the Yankees drafted Angelo Gumbs.

  • Andy In Sunny Daytona

    Isn’t Kevin Towers a little long in the tooth to be a GM now? I was thinking that baseball would finally have a teenaged GM.

    • Horrendously Dumb

      I am available. While the road to puberty has been a long and pleasurable experience, I think I am finally ready to take over a billion dollars enterprise.

  • Samuel

    When Kevin Long was hitting coach in Triple A, five teams called Cashman wanting to hire him for their major league jobs.

    Cashman rejected all calls for Long saying he was under contract and not going anywhere. Long did another year in Triple A after that, and the Yankees made him their major league hitting coach.

    There probably is some reason Cashman did not want Oppenheimer to interview. Damon has done a pretty good job. Or have you not noticed guys like David Phelps, Andrew Brackman, Adam Warren, Graham Stoneburner, DJ Mitchell, Dellin Betances, Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy, David Robertson, Austin Romine, Brandon Laird, JR Murphy and others doing well in the Yankee system or now in the majors?

    And that is not to say that Oppenheimer did not have a role in signing guys like Manny Banuelos, Jesus Montero, Hector Noesi, Ivan Nova, Jose Ramirez, Gary Sanchez and other Latin players. They have to be scouted, too, and don’t think that Oppenheimer didn’t go take a look at those guys before they were signed.

    Too many people think the draft is entirely based upon the first round pick (such as a Culver or Gerrit Cole, but it is not, especailly where the Yankees draft every year.

    Would you be happy if Cole was signed and in Triple A right now sporting a 2.50 ERA in 158.2 high level minor league innings?

    Me too, but a guy in that same draft is doing that and his name is David Phelps, taken in the 14th round.

    The Yankees make their bones with rounds 3 on down to about 20.

    The top three levels of the Yankees minor league system is in the post season and the Yankees are headed there, too, so something must be right in Yankee-land.

    So take it easy and just enjoy the games.

    • jsbrendog (returns)

      So take it easy and just enjoy the games.

      your comment was great until here which just came off condescending and annoying and seemingly directewd at nobody. it seems to contradict your whole post before it. just sayin….

      • Samuel

        It wasn’t meant to be anything negative.

        Too much worrying going on with many Yankee fans when they are the best franchise, with the most available dollars and now a great farm system.

        Baseball is a fun game, and sometimes too many other things take us away from that.