Yesterday, Kevin Towers was the longest standing General Manager in baseball in his 14th year with San Diego as their GM. Today that mantle belongs to someone else as Kevin Towers has been sacked as GM of the Padres.
It was not utterly unexpected given the new change in ownership and the record by the Padres over the past couple seasons, 99 losses last year and between 86 and 88 this year, and with a bleak outlook for the next couple seasons due to a severe lack of talent on the roster. However, much of this was due to extreme cost cutting measures put in place by the previous ownership preceding a successful sale of the club and its hard to fully blame Towers for the Padres results on the field.
Towers has even continued to make some shrewd trades, the hallmark of his tenure, just this season unloading Jake Peavy and his $56 million contract to the White Sox, actually getting value back for Peavy who was on the disabled list at the time and who several analysts believe will not even be worth the value of his contract in the coming seasons.
Under Towers, the Padres won the NL West in 1996, 1998, 2005 and 2006. They also game oh so close to making the postseason in 2007, losing a heartbreaking 13-inning tiebreaker game at Colorado in which they had a two run lead in the bottom of the 13th. The Padres made the World Series in 1998, only to be swept by the Yankees. The team was 1107-1159 while Towers was GM.
Who is going to step into Towers role? Obviously the first speculation is going to point at Assistant GM Paul DePodesta, who certainly deserves another shot after being railroaded out of Los Angeles. For the few devout Padres fans out there, hope that they don’t go in the direction of Randy Smith, former GM (he was actually the GM before Towers) and current Director of International Scouting.