Although there are still a few weeks remaining in the 2014 Arizona Diamondbacks’ season, the wheels are already spinning in what’s expected to be a busy winter for Ken Kendrick, Tony La Russa and the rest of the Dbacks’ brass picking up the pieces and moving forward after another season of non-playoff baseball. Very little has gone right for the organization since they gathered in Scottsdale for spring training back in February.
Late last week Kevin Towers was relieved of his duties as general manager but the door has remained open to return the organization in another capacity, believe it or not, possibly assisting the person who replaces him if it makes sense for both parties.
One potential name which has been linked the GM vacancy is three-time World Series champion pitcher Dave Stewart, who was Towers’ pitching coach when both were with the San Diego Padres back in the late 1990’s. Towers was the GM, Stewart the pitching coach.
Stewart was an assistant general manager with the Toronto Blue Jays and has been a successful, well-regarded sports agent for the past several years representing high-profile clients like Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp and others.
“He’s got a great reputation inside baseball,” ESPN baseball analyst Pedro Gomez told Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat in a recent phone interview. “Tony La Russa has a long history with Dave Stewart. Kevin Towers has a long history with Dave Stewart. If Dave Stewart gets the job, [I] would not surprised if Kevin Towers stays and agrees to be kind of his mentor.”
Gomez says there are many “ins and outs” and nuances of the position which Stewart may not be totally familiar with such as waivers and other MLB rules. He says a savvy veteran front-office person like Towers could help the 1989 World Series MVP learn on the job.
“They are very close friends,” Gomez explained. “He would ensure that ‘Stew’ would not get embarrassed.”
Gomez believes La Russa would prefer to hire someone he knows personally and is “comfortable” with and Stewart, or St. Louis Cardinals farm director Gary LaRocque, could be at the top of the list.
The future is also uncertain for manager Kirk Gibson. From what Gomez is hearing inside baseball circles, his return seems doubtful because the club, who will likely lose at least 90 games this season, isn’t moving forward and the organization doesn’t want the risk of another slow start in 2015.