Kevin Towers

Grit isn’t enough: now the Dbacks general manager wants his team to be dirty too

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Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers inspired a lot of jokes last winter when he insisted that his team be “gritty” and proceeded to trade away Justin Upton for Martin Prado (among other moves) that he claimed were about instilling a blue collar attitude. That wasn’t enough, though, apparently. Now he wants his team to be out-and-out dirty.

He went on a radio show yesterday and talked about how upset he was that his team seemed to be something less than dour in the dugout during some losses and how, when he saw them on a monitor goofing off “if I would have had a carton of baseballs I would have fired them into the dugout from where I was sitting behind home plate.” UPDATE: I got this wrong. Apparently it was the Dodgers goofing off he didn’t like and said he’d throw baseballs at them if he could. Which, either way, seems kinda messed up.

But more offensive to him was the fact that, in his mind anyway, Dbacks pitchers didn’t hit opposing batters enough. Really, he said that:

You’d think the GM comes down and makes it a point to talk to the staff about it that at we need to start protecting our own and doing things differently,” he said. “Probably a week later Goldy gets dinged, and no retaliation. It’s like ‘wait a minute.’

“Not that I don’t take any of our guys from a lesser standpoint, but if Goldy’s getting hit, it’s an eye for an eye, somebody’s going down or somebody’s going to get jacknifed.”

Towers went on to claim that part of the reason pitching coach Charles Nagy was fired was because his pitchers didn’t hit enough guys. Worth noting, as Rob Neyer noted on Twitter last night, that Arizona’s batters were hit by 43 pitches in 2013 while Arizona’s pitchers hit 60 batters. So apparently he doesn’t want an “eye for an eye.” He wants something more on the order of two eyes.

If Kevin Towers fired Nagy for not instructing pitchers to hit more batters I hope Nagy told him where to shove it when he walked out the door. If he wants Dbacks players “jack-knifing” the opposition, I hope he gets out of his friggin’ armchair when the benches clear and starts mixing it up with other players.

And, if he continues to stand by these comments — and if he really did instruct Nagy to have pitchers plunk guys — I hope Major League Baseball disciplines him, just as it would discipline any pitcher it was convinced intentionally threw at a batter. Indeed, MLB should discipline him more for ordering it from the position of authority he inexplicably continues to hold.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.