Kevin Towers

Is there room for Wade Miley under that bus?

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Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers is a dinosaur, no doubt, but he’s also in charge of a major league baseball team, so we have little choice but to take him somewhat seriously, even when he goes on to a radio show (Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo show, to be specific) says stuff like this:

“I was sitting behind home plate that game and when it showed up on the Diamondvision of stuffing bananas down their throats, I felt like we were a punching bag,”

“Literally, 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.”

“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. Probably a week later Goldy gets dinged, and no retaliation. It’s like ‘wait a minute.”

“Some of [the pitchers], contractually, it’s tough to move. But I think come spring training, it will be duly noted that it’s going to be an eye for an eye and we’re going to protect one another.”

Well, with quotes like that, one would think the Diamondbacks must have been plunked, what, twice as often as they hit batters? At least significantly more often, right?

No, of course not. Diamondbacks pitchers hit 60 batters this year. Their hitters were plunked 43 times.

But not all hit by pitches are created equal. What about the Diamondbacks’ big star, the aforementioned Goldy. The guy opposing teams were throwing at weekly. Or monthly. Or every other month.

Paul Goldschmidt was hit three times all year, on April 22 by the Giants, on July 31 by the Rays and on Sept. 19 by the Dodgers.

Interesting enough, Wade Miley was the pitcher all three times Goldschmidt was hit. And he was the one who never retaliated. The sophomore left-hander hit just four batters all season.

So, get rid of him, obviously. He’s making practically the minimum, so he’s not one of those guys who would be “contractually tough to move.” That was kind of an odd comment, too. The Diamondbacks’ only pitchers who would be tough to move without eating cash are Brandon McCarthy and relievers J.J. Putz and Heath Bell. And McCarthy would only be tough to move because the Diamondbacks backloaded his two-year deal so that he’ll make $9 million next year. Even so, there might be interested teams. Trevor Cahill isn’t exactly a bargain at $20 million for the next two years, but there are teams that would take that on.

So, get the Padres back on the phone. Ian Kennedy was the closest thing the Diamondbacks had to an enforcer this year, setting off a brawl with the Dodgers and hitting 10 batters in all. Which didn’t stop Towers from giving him away at the trade deadline. But if Towers asks nicely enough, surely the Padres will send him back to Arizona for that softy Miley.

Anyway, a lot of this is Towers diverting attention after his remade roster did no better than his old one. Not only is it a pathetic way to do so, but it should really get him fined by the league. Baseball doesn’t need its general managers publicly advocating throwing at and hitting batters.

Giants sign catcher Nick Hundley

DENVER, CO - JUNE 07:  Nick Hundley #4 of the Colorado Rockies takes an at bat against the Miami Marlins at Coors Field on June 7, 2015 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Getty Images
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Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News reports that the Giants have signed catcher Nick Hundley. It’s a major league deal worth $2 million.

Hundley, who is 33, but who seems like he’s been in the bigs for about 27 years, hit .260/.320/.439 with 10 homers in 83 games for the Rockies last season. Obviously he will be the backup given the presence of Buster Posey.

MLB reorganizes its diversity and social responsibility leadership structure

Billy Bean
Associated Press
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Major League Baseball has experienced inconsistent progress in its efforts at promoting diversity and social responsibility in recent years despite making it a league priority.  Today it has announced several changes in its leadership structure in these areas, with Commissioner Manfred saying, “As the sport of Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente, we have a responsibility to uphold and honor their legacies, especially in ensuring that our sport and business practices are as inclusive, diverse and socially-conscious as possible.”

To that end:

  • Billy Bean has been promoted to Vice President and Special Assistant to the Commissioner. This is a newly-created and elevated position in which Bean will continue his efforts at promoting human rights issues important to Major League Baseball, with a particular focus on LGBT and anti-bullying efforts. He has done such work since 2014 as its Ambassador for Inclusion, but putting him at the vice presidential level and having him answer directly to Commissioner Manfred increases his profile and that of his mission;
  • Renée Tirado, has been promoted to Vice President of Talent Acquisition and Diversity & Inclusion. Tirado had previously served as Senior Director of Recruitment. She will direct the implementation of recruitment plans and procedures to support MLB’s staffing objectives and will oversee MLB’s Diversity Pipeline Program. As you may recall, Major League Baseball has struggled mightily in these effort in recent years, and has admitted as much; and
  • Melanie LeGrande has been promoted to Vice President of Social Responsibility. She previously served as MLB’s Director of Community Affairs. Her job will be to develop and enhance the initiatives that support MLB’s position in the community and oversee MLB’s community investments, nonprofit/non-governmental organization partnerships, large-scale disaster relief efforts and employee volunteer engagement.

Manfred said, “the promotions of Billy, Renée and Melanie reflect our commitment to have strong, innovative leadership in place that aligns our industry objectives with a desire to be effective corporate citizens.”

While all of these are current employees who have served in roughly similar roles. A business’ organizational chart says much about how much that business values various functions and initiatives. In keeping with Manfred’s comments, that all three of these people have been promoted to the vice presidential level is a strong signal from MLB about what it wants.

Now all it has to do is follow through and get what it wants.