The Diamondbacks made official a little while ago what was reported last night: Kevin Towers is out as the team’s GM. But the team has offered Towers another job within the organization. I would assume it’s related to scouting or as an advisor of sorts to Tony La Russa. Towers is said to be considering the offer. According to Tony La Russa, whether he accepts it will depend on who is hired as the Dbacks’ new GM.
He’s said by far more people, however, to be a candidate for a job in San Diego, where he used to be the GM. The Padres recently hired A.J. Preller as their general manager, but it’s been speculated for some time that ownership would welcome Towers back in an advisory role. That two teams who have fired Kevin Towers as their GM nonetheless want him to be involved in the front office somehow probably speaks a lot to how much Towers is admired and respected in the game, even if his moves as GM didn’t work out too terribly well.
The Dbacks further said that they will begin the search for a new GM this week. Whether they make any other changes in baseball operations — including the retention, or not, of Kirk Gibson — will be determined after a new GM is in place.
With his team trailing 8-3 to begin the bottom of the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Astros, Indians third baseman José Ramirez eventually won a 17-pitch at-bat against closer Ken Giles, ripping a double off of the wall in right field. The Indians would go on to score five runs on seven hits to tie the game against Giles and Hector Rondon. Ramirez almost won the game in his second at-bat of the ninth inning, but first basebamn Yuli Gurriel made a terrific diving catch on a line drive otherwise headed for the right field corner.
Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record for the longest at-bat last month, seeing 21 pitches against the Angels’ Jaime Barria. The Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez sfaw 20 pitches from the Indians’ Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998, which was the previous record. Kevin Bass saw 19 pitches from the Phillies’ Steve Bedrosian in 1988. There have also been five 18-pitch at-bats from Brian Downing, Bip Roberts, Alex Cora, Adam Kennedy, and Marcus Semien.
Sunday’s game wound up going 14 innings. The Astros pulled ahead 9-8 in the top of the 13th on a solo home run from Evan Gattis. However, the Indians’ Yonder Alonso responded with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the 13th to re-knot the game at 9-9. Greg Allen then lifted a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 14th to give the Indians a 10-9 win.
After Sunday’s effort, Ramirez is batting .292/.389/.605 with 15 home runs, 37 RBI, 34 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. According to FanGraphs, his 3.5 Wins Above Replacement ranks third across baseball behind Mike Trout (4.4) and Mookie Betts (4.1). They’re the only players at three wins or above.