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.
In 2016, Red Sox starter Rick Porcello narrowly and controversially eked ahead of then-Tigers starter Justin Verlander in Cy Young Award balloting, winning on points 137 to 132. Verlander was not included at all in the top-five of two ballots, both coincidentally belonging to writers from the Tampa Bay chapter, MLB.com’s Bill Chastain and Fred Goodall of the Associated Press. Verlander had more first-place votes than Porcello, but being left out of the top-five on two ballots was the difference maker.
In the aftermath, Verlander’s then-fiancée Kate Upton fired off some angry tweets, as did Justin’s brother Ben.
Verlander was again in the running for the 2018 AL Cy Young Award. He again finished in second place, this time behind Blake Snell of the Rays. Snell had 17 first-place votes and 169 total points to Verlander’s 13 and 154. There weren’t any ballots that made a big difference like in 2016, but there were two odd ballots from the Tampa Bay chapter again.
If a chapter doesn’t have enough eligible voters, a voter from another chapter is chosen to represent that city. This year, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News was a replacement voter along with Mark Didtler, a freelancer for the Associated Press. Both writers voted for Snell in first place, reasonably. But neither writer put Verlander second, less reasonably, putting Corey Kluber there instead. Madden actually had Verlander fourth behind Athletics reliever Blake Treinen. Didtler had Treinen in fifth place. Two other writers had Verlander in third place: George A. King III of the New York Post and Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. The other 26 had Verlander in first or second place.
Voting Kluber ahead of Verlander doesn’t make any sense, especially we finally live in a world where a pitcher’s win-loss record isn’t valued highly. Kluber had 20 wins to Verlander’s 16 and pitched one more inning. In every other area, Verlander was better. ERA? Verlander led 2.52 to 2.89. Strikeouts? Verlander led 290 to 222. Strikeout rate? Verlander led 34.8% to 26.4%. Opponent batting average? Verlander led .198 to .222. FIP and xFIP? Verlander led both 2.78 and 3.03 to 3.12 and 3.08, respectively. And while Treinen had an excellent year, Verlander pitched 134 more innings, which is significant.
Upton had another tweet for the occasion: