A very fit and tanned Kevin Towers was introduced to the Arizona fans and media today. He talked about philosophy on a number of pressing Diamondbacks issues.
"I've always been a believer in building backwards from the closer on down to your starters," Tower said and then went on to use the analogy of having a great meal ruined by having to wait 45 minutes for the check and also then the anecdote of Daniel Hudson pitching a great game only to have that ruined by the bullpen.
"My goal here is put together a bullpen that's better than San Diego's. To me, it's several weapons. A bullpen's not just the closer. To me, you should have five to six guys that can pitch in the seventh, eight, or ninth inning against the middle-of-the-order hitter and be able to get a strikeout."
"I've always been a big believer in position players early. Hitters usually don't slide. Power comes late, but guys that have that knack of putting the sweet spot on the ball, you don't get those guys deep in the draft."
According to Towers, you can get lucky with pitchers later in the draft, but good hitters should be taken early. He talked about assessing the organization's needs from a position standpoint, but hinted at being more of a "best player available" guy.
Towers talked about looking for size and strength when evaluating young pitchers.
"With power comes strikeouts; they usually go hand-in-hand. You're going to have a couple of guys in your lineup that have high strikeouts and hopefully the homers come with them," Towers said on this question that goes to the core of how much change is made to the D-backs lineup.
"Personally, I like contact hitters. I like guys that have good pitch recognition. Strikeouts are part of the game, but if you have four or five or six guys in your lineup, it's hard to sustain any sort of rally."
Towers talked about the importance of grinding out an at-bat and seeing a lot of pitches.
Towers seems to be right on-board with what we've been hearing from CEO Derrick Hall and interim GM Jerry Dipoto. With five guys in the top 15 in NL strikeouts, that would imply some moves are coming.
- Towers said he had a planned 30-minute meeting with interim manager Kirk Gibson that ended up going two hours. He said he was impressed with Gibson's intensity and he's heard good things so far. Towers will travel with the team on this final road trip and spend more time with Gibson, but hinted strongly at keeping him on and giving him a full season to work with.
- Jerry Dipoto's status is up in the air and will depend on what he decides to do. Both Derrick Hall and Ken Kendrick were highly complimentary of Dipoto, who has now been passed over three times for a GM job. Towers seemed inclined to keep Dipoto on should he decide to stay. Word around the press box is that he's disappointed in not getting the job and still undecided on his future. He should have no trouble getting a job elsewhere should he decide to leave.
- Towers claimed there were no "sour grapes" with the Padres, but also said that he spent this season focused on the Yankees, who he was doing some scouting work for. Asked if he felt any pride or connection to the San Diego team he helped build that is doing so well, he only would say that he's turned the page.