Arizona Diamondbacks General Manager Kevin Towers made some comments Tuesday during a radio interview that received national attention. He spoke about why pitching coach Charles Nagy was fired and about the team not retaliating more to players being hit. Basically he commented on 2 different things, retaliation and roster construction.
"You'd think the GM comes down and makes it a point to talk to the staff about that we need to start protecting our own and doing things differently"
Personally, I am ok with the organization having the direction to retaliate for batters being hit, but it does not need to be a 1:1 ratio. It should also absolutely NOT be spoken aloud to the media. Also, you cannot simply hit an opposing batter for each time one of your players is hit. This attitude will cause fights, ejections, and likely will cost the team
victories. If your starter is forced to hit an opposing player just because his teammate was hit, he can be ejected and even suspended which forces a lesser pitcher to come into the game.
"…if Goldy's getting hit, it's an eye for an eye. Somebody's going down, or somebody's going to get jackknifed."
While I agree that you should protect your star players, that does not always mean an eye for an eye or somebody getting "jackknifed". Jackknifed connotes an overly aggressive action that would cause injury to an opposing player. That is too far. Just because Paul Goldschmidt gets hit by a pitch does not mean the team should be attacking an
opposing player. All situations do not warrant inflicting pain on the opposing team by putting a 95 mph heater in the middle of their back. The "pain" we inflict back should be by capitalizing on a free base runner and winning the game.
"If not, if you have option there's ways to get you out of here and you don't follow suit or you don't feel comfortable doing it, you probably don't belong in a Diamondbacks uniform."
I understand that you don’t want players who don’t fit your team philosophy, but getting rid of pitchers because they won't hit opposing batters is absurd. Pitchers are taking the most risk by throwing at an opposing player. There is the risk of injury if the batter charges, not to mention risk of suspension, which directly affects the pitchers wallet.
In order for the players to want to stand up for themselves, they need to have some chemistry. Towers spoke about the bond needed between players, but he doesn't seem to understand that chemistry is generally created through continuity. Since Towers has taken over the position, the roster has been in a constant state of flux. It is hard for the players to bond and build roots when they know they have a "gunslinger" for a general manager, willing to pull the trigger on any trade involving any player.
Towers also spoke about the team needing some attitude, players who show a fiery passion and disposition during the game. This sounds much like someone who was traded last offseason, Justin Upton. Say what you will about his performance, but he played with attitude. You could often see Upton on the bench involved in the game, yelling at opposing players and pitchers when they hit a teammate or did something that was deemed offensive to the team. Last year this was the type of attitude that Towers tried to purge from the roster, yet now it is what he is trying to bring back. This short sightedness does not bode well for Towers and the Diamondbacks.
In Towers' defense, he wasn’t the one who brought up retaliation or the specific Dodgers game that most of the national articles keep referencing. There are also instances where an opposing player deserves to be hit, but not all perceived slights deserve this punishment. As a GM of an MLB franchise, Towers should know better than to respond to those questions in such a way. His responses are idiotic and are unbecoming of a real GM. You don’t see the GMs of the highly respected organizations reacting like this, regardless if they have the same internal philosophy. This team needs a leader who will bring respect and class to the organization, not somebody who will just shoot their mouth off at every open microphone.