|Padres Success Too Late for Towers||| Print ||
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on May 03, 2010
Just six months after replacing Kevin Towers as general manager of the San Diego Padres, Jed Hoyer is facing something that Towers rarely dealt with during his 14 years as GM -- a team on the winning side of .500.Â Not to mention one sitting atop the NL West and with the third best record of any team in the Majors.
And Towers deserves all the credit.Â That's not to say that Jed Hoyer hasn't done all he can to improve this team in his short reign, but the team winning right now is made up of youngsters drafted, signed and trained by the previous GM.
The problem was that ownership never saw this coming.Â No one did. 2010 looked like another ordinary season for the lame duck Padres, one to be capped by another last place finish, or something close to that.Â So late in October they showed Towers the door without realizing that he had recreated this team as he had originally hoped, bringing it together the same way that the Tampa Bay Rays did, just several years later.
In that I don't meant to imply that the Padres will win the West, or that they are a legitimate playoff team, but simply that this team has the potential to come together as single unit as all that talent grows up together.Â It may not happen this season, or next, or at all, but even while handcuffed by constraint after constraint, Towers always believed that it would happen, it just wasn't as fast as he or management had hoped.
Up until this last month, aside from Adrian Gonzalez, only a handful of the current Padres had shown the flashes of brilliance that he had expected.Â There was no hint that so many of the current team would display Major League talent all at once.Â There was no hint that 2010 would be, or could possibly be, the year the Padres didn't really stink.Â No doubt that Towers himself, as well as ownership and Hoyer, are all rather surprised by what the team has accomplished this year.
You can drop the majority of credit for that at the feet of the pitching staff.Â San Diego's pitchers have yielded the third fewest runs of any staff in the Majors.Â And while it looks to be a solid enough staff with veterans Kevin Correia, Jon Garland and Chris Young leading the charge ahead of a stable of youngsters who seem poised to see their stars rising, Hoyer had virtually nothing to do with it.Â In fact the only pitcher on the Major League roster who wasn't brought aboard by Towers is Garland.
The offense isn't quite as much Towers' child as the pitching staff is, as Hoyer's few offseason acquisitions (Yorvit Torrealba, Matt Stairs, Jerry Hairston Jr. and re-acquiring Scott Hairston) aren't the guys getting noticed in San Diego.Â Most of those players aren't being noticed because their wild success, but because of the tools they are flashing as they develop.Â Most of them still need more seasoning but guys Chase Headley, Kyle Blanks and Will Venable are the future of the Padres.
So it turns out Towers did a lot.Â And at least for the moment the unproven Hoyer's biggest distinction is that he'll be known as the guy who traded Adrian Gonzalez before the season is out.