Gibson focused on team rather than job status
General manager Towers backs D-backs' manager despite poor start
CHICAGO -- Kevin Towers looks at the team that he put together, and the D-backs' general manager is as perplexed as anyone at the dismal start.
"I've been a part of some bad clubs, but most of the time I knew they were bad clubs, knew going into the season that we were going to struggle," Towers said.
The D-backs had far higher hopes for this season with a club-record payroll of $110 million, but they entered Wednesday afternoon's game with the Cubs with a Major League-worst 5-18 record. With that payroll came expectations, and Towers knows that managing general partner Ken Kendrick and team president/CEO Derrick Hall might be running short on patience.
"I've talked to Derrick, Ken and they're [frustrated] -- rightfully so," Towers said. "They should be. This organization has committed a lot of money. That's what's even more disturbing. You've got a payroll that exceeds $100 million, and we're off to one of the worst starts in franchise history. That's tough to swallow when you're an owner and you care and you've invested in a product, and the product isn't performing. I'm sure they've grown impatient, and I don't blame them."
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson knows that there has been speculation about his job status, but he is trying to remain focused on getting his team turned around.
"I don't worry about that part," Gibson said of his job status. "I just come in here and am positive every day. We try to analyze what we can do [better], and we just prepare and try to get the guys to prepare and have a positive day and a good game."
Regardless of how positive they are, or what Towers or Gibson do, the reality is that it is up to the players on the field, and Towers issued a bit of a challenge Wednesday.
"It's a team that should be performing a lot better than they are, and it's not like help is on its way," Towers said. "These guys are the guys who are going to have to get it done. If not, your legacy is that you were part of one of the worst teams in Diamondbacks franchise history. To me, I've got incredible pride -- and hopefully they do, and they're going to have to find a way to turn it around or that will be their legacy."
When asked if he thought that he would be given a chance to continue as GM and be given a chance to fix what's wrong with the team, Towers deferred the query to Kendrick and Hall.
"That's a question you need to ask them," Towers said. "I don't think they dislike Gibby or myself. They're good people. They've been great to us. But Gibby and I are smart enough to know that this is what you get paid to do. You get paid to hopefully go out and win ballgames.
"But I think we're all accountable. Everybody. It's players, it's us, it's coaches. We all should be wearing this right now and finding a way to turn this around."
When he took over as GM in September 2010, Towers inherited Gibson, who had been named interim manager in July.
The two quickly formed a bond and Towers elected after that season to rehire Gibson. The pair won a division championship together in 2011, which was followed up by back-to-back .500 seasons.
After last season, the organization declined to pick up the contract options on the pair for 2015, but then announced extensions of unspecified lengths for both just before the start of Spring Training.
As of Wednesday, Towers was still standing behind Gibson.
"I think the world of Gibby," Towers said. "He's a fierce competitor. He cares. But ultimately, it's how do they respond? Players may ultimately get GMs and managers fired, but they don't do it, it comes from up above. But how they respond to different things, our livelihood kind of lies in their hands. That's just the truth, and it does. They perform good, we have job security. They don't perform well, we don't have job security.
"That's probably what makes it tough on Gibby and myself. You can't go out and swing the bat or throw a ball. You're sitting and evaluating, watching. You try to find different ways to get it done, but you can't go out and play the game for them."
Gibson, for his part, continues to stand behind his players in terms of the effort they're putting forth.
"Yeah, they're busting their [butts]," Gibson said. "When you don't score runs, it looks bad. When you don't pitch, it looks bad. It always will. It always has. Things are magnified when we make an error and somebody hits a home run. It looks bad. Anybody going to question anybody on our team's attitude and dedication and how they prepare when they make an error? They better not."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.