Wednesday, October 14, 2009

One of these weeks or months, I'll probably get around to my summing up of the Kevin Towers era. Towers became GM of the Padres in my second year on the beat, so there's a lot of ground to cover.

As for who will replace Towers as GM of your favorite baseball club -- beats me.

I have no idea who Jeff Moorad will hire as GM of the Padres.

Red Sox assistant GM Jed Hoyer is a name I heard and reported the day Kevin Towers was officially fired -- and, in fact, the Padres asked for and received permission to interview him. Hoyer would appeal to children who are Padres fans. He appears to be 14 years old. Hey, it worked for Doogie Howser.

The Padres keep saying the next GM probably will not come from the Diamondbacks. Seems reasonable to me. The Diamondbacks lost 92 games last year, after at least one numbskull (hint: sportswriter from San Diego) picked them to win the National League West. Almost none of the folks calling the shots in Phoenix had anything do with Arizona winning the World Series in 2001. As for the club's promising youth movement of recent years, that owed a lot to scouting director Mike Rizzo, who left the franchise in July 2006.

Moorad used to work for the Diamondbacks. Commissioner Bud Selig, when he isn't frowning about other stuff, frowns on one club raiding another club's staff, so that may prevent Moorad from hiring a Diamondbacks official to become GM.

It's obvious that Moorad thinks highly of Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes, the former Red Sox assistant GM that he hired him into the job. Moorad gave Byrnes a contract whose length -- eight years -- made every other GM green with envy. Bright green. Would Moorad attempt to hire Byrnes again? Not if either Selig or Arizona's managing partner, Ken Kendrick, would raise a stink.

Remember, without Selig's help, Moorad would not be a minority owner of the Padres.

Just for kicks, let's talk about someone else who works for the Diamondbacks and used to work for Moorad. No, not Jerry DiPoto -- who's been linked to GM openings in the past -- or Peter Woodfork.

Rather, A.J. Hinch, the team's manager.

The obstacles to Moorad hiring someone from the Diamondbacks might make Hinch irrelevant to the GM search. Moorad might have someone else in mind, anyway.

So, let's be clear: I'm not implying that Moorad will hire Hinch as his GM.

But if mutual respect and compatibility alone were the deciding factors, I believe that Hinch would be either among the top candidates or the top candidate, presumably alongside Byrnes. As for the "raiding" obstacle, an American League official suggested to me last week that if Moorad really wanted Byrnes, Hinch or DiPoto, he and the Diamondbacks could try to work out some sort of compensation.

For what it's worth, Brynes seems to really like Hinch. In May, he moved Hinch from the farm director post into the manager's job, then extended his contract through 2012. It was an odd move because Hinch hadn't managed at any level.

The early returns were awful. Not that Hinch was largely to blame. The team stunk, period. But Hinch was learning on the job, and the perception among some Diamondbacks players was that Hinch was a puppet of Byrnes.

I had a theory about why Byrnes empowered Hinch to the extent that he did -- it had the side effect of being a preemptive strike, sending Moorad the message that Hinch was off limits.

I ran that theory by Hinch in June, and he chuckled.

"I'm flattered by that theory," Hinch said before a game at Petco Park. He smiled and added: "Not that I give it any credence."

I asked him about Moorad.

"I've known Jeff for 15 years," Hinch said in June. "He has a tremendous baseball mind, both on the business side and the baseball side. I'm happy for Jeff to get this type of opportunity with the Padres. It's good for our league. I have a lot of respect and admiration for Jeff and the way he's built his fingerprint in this game. Now, I'm going to try to do everything I can to make his life miserable over the next four years."

In the same chat, Hinch also praised Moorad's "vision," his ability to "see the big picture," his "patience" and his "heart."

Does Moorad hold Hinch in similar regard? I've been told that he does.

Will Moorad try to hire him? I haven't the slightest clue.


  1. Kras could you shoot me an e-mail I have a question.

  2. I don’t understand why names from the Twins or Marlins organizations never come up. While the Bosox and Yankees are clearly successful, we aren’t in their payroll league and we should be emulating Minn and Fla. Both teams draft, trade for and develop young, inexpensive players well. Shouldn’t the Padres be modeling their farm system after Minn, known for producing baseball savvy, fundamentally sound players at bargain prices?

  3. SDFanInPasadena;
    I understand your point, but the Yankees and Red Sox have been very successful drafting and developing young talent as well.
    Despite all their FA signings, the Yankees in the past decade have also fielded Jeter, Rivera, Pettite, Posada, Bernie Williams,Robinson Cano, Chamberlain etc.
    That is all home grown talent. The Padres haven't come anywhere close to matching that.