The Padres, under new CEO Jeff Moorad, are considering an organizational shakeup that could include replacing Kevin Towers, baseball's longest tenured general manager, according to sources in San Diego.
The decision has not been made, according to Moorad.
“We're continuing our evaluation and assessment of multiple parts of the organization, baseball included,” Moorad said in an email. “At this point, Kevin is our general manager, and is under contract through the 2010 season.”
Asked Thursday if he were leaving the job – pushed or otherwise – Towers texted, “Not my decision. Can't give you an answer on what will happen after the season.”
Towers has run the Padres' baseball operations since 1996. In January 2008 he and the Padres agreed to extend his contract two years, through 2010. Since winning the NL West in 2005 and 2006, the Padres have not returned to the playoffs. They finished in last place in '08 and, working against financial constraints caused by owner John Moores' divorce, the club's sale to Moorad and a payroll cut by $30 million, have not contended this season.
Economics forced Towers to shop staff ace Jake Peavy(notes) through the winter, eventually dealing him to the Chicago White Sox in the final minutes before the summer trading deadline. The Towers regime has taken heat for its poor drafts, a fact partly due to ownership's refusal to pay top-end bonuses for the best players.
Still, Towers has been upbeat lately, saying the Padres could contend as early as next season.
“I think we have the opportunity to go from 70 wins to above .500 and contending for a playoff spot next season,” he told reporters.
The Padres are 38-33 since the All-Star break, including a two-game sweep of the Dodgers this week. Only the Rockies have been better in the division in the same span.
If Moorad chose to replace Towers, he could consider as a replacement scouting and player development director Grady Fuson. Paul DePodesta, for two years the GM of the Dodgers, is an executive vice president for the team. Jeff Kingston, an assistant GM, was hired recently by the Mariners as an assistant to GM Jack Zduriencik.
Moorad earlier this season extended field manager Bud Black's contract through 2010.