Last week, a really wonderful piece on [Tony] La Russa was published at Sports On Earth, written by John Perrotto… one little nugget, pertaining to owner Ken Kendrick, in Perrotto’s work stood out in particular:
some in the Diamondbacks’ front office believe Kendrick gets too involved in the baseball end of the operation.
Two sources — one currently in the organization and one now working for another club — confirmed that it was Kendrick who told Towers to sign outfielder Cody Ross and right-hander Brandon McCarthy as free agents during the 2012-13 offseason against the objections of the baseball operations department.
... [Kendrick] slammed both Stephen Drew and Justin Upton in the media a few years back in what can only be described as poor PR and presumably lowered his bargaining power on the open market when trying to deal the two players… He later publicly declared that Trevor Bauer needed to “grow up” and that probably wasn’t the best use of the airwaves, either. His employees have noticed this detrimental behavior, as my personal sources inside the organization can confirm the off-the-cuff nature of Kendrics and his unprofessionalism at times…
this does impact my view of Kevin Towers… If he’s had to make transactions to appease ownership rather than managing the organization as he sees fit, being micro-managed to some degree, then we don’t really know how to evaluate him…
since La Russa’s hiring in May, we haven’t heard much from owner Ken Kendricks. And maybe that’s the takeaway: La Russa has served as the bridge between Kendrick and Towers, presumably working with Kevin to make smart baseball decisions while assuring ownership of the work that’s being done. There’s no doubt that Kendrick respects and values La Russa’s knowledge and experience, likely more so than Towers’. The hands-on management hasn’t done the Diamondbacks any favors, and if La Russa can insulate the baseball operations from ownership, the organization might prove to be moving in a better, more level-headed direction.
How the rest of it plays out is yet to be seen, but if La Russa can keep Kendrick from meddling in player transactions, then I’d say it’s a hire well worth making. We’ve already seen the alternative, and that’s something that can’t continue.
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