Towers came to the desert with the reputation of being able to build effective bullpens, identify young pitching and make gutsy trades. It was hoped that Towers could take Arizona to the next level.
Unfortunately, the results on-and-off the field haven't matched up to Towers' reputation. In his quest to put his stamp on the D'Backs, Towers has failed to improve the overall talent level of the team. Arizona wasted a golden opportunity earlier this season by not putting the Los Angeles Dodgers away when the they had the chance, allowing L.A. to remain in the hunt.
The Dodgers have managed to turn a 9.5 game deficit on June 22nd to a 9.5 game lead over the D'Backs after Sunday night. A 19-game turnaround in two months is remarkable.
The D'backs have exactly two impact stars on their roster: Paul Goldschmidt and Patrick Corbin. Neither player was acquired by Towers. In comparison, the Dodgers look loaded from top to bottom. Certainly the Dodgers have more money at their disposal, but the D'Backs have spent their money poorly, making it difficult to close the talent gap.
Looking at the D'Backs payroll for next season, Arizona has already committed $80 million to 12 players. Given that the payroll this season is at $86 million, it looks like there will be very little room for upgrading the roster this winter unless the D'Backs get very creative.
When the D'Backs have had assets to trade, like Justin Upton or Trevor Bauer, Towers devalued his assets by making it very clear that the organization had soured on the players. Not the best way to get top value.
The return for both players was less than it should have been, but it's not the worst move that Towers has made. That distinction goes to the terrible Jarrod Parker for Trevor Cahill swap. That trade is exactly the type of move that Towers cannot make again.
This past offseason, Arizona seemed to make moves based on what Towers wanted, not based on what the team needed. Cody Ross's signing marginalized Jason Kubel, a player who had hit 30 home runs and knocked in 90 runs last season. The signing made a murky outfield picture even cloudier.
Trading Bauer was an acknowledgement of a big mistake by the D'Backs. Having to trade the third overall pick of the 2011 draft less than 18 months after making that pick is a mistake that the D'Backs simply can't afford to make. The fact that Bauer was traded for shortstop prospect Didi Gregorius when the team already has Chris Owings in the minors makes the move even harder to understand. Owings currently ranks as the number three prospect in the D'Backs system.
Towers faces a lot of challenges to turn the D'Backs around this winter with limited payroll flexibility. He will need to learn from his mistakes and make the necessary adjustments to show that he is up to the task.