With just three days remaining before Arizona Diamondbacks pitchers and catchers officially report to spring training, the team made a huge statement by extending the contracts of manager Kirk Gibson and general manager Kevin Towers beyond the 2014 MLB season.
The Diamondbacks' official Twitter account reported the news Monday, Feb. 3:
Steve Gilbert, the team's beat writer for MLB.com, provided a quote from the organization's president and CEO Derrick Hall:
Over the past couple months, Ken Kendrick and I have had continued conversations about extending both Gibby and KT’s contracts and we are pleased to have come to an agreement. We continue to be impressed by their loyalty, dedication, work ethic and track record of success during their big league careers and are glad that their contract status will not be a distraction as we open up Spring Training this week.
This announcement comes nearly two months after Towers told Jim Bowden of ESPN that he wasn't sure about his or Gibson's job security:
Kevin Towers told us that he and Kirk Gibson are both on the "hot seat" neither one had their options picked up after last year #DBacks— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) December 18, 2013
While the exact length and financial terms have not yet been released by Arizona, it does provide a little clarity for the team's players heading into offseason workouts.
Diamondbacks managing general partner Ken Kendrick offered a little more insight on the situation and where the D-backs stand with Gibson and Towers, according to Gilbert:
I think we have good leadership starting with Derrick and in the front office and on the field with K.T. and Gibby. I’m comfortable with those guys. I think it’s important for them to go out and prove themselves once again. I hope and believe they’re going to be long-term Diamondback people.
Along with Hall and Kendrick's comments about the extensions, Bowden offered his congratulations on the new deals:
Gibson started his tenure with the D-Backs with a bang after winning the 2011 NL Manager of the Year award, but it hasn't been smooth sailing since.
Should the D-Backs have extended Gibson and Towers?
After making a few questionable trades and losing star outfielder Justin Upton through free agency, the Diamondbacks finished at 81-81 last season and trailed the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West by 11 games to close the year.
Towers was worried for his job mainly due to the fact that he has shown faith in Gibson and the team has fallen short of the playoffs consistently. But if a few of his recent decisions pay off, like adding Mark Trumbo to the lineup and slowly grooming players like Patrick Corbin and Paul Goldschmidt, the franchise will be rewarded for its loyalty with more wins on the field in 2014.
The move benefits the team heading into spring training, as it keeps some consistency in the clubhouse. But with the Dodgers bringing back nearly their entire roster from last season's division-title winning squad, it's still going to be tough sledding to make the playoffs without going through the Wild Card Game.
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