Padres general manager Kevin Towers has been fired, multiple media outlets reported Friday night.

An official announcement is expected Saturday.

New owner Jeff Moorad certainly has the right to pick whom he wants to make baseball decisions for the organization but the timing of this move is odd.

Towers did the Padres’ dirty work this season as the penny-pinching organization wanted ace pitcher Jake Peavy’s contract moved. Only time will tell whether the four pitchers acquired for Peavy will make the move a good one, but getting that many players for Peavy was impressive based on the Padres tipping their hands in the offseason that they were going to move the 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner.

They also played superb baseball over the final two months of the season with the players Towers plucked out of the scrap heap to build a roster under dire circumstances. Scoring shortstop Everth Cabrera out of the Rule 5 draft last winter may turn out to be one of Towers’ top moves.

When you analyze the 2009 season objectively, Towers actually did a good job and was deserving of returning for the final season of his contract.

The time Towers probably deserved to be fired was after last season, not this one. He had a poor offseason following the 2007 campaign and the results showed on the field in 2008 when the Padres went 63-99. The Padres are 74-86 with two games left this season — much better than the 100-loss season many baseball experts predicted.

But now he’s gone and one of the top baseball writers in the nation thinks Towers is lucky to leave the Padres organization, well-known for cheapness and internal strife in baseball circles. (

Of course, Towers made his share of dumb trades over the years but he’s also the same guy who fleeced Texas for All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (pitcher Chris Young was acquired in the same trade).

But Towers will soon be checking the baseball want-ads for another GM opportunity after 14 seasons with the Padres. He ran a team longer than most executives get to and made many key moves that fueled the Padres’ 1998 World Series squad. But since owner John Moores’ commitment to winning ran hot-and-cold (mostly cold)  he was often handcuffed in the type of players he could pursue.

Towers will get another GM job at some point and it will be interesting to see if he lands with a big-market team with more payroll flexibility or winds up with another penny-pinching organization.

Word of Towers’ firing ironically arose on the same night in which Peavy — who actually looks good in Chicago White Sox gear — pitched eight shutout innings to keep the Detroit Tigers from clinching the AL Central title. Shortly afterwards, I heard Peavy say during a radio interview that he isn’t operating at optimum levels regarding arm strength and location. In his three starts with the Sox since returning from an injury, he’s 3-0 with a 1.35 earned-run average.

He also expressed excitement over now being with an organization that wants to win and is eagerly looking forward to the 2010 season.

Meanwhile, the Padres will be bringing in a new GM and one of the questions he needs to ask himself is this: Are the Padres committed to winning?

Too often, the answer is a resounding no.


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