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Kevin Towers on his way out with Padres?

October 2, 2009 |  5:13 pm

Towers Sunday could be the final game day for Kevin Towers as general manager of the San Diego Padres. John Moores bought the Padres in 1994 and installed Towers as his general manager the next year, but Jeff Moorad took over the team this season.

Moorad has extended the contract of Manager Bud Black but has promised nothing to Towers. One club insider said he thought the chances of Moorad retaining Towers were no better than 50-50.

Moorad, who previously ran the Diamondbacks, could consider importing one of two highly regarded Arizona assistants, Jerry DiPoto or Peter Woodfork.

The two longest-tenured general managers are Towers and Brian Sabean, hired by the San Francisco Giants in 1996. Sabean, who also worked under new management this season, is expected to return.

The Giants finally emerged from beneath the wreckage of the “Win One for Barry Bonds” era, posting their first winning season in five years behind the homegrown arms of Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, both first-round draft picks. Pitcher Madison Bumgarner and catcher Buster Posey, top picks in 2007 and ’08 and stars in waiting, arrived in San Francisco in September.

The Padres’ financial limitations have extended beyond free agency to the draft, most notably when Moores passed on Jered Weaver in 2004 in favor of the more affordable Matt Bush, who washed out of pro ball in three years. Weaver, a fly-ball pitcher, would have dominated in Petco Park.

Towers is an adept trader — acquiring Adrian Gonzalez and Chris Young for Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka was grand theft — and no one builds better bullpens on the cheap. He got seven pitchers this season for Jake Peavy and Scott Hairston, and he made $56 million disappear by trading Peavy while he was on the disabled list.

But none of the Padres’ top picks under Towers has developed into an All-Star, and only disappointing infielders Sean Burroughs and Khalil Greene have gotten more than a cup of coffee. Moorad isn’t about to spend lavishly in free agency, so the Padres will have to do better in the draft. Much better.

-- Bill Shaikin

Photo: San Diego Padres general manager Kevin Towers in 2003. Credit: Lenny Ignelzi / Associated Press