The Arizona Diamondbacks appear to be nearing a decision on who their new general manager will be, as USA Today's Bob Nightengale reports that the club plans to announce their choice on Thursday. Per Nightengale, former major league pitcher Dave Stewart is the heavy favorite to land the job, though Dodgers' executive DeJon Watson is still in the running.
The Diamondbacks also plan on promoting scouting director Ray Montgomery, who was under consideration for the GM opening, but is not among the final candidates. It is unclear what position he will be taking.
In a bit of an interesting scenario, Nightengale adds that the club could wind up naming Stewart the GM, with Watson serving as assistant GM, and former GM Kevin Towers remaining in the organization in some capacity.
It would not be far-fetched to see Dave Stewart as #Dbacks GM,Dejon Watson as assistant GM, Ray Montgomery promoted,and Kevin Towers staying— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) September 22, 2014
The Diamondbacks completed their interview process Friday, and as CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports, Stewart, Watson, and Red Sox executive Allard Baird are among the finalists. Stewart, a former major league All-Star who fronted Tony La Russa's (currently serving as Arizona's chief baseball officer) Athletics staffs of the late 1980's and early 1990's, has long been considered to be the favorite due to his close ties with La Russa. In addition to being a former player, Stewart has also served as a coach and front office member. He is currently an agent, representing clients such as Matt Kemp, Chris Carter, and Chad Billingsley.
Watson currently serves as Los Angeles' Vice President of Player Development, as well as playing an advisory role to GM Ned Colletti. Along with Vice President of Amateur Scouting Logan White, Watson has helped bolster a Dodgers' farm system that has churned out stars such as Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp during his tenure. Baird once ran the Royals from 2000-2006 before being replaced by Dayton Moore. He has played a major role in the Red Sox's front office in recent years.
Cardinals' farm director Gary LaRocque was also thought to be a candidate for Arizona's GM job, though it was announced earlier today that he would remain in St. Louis.
The Diamondbacks fired Kevin Towers from his position earlier this month, though they reportedly have offered him a job to remain with the organization. Over the past three years, Arizona's on-field performance has cratered, going from 94 wins in 2011 to just 62 (so far) this season. He also made plenty of questionable moves during his Diamondbacks tenure, including the deal that sent franchise cornerstone Justin Upton to the Atlanta Braves for a lackluster return, as well as last offseason's three-team trade with the Angels and White Sox that led to Arizona giving up Tyler Skaggs and Adam Eaton to acquire Mark Trumbo.
In addition to turnover in the front office, the Diamondbacks may be facing a managerial change this offseason, as the organization plans on determining Kirk Gibson's fate following the season. Due to the club's terrible performance this season, Nightengale believes that "a change appears likely."