The Arizona Diamondbacks have lost 23 times this season. At this point, they'll be lucky to scratch their way back to .500 -- which has been something of a regularity in Arizona during general manager Kevin Towers' tenure with the team.
The Diamondbacks went 81-81 in 2012, and 81-81 in 2013.
This year, team ownership allowed Towers to boost the payroll to a franchise-record $111 million to get over the hump. If that happens this season, it'll be nothing short of a miracle. Over the last several years, a handful of teams have bounced back from rough starts to make the postseason, but to call the Diamondbacks' start this year "rough" would be an understatement. They are 11-23 after losing to the Padres on a walk-off single by Yonder Alonso on Sunday, meaning they would have to sweep the Brewers (21-11), White Sox (15-17), Nationals (17-14), and Dodgers (18-14) in their next four series just to get back to .500.
Towers knows his job is on the line. He spoke with MLB.com's Barry M. Bloom about his club's disappointing start.
"We all thought that with our payroll we had a good chance. And we got off to a horrible start and he's probably scratching his head. 'Do I have the right manager? Do I have the right general manager? Is this really what we have? Is this really who we are?' I guess if he believes that we're terrible and we stink and we're bad, then we're probably in trouble. If he believes it's a blip …"
This will be Towers' fourth year in Arizona. The results have been disappointing since taking over Josh Byrnes' -- now San Diego's GM -- roster and winning the division in 2011. Two years of breaking even and what might be a last-place finish this year could be enough for the organization to move on.
There are a few bright spots on the roster, like possible NL Rookie of the Year candidate Chris Owings and eventual call-up Archie Bradley, but even if Towers put together a roster better than the '55 Dodgers, he'd have to get results on the field.
If Arizona's decision makers -- most notably team president Derrick Hall and managing partner Ken Kendrick -- decide to start 2015 with a new general manager, that person will have several useful building blocks with which to start. Owings, Bradley, Paul Goldschmidt, Gerardo Parra and Patrick Corbin form a nice core, but like Towers, the next Diamondbacks GM will have to win in the competitive NL West to earn the job security that his or her predecessor seems to lack.