-- The Arizona Diamondbacks have started the search for a general manager after removing Kevin Towers from the position, the team announced Friday.
"Over the past three months, I have had the opportunity to evaluate all aspects of our baseball operations and have decided to restructure our staff in order to improve our decision-making process," Tony La Russa, who was hired earlier this season as the team's chief baseball officer, said in a statement. "I have the utmost respect for Kevin and a friendship with him that dates back many years which has allowed me to appreciate his talents and experience."
According to the Diamondbacks, Towers has been offered another position in the front office and is evaluating the opportunity.
"I believe his skills fit well within the framework of what we are building," La Russa said. "Understandably, he would like to see who the general manager is before making his own decision.
"We are extremely grateful for all that he has done for the D-backs during his four-plus years here, particularly given that he has always put the organization ahead of his own self-interests. That tells you all you need to know about him as a person."
The Diamondbacks, after an 8-22 start to the season despite having the highest payroll in team history, are 59-81 and 19 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West entering Friday.
Towers quickly found success after joining the Diamondbacks late in the 2010 season, as the team won the NL West title in 2011 with a 94-68 record. That changed, however, as Arizona sputtered to consecutive 81-81 seasons the next two years.
Speculation had swirled over Towers' status since the Diamondbacks hired La Russa, a Hall of Famer who ranks third behind Connie Mack and John McGraw with 2,728 career managerial wins.
Before joining the Diamondbacks, Towers served as GM of the San Diego Padres from 1995 to 2009.