Best Sports Strategist Phoenix 2013 - Kevin Towers, Arizona Diamondbacks
Everybody thought he was crazy (and not in a good way) when he traded slugger Justin Upton to the Atlanta Braves for utility man Martin Prado, pitcher Randall Delgado, and a few tidbits. Towers' thinking was that the Diamondbacks could only contend big-time as a scrappy-ass team, and Prado, who can play almost any position (and has, this season) was better for manager Kirk Gibson's boys of summer than the can't-hit-when-it-counts Upton. And though we had our doubts about general manager Towers at the beginning of the season when Upton was tearing it up for Atlanta, we don't now. J-Up virtually has disappeared into the mediocrity he showed in the clutch here. Truthfully, Prado hasn't hit to his potential — it's been his second-worst season, batting-average-wise, in a long time — but he's on the, um, upswing. And he's saved countless runs with his gangbuster defense. He may well be the better offensive player by the end of the season. Towers still has work to do with his pitchers. Injuries and kismet have effed him somewhat in that department, though his getting rid of mediocre Ian Kennedy for a solid relief pitcher (and change) has helped. As usual, Towers is figuring it out. Arizona's lucky to have a premier baseball strategist at the helm.