It's not often that an organization touts a pair of .500 seasons when giving extensions to its manager and general manager, but that's exactly what the Arizona Diamondbacks did.
Kirk Gibson and Kevin Towers were about to head into the 2014 on the last year of their contracts after the club declined options for both following last season. The duo had signed those deals after the Diamondbacks improbably went 94-68 and won the NL West in 2011, one year after finishing 65-97. Gibson won NL Manager of the Year for the turnaround.
Arizona lost an entertaining NLDS to the Brewers that year, and since then has posted identical 81-81 records in 2012 and 2013. Gibson carries a career record of 290-279 in the desert when you factor in the 34-49 record the 2010 D'backs posted while he was interim manager. Towers has traded away Justin Upton, Kelly Johnson, Jarrod Parker, Adam Eaton and Tyler Skaggs in that time, focusing on adding players who show things like grit and fire and a willingness to throw punches at the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Towers and Gibson have made more headlines in the past couple years for things like that — remember when Towers called for his pitchers to hit more batters? — than actually winning games, but received extensions nonetheless. The team didn't announce any terms to the deal, meaning ownership probably expects better than .500 and the duo could still be in trouble with another disappointing year, but at least they avoid lame duck status for this season.
With the Dodgers printing money and the Giants looking to rebound, the NL West doesn't figure to be a very easy division, and the NL wildcard picture is a crowded one. The addition of Mark Trumbo gives the 2014 Diamondbacks more pop, but they'll have to figure out how to win away from Chase Field and hope for a stronger bullpen if they're going to make a playoff push. But hey, at least an average manager and a GM who's made it a point to sell low on his best players will avoid lame-duck status for another season.