(AP) — Kevin Towers and Kirk Gibson helped engineer a quick turnaround in the desert, and the Arizona Diamondbacks are hoping the two will stick around for a while.
Towers and Gibson each had their contracts extended three years, through at least 2014. There also are mutual options for two more years for the general manager and manager that must be exercised by 2013, but also could be triggered by performance incentives.
"I am so proud of Kevin and Kirk and the direction they have taken our ballclub in a short time span," Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall said Friday. "They are both on the same page and the work dynamic is magical. It is my opinion that their performances this past season warranted a reward."
The Diamondbacks had been a tailspin, losing 97 and 92 games the previous two seasons, before turning it around quickly this year.
One of the surprise teams in baseball, Arizona won 94 games and the NL West title for the first time since 2007 with a roster rebuilt by Towers and guided by the always-prepared Gibson.
Towers, who had a long, successful run in San Diego, was hired late last season to replace Jerry Dipoto, who had been named interim general manager when Josh Byrnes was fired in July. Towers' first move was to retain Gibson, the fiery former player who was elevated to manager when A.J. Hinch was fired the same day as Byrnes.
Towers then spent the offseason retooling Arizona's roster, beefing up a bullpen that had been one of the worst in baseball and adding more contact hitters to a team set the major league record in strikeouts the season before.
He also brought in a group of seasoned veterans such as J.J. Putz and Willie Bloomquist who provided a steady example for the other young-but-talented players on the roster.
Gibson's job was to get those veterans and youngsters to mesh, which he did with a combination of intensity and organization.
A gritty player who won World Series titles with the Tigers and Dodgers, Gibson proved to be a great motivator and kept his players ready to play every day by not posting the lineups until the day of the game. The approach worked to near perfection as the Diamondbacks seemed to have a different player come through with the big hit or big play almost every night.
Gibson also got the players to pay close attention to details from the first day of spring training, which helped them down the stretch after a big run in May sent them to the top of the division standings.
Arizona ended up losing to Milwaukee in five games in the NL division series, but it was a big step for a franchise that had been down for so long.
"I'll tell you what, it's a great group of guys," Towers said after the Diamondbacks were eliminated by the Brewers. "We talked about there's always next year and next year will be better. I don't know how it could be better."