“You gave us a manager who had never even coached? You left us with a bullpen that is historically, laughably bad?” Those are the questions the Arizona Republic’s Dan Bickley imagines the Diamondbacks asking General Manager Josh Byrnes (above), he of the 8-year contract and deteriorating relationship with those in uniform. While hailing Byrnes as “a baseball savant”, Bickley submits it’s time for the 23-36 Snakes to give up on 2010 by acting on the following suggestions (link courtesy Repoz and Baseball Think Factory) :
A general manager is responsible for the whole meal, including the dessert tray. In recent years, he has endured costly lessons about bullpen economics. He is continually mocked by Eric Byrnes, who is happily playing beer-league softball while cashing Diamondbacks checks. His vision to sign young players to wealthy contract extensions might have actually backfired, robbing those players of grit and ambition. And he set himself up for all of this scrutiny when he handed the team to his right-hand man, the one with no experience.
Byrnes’ essential point in promoting the energetic, intelligent, affable Hinch – managers don’t matter all that much once the game begins – is basically true. Yet thanks to Byrnes’ perceived arrogance, Hinch never had a chance.
Here’s the most-sensible solution: Instruct Byrnes to gut the team; allow Hinch to finish the season in quiet dignity; keep Byrnes as GM, but shift his responsibilities moving forward and keep him out of the manager’s way; and then bring in a dynamic personality who can work the room, galvanize the fan base and pull a team out of the abyss when necessary. Such as Bobby Valentine, or the person currently sitting in the team’s color-analyst chair.