The firing of Josh Byrnes ends a period of unprecedented GM job security. Did he deserve to get the axe?
In March, I wrote about the unprecedented job security major-league general managers have enjoyed over the previous two-plus years. Led by the long-tenured Brian Sabean, Billy Beane, Brian Cashman, and Dan O’Dowd (who was forced to share the throne but hasn’t been relieved of his duties), GMs have seen their occupation, historically a high-turnover one in which on-field success was the only sure route to remaining employed, morph into one that comes standard with the owner’s commitment to stay the course, even if it means suffering through some lean times. Accordingly, I dubbed the new strain of nearly unemployment-proof GMs the “Duracell GM Generation”—a cohort of front-office head honchos who last.
On Sunday, Josh Byrnes’ battery died. Byrnes, the Padres’ GM since October 26, 2011, became the first GM fired since the Astros axed Ed Wade on November 27, 2011. That’s a streak of 938 firing-free days—by far the longest such streak over at least the last four decades, even though baseball’s expansion to 30 teams has created more opportunities for a change to take place.
With word that Jed Hoyer will be joining Theo Epstein in Chicago, the Padres have a familiar face sliding into the GM chair.
With Padres GM Jed Hoyer headed to the Cubs in the same capacity under former boss Theo Epstein, another Epstein protégé, Josh Byrnes, takes over in San Diego. Although Hoyer's tenure didn't last as long as anyone expected, he made a few key moves that will help shape the course of the franchise.
Stephen Strasburg is too focused to enjoy the limelight, along with other notes from around the majors.
CLEVELAND – Deep down, Stephen Strasburg had to enjoy the past week. He made a dazzling major-league debut with the Nationals, then won his second start as well while becoming the talk of baseball. The 21-year-old right-hander even read the Top 10 list on Late Night with David Letterman.
The Diamondbacks manager talks about his unorthodox path to managing, playing defense in a hitter's park, and where he'll be ten years from now.
A.J. Hinch isn't your typical big-league manager, but he just might be the perfect fit for an information-driven Diamondbacks organization. Named to the position last May, the 35-year-old Stanford product is well schooled in not only statistical analysis, but also the ins and outs of the D'backs' system, having served as the club's farm director prior to assuming his current role. Hinch talked about his first season on the bench, and the vision he shares with GM Josh Byrnes and the rest of the front office, during MLB's Winter Meetings last month.
The wages of irrational exuberance come at heavy cost if you get too worked up over present performance.
On July 30, 2005, the Colorado Rockies traded Eric Byrnes to the Baltimore Orioles straight up for Larry Bigbie. This was just three weeks after trading the late Joe Kennedy for Byrnes, who was terrible in the black and purple, hitting just .189/.283/.226 in 15 games. Bigbie had fewer than 100 plate appearances left in his career, and at the time was a 27-year-old whose career was in full reverse two seasons past a career-best 821 OPS. It was a trade of disappointment for disappointment, both teams hoping that the new guy would give them what their current one didn't.
Names you should know, whether you're a Mariners fan or simply curious about who the head honchos of tomorrow might be.
In a post-Moneyball world, a new generation of baseball minds have ascended to the top of their teams. While initial returns have been mixed-Paul DePodesta was forced out of Los Angeles after a perfect storm of weak ownership and a hostile local media conspired against him-the trend is still running strong. That's because like most sports baseball is a game that thrives on imitation; if you win, someone will try to copy your success or at least steal someone that knows the formula. Josh Byrnes got a shot in Arizona because the Red Sox won, even if the second Sox title didn't start a run on the next Sox assistant.
It's time to take a look at the names you'll be hearing next year. While some of these are people who have already been interviewed for positions and might already be on your radar, some of them aren't. I've also taken some of the more easily-anticipated names off of the list. For example, any time there's an opening, Chris Antonetti's name has come up, and for good reason, but after turning down several job offers, Antonetti seems locked in with the Indians, and essentially removes himself from our list, though his name's going to keep coming up whenever a GM job does become available. I also removed former general managers from this list, even though that means keeping well-qualified people like DePodesta off; as with Antonetti, DePodesta will be in circulation as a candidate. This choice also keeps people like Gord Ash, Gerry Hunsicker, or even Pat Gillick off of my list. That's because what I would like to do here is add some names to your mental list. Inside baseball, these guys are known and known well; it's time you did too.