Fri Jul 02 10:22am EDT
On the morning after the purge, I don't need to tell you what a boneheaded move the Arizona Diamondbacks made by firing general manager Josh Byrnes and manager A.J. Hinch on Thursday night.
After all, our own Jeff Passan has already sliced and diced the snakes for their "organizational stupidity." The Twitter feed of ESPN's Buster Olney is a constant stream of other front-office types saying the D'Backs just stepped in it. Dave Cameron of Fangraphs correctly deemed it "a massive overreaction" to a disappointing year.
So, yeah, my voice would just be another noise in the chorus of desert dissent.
And yet I fully feel compelled to chime in given that one of MLB's 30 franchises just tore the sail off its boat and threw a worthy captain overboard. You usually don't rid yourself of the man who is respected for his ability throughout the game and gives you the best chance of getting through the storm that is coming up ahead.
But that's what the D'Backs did here. With the trade deadline looming at the end of the month and the team possessing some coveted pieces (Dan Haren(notes), Kelly Johnson(notes), Adam LaRoche(notes)), Arizona just jettisoned the guy who has already been working to spin them into a better future for the team. Whoops.
That Byrnes' contract was scheduled to run through 2015 and gave him a piece of the team also doesn't bode well for a team that isn't exactly swimming in cash, either. His dismissal may (or may not) have come as a result of his refusal to tell Hinch he was fired, but the D'Backs execs should have stepped back and weighed whether the collateral damage was worth making some kind of statement to fans during an already lost season.
And since they apparently declined to do that, I'll tell them right here: No, it was not. The D'Backs' refusal to admit what they are — a young team with a good core of club-friendly contracts that fell into a lot of recent misfortune with injury and Eric Byrnes(notes) forgetting how to play baseball — just damaged their organizational rudder, perhaps for a decade or more.
(To be fair, Byrnes did have a few missteps. But Carlos Quentin(notes), as some might have you believe, is not the next Manny Ramirez(notes). And it's not Byrnes' fault that the Haren acquisition occurred just as Brandon Webb's(notes) arm became one of baseball's sad tales. As for Eric Byrnes, it's unclear which person in the organization pushed hardest for that signing.)
Byrnes, of course, will be just fine. His unemployment checks from the D'Backs are going to cash quite nicely and he'll be in another GM spot in no time. (Please let it be with the Cubs.) He'll probably find a good job for Hinch, too.
The D'Backs on the other hand? Well, good luck to them with what's ahead.