Josh Byrnes, A.J. Hinch Fired

When the Diamondbacks extended Josh Byrnes’ contract in February of 2008 through 2015 and included a small stake of team ownership, they probably didn’t envision firing him just two and a half years into the deal. Yet, per Bob Nightengale, that’s the case, as both Bynes and manager A.J. Hinch were axed.

Arizona is only 31-48, good for last place in the National League West, but they could be so much better without one of the worst bullpens in recent memory. Byrnes is responsible for assembling the unit, and boy, are they ever bad; collectively they hold a WPA of -7.45. That’s nearly five wins worse than the Milwaukee Brewers at -2.91. The 2007 Devil Rays set all kinds of notorious records and their bullpen’s WPA was -7.83.

Byrnes is also responsible for a number of good things, too. Like, acquiring Dan Haren, Adam Dunn, and Jon Rauch — as well as signing Kelly Johnson and Adam LaRoche. He’s also the guy who traded Carlos Quentin away and signed Eric Byrnes to an iffy extension, so not all he touched turned to gold. Prior to becoming the D-Backs’ general manager he worked within some mighty fine front offices, including Boston and Cleveland; and coincidentally Byrnes just finished second in Buster Olney’s polling of executives when asked what GM they would want to hire, with the notable quotable being:

Josh Byrnes, Diamondbacks (2) “I think he’s smart as hell, he’s well thought-out, and he’s a good person.”

Well, there’s some good news for that quoted general manager: he can now keep his job and have Byrnes in his front office.

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24 Responses to “Josh Byrnes, A.J. Hinch Fired”

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  1. dwils says:

    The then owner went over Byrnes’s head for the Eric Byrnes extension. That idea was universally hated, but ownership was enamored with his one good season and eccentric personality.

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  2. Gina says:

    And yet Omar Minaya, Brian Sabean, Ned Colletti, Ed Wade, and Dayton Moore still have their jobs.

    there’s no justice in the world.

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  3. Zack says:

    “he’s also the guy who traded Carlos Quentin”

    What has Quentin done since his 1 good year? -0.4 and -0.5 WAR
    Not to mention he was coming off a torn labrum and rotator cuff when they traded him.

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  4. The Tom says:

    Acquiring Haren is a point in his favor, but trading Quentin is a black mark? how about giving up Chris Carter, Brett Anderson, Aaron Cunningham, Dana Eveland, Carlos Gonzalez and Greg Smith to get Haren?

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  5. I hope the Red Sox bring him back. There are lots of teams that could do better by hiring Josh Byrnes.

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  6. Marc says:

    The Haren trade could haunt the organization in the long run. They unloaded the entire system to get him.

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  7. Billy Beane says:

    I straight RAPED the Byrnes kid in that Haren deal. MWAHAHAHAHAHHA

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    • Zack says:

      But remember, the trade wasn’t for Haren during his last year of arbitration or something, he was under contract for 4m, 5.5m, and 6.75m club option.
      So it wasn’t going to be a 1 top prospect + 1 ‘B’ prospect like CC or Lee’s asking price.

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      • The Tom says:

        Haren was a nice pitcher when they traded for him, but was not a top 5 pitcher in baseball. Anytime you trade two Major league ready prospects(Smith, Eveland) three Top 25 types(Cargo, Anderson, and Carter) and an OF with 20/20 potential Cunningham all with years of team control left you are making a huge gamble, one that IMO he lost.

        JB is very good GM one that the Mets, Royals, Cubs, Astros, and at least 5-6 other teams would be wise to take a long look at as he is a huge upgrade over several current GMs.

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      • Valuearb says:

        Haren was ranked top 5 and 10 his first two years with DBacks, by FanGraphs.

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    • Jdub says:

      Most thought the trade was good for the Dbacks at the time. And you don’t get to make moves with the benefit of hindsight. It was a win-now move and they failed to win, that’s the ONLY reason why it was a poor trade.

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  8. kokushishin says:

    Injuries and bad luck is a cliche but it’s true. Webb’s shoulder is the biggie, but the pen has lost several warm bodies and Montero missed a chunk of time.

    It’s especially maddening because JB’s moves as far as the rotation and right side of the infield have worked. Even Heilman has been a small positive in an otherwise dreadful pen.

    Still, it seems the “grit and fire” contingent has won out.

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  9. JamesDaBear says:

    oh please, please, please I beg the Cubs get their hands on Byrnes as their next GM! However, he better learn to fire the field manager if he makes another dumbass hire like AJ Hinch, and it doesn’t work out, and your owners and bosses want that done.

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  10. Sam says:

    I think the firing is somewhat unfair, but no mention of the head-scratcher trade in last December that got them Ian Kennedy and Max Scherzer? Also trade that got them Dontrelle Willis? Fangraphs own reaction at the time of the NY-Tigers-D’Backs trade?

    “Arizona, though… what a mess. Jackson and Kennedy will shore up their rotation, but they aren’t worth a kid as good as Max Scherzer. Jackson’s a mid-rotation starter whose salaries are escalating in arbitration, while Kennedy is a back-end starter who missed most of 2009. They didn’t get better, they didn’t save money, and they didn’t get younger. This move is just not a good one for the D’Backs, unless there’s another impressive piece going to Arizona that hasn’t been reported.”

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    • Jdub says:

      There was no mention because that turned out to be a great move. One starter who has no ability to pitch deep into games and a reliever who walks everybody for a #2 starter and a mid-rotation starter sounds pretty good.

      The Byrnes firing was a mistake.

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      • Sam says:

        Right, because this very site promotes the thinking “judge trades after the fact, not by when they were made.” This sort of hindsight based analysis should be the basis for evaluating managers.

        I was quoting Dave Cameron there. And he should be one of the first to tell you that your logic is completely backwards.

        Byrnes firing may have been a mistake, but he did not produce results. In any organization where people are held accountable, he could have been let go.

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      • Valuearb says:

        Cameron never looked at innings pitched and opposition faced, so he blew the scherzer analysis. And Ian Kennedy was always destined to be a good starter, most “analysts” accepted his downgrade after a brief struggle in the majors as a youngster then a subsequent injury that was easily recoverable.

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  11. Sam says:

    That should have read “I think the firing is somewhat unfair, but no mention of the head-scratcher trade in last December that got them Ian Kennedy and Edwin Jackson?”

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  12. JamesDaBear says:

    I’m wondering if it’s helped that Bob Howry utterly sucked as a D-Backs reliever, but has cut his ERA in half since joining the Cubs.

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  13. Ben says:

    You can go much further back into Byrnes’ history and find poor trades, but I think the real issue has to be the complete lack of development happening in the system. There is very literally zero major league talent in the system right now. Barry Enright comes up and has one good start. Yay. They traded away Conor Jackson to let mega-prospect Cole Gillespie play? Who? The entire system is a disaster. I only hope that these firings lead to a complete gutting of the player development and scouting departments. The only prospects to come up and do anything in Byrnes’ tenure are Upton, Young (borderline based on hype), and Drew. Think about that. Anything else this system had was traded away for Dan Haren, Ian Kennady, and Edwin Jackson. Byrnes is also the GM that didn’t protect Dan Uggla in the rule 5 draft.

    The list of bad moves is so, so long.

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    • Valuearb says:

      Rizzo was the one responsible for the long list of washouts from the farm system, and Haren is still more valuable than all the prospects he was traded for.

      And the analysis of the Scherzer trade totally missed the obvious, no matter how pretty his rate stats were, Max is a bullpen killer who can’t make it into the sixth, and his stats were pumped up by facing some of the softest lineups in the majors, while Ejax was under-rated after facing some of the toughest.

      Drew is a mike rizzo drafted disappointment, like conor, Quentin, montero, hairs ton, etc.

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  14. Kyle says:

    First of all, Hinch had just shown balls by sticking with Jackson for a no-hitter regardless of pitch count or how many guys he walked. You fire him right after that?

    Also Byrnes’ contract was absurd, but he went from hitting .286 to .206, 50 stolen bases to only 4, and became a rehab project. No one could honestly say he foresaw that kind of drop off.

    Carlos Quentin has hit .229 the past two seasons, is one of the worst fielders in the history of baseball, and well, why is he such a big deal?

    If Brandon Webb had not gotten injured, would this even be an issue?

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