In what was a total shock, the Arizona Diamondbacks fired general manager, Josh Byrnes, and manager, A. J. Hinch, were fired yesterday. The pair paid the price of an awful half a season where many picked the team to be in contention. Instead the team is locked in last place for the second straight season in the NL West.
Byrnes has been considered a bit of a wunderkind and was signed to a big extension a few years ago. His personnel decisions were once touted as he brought in young players like Stephen Drew and Upton. But those young players have stalled in becoming the big stars their talent predicted them to be and both, along with Mark Reynolds, are in the top 25 in the league in strikeouts. Reynolds and Upton are one and two on that list.
Byrnes has to take responsibility for a bullpen that has failed in epic proportions and as the Fan mentioned in his post last night, the D-Backs are near the bottom of the 30 team list in OPS+, ERA+ and fielding efficiency. The Fan had mentioned earlier in the season that general managers weren't facing the same kinds of scrutiny for failure that managers were. This is one case were the GM was seen as part of the problem.
But you know, things happen and Byrnes will find another job. He seems to be a bright guy and his personnel decisions just didn't work out...yet. A. J. Hinch on the other hand admitted just a short while ago that, "This group hasn't responded that well to me." Gosh, why don't you just run the white flag up there?
Hinch's record with the D-Backs of 89-123 over parts of two seasons indicate that he was correct. The Diamondbacks have some talent but that talent hasn't been able to burst through. It seemed obvious that Hinch wasn't capable of pulling that kind of performance out of his players.
So now Kirk Gibson is in charge, at least for now. And now the Bobby Valentines of the world have another team to consider. It's too bad. Hinch seemed like a nice guy and the Fan was appreciative that he gave Edwin Jackson that opportunity for the no-hitter last week despite the pitch count. Unfortunately, the bottom line isn't pretty and somebody had to pay the price.