Tag:Josh Byrnes
Posted on: December 31, 2011 7:12 pm

Padres making moves for 2012

Josh ByrnesBy C. Trent Rosecrans 

While the White Sox have sent some mixed messages this offseason, the Padres have not. New San Diego general manager Josh Byrnes wants his team to score more runs in 2012, and he again made a move to try to do that acquiring outfielder Carlos Quentin from the White Sox in exchange for two minor-league pitchers.

"Ownership let us stretch payroll to make this move," Byrnes said Saturday afternoon on a conference call. "We started a couple of years ago, when (former GM) Jed (Hoyer) put a big focus on building a talent base and acquiring prospects to a point where it's a real strength. (Owner Jeff Morad) told me we had ways to stretch our payroll if we can be a surprise team in 2012 and have a foundation to sustain success at the Major League level."

Byrnes, who took over the team when Hoyer went to the Cubs, has used not only what is arguably the game's deepest farm system, but also some of the current talent to improve the Padres' immediate future. 

Since taking over, Byrnes acquired a replacement at closer for Heath Bell in Huston Street, pulled off a big trade with the Reds that brought in Yonder Alonso and Edinson Volquez, along with more prospects, for Mat Latos. And the Byrnes may not be done yet.

"We feel like we still have some work to do," Byrnes said. "I think certainly the biggest weakness of the 2011 team, the offense, we feel like we've taken some steps to improve it."

Quentin -- if healthy -- could be a big part of the new Padres lineup, hitting in the middle of the lineup along with Chase Headley and Nick Hundley.

Quentin was named to his second All-Star team last season, hitting 17 home runs in the first half of the season, before being limited to just 33 games after the All-Star Game in Arizona. The San Diego native -- and current resident -- hit 36 homers in 2008 and has averaged nearly 24 homers a season since, despite playing in just 116 games a year since his break-out season.

San Diego Padres

"He's a real threat and we lacked that last season," Byrnes said. "Last year, when we were down two or three runs, we were out of the game."

Quentin also is a better fit than many for Petco Park because he's a right-handed hitter and the majority of his homers are to left field, where it's easier to homer at Petco. Of Quentin's 24 home runs in 2011, all but one came to the left of second base. While U.S. Cellular Field has the opposite reputation for home run hitters as Petco, 14 of his 24 homers were calculated to have gone out in all 30 parks, according to HitTrackerOnline.com -- and as Byrnes noted, the Padres do play half their games away from Petco Park, something he's no doubt told free agent hitters since taking over.

"I've heard the different talks about the park. I was here when the park was first built -- I'm familiar with it, I've played here," Quentin said. "Bottom line is I'm a hitter first. … It's always been my approach to hit first and stay within myself. That's the most ideal approach to produce power. I'm not planning on changing that at all."

Acquiring Quentin helps rectify what Byrnes called one of his "regrets." As general manager of the Diamondbacks, Byrnes sent Quentin to the White Sox in December of 2007 in a move that helped bring Dan Haren to Arizona.

"The key point with Carlos is the intensity he has, he plays with a real edge and that's something we've been missing," Byrnes said.

Quentin will play left field, joining center fielder Cameron Maybin in the outfield a likely platoon of Will Venable and Chris Denorfia in right. The team also has Kyle Blanks, Mark Kotsay and Jesus Guzman, meaning another trade is far from unlikely at this point.

While one of the pitchers the Padres traded away, right-hander Simon Castro, was ranked as a Top 100 prospect before the 2011 season, he struggled in 2011 at Double-A and Triple-A, putting up a 5.63 ERA (although some of that can be attributed to the altitude in Tucson). Castro, and left-hander Pedro Hernandez, were unlikely to be ranked in the Padres' Top 10. Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein had Castro ranked as the team's 20th best prospect and Hernandez wasn't ranked by Goldstein, so the true cost of the Padres' acquisition will be money. Quentin is arbitration-eligible and will be a free agent after the season. He could make as much as $8 million this season through arbitration, plus the Padres took on payroll in the Latos deal, meaning the team could see a significant bump in its payroll for 2012.

As for the White Sox, they have perhaps the worst minor-league system in baseball and the acquisition of Castro and Hernandez should help. Both should be in Chicago's top prospects list. The White Sox have already traded off closer Sergio Santos and despite the extension for John Danks, the team appears to be in rebuilding mode, which is why they went ahead and dealt Quentin.

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Posted on: October 26, 2011 8:23 pm
Edited on: October 26, 2011 8:35 pm

New Padres GM Byrnes won't let team suffer


By Evan Brunell

In a move that could decimate the Padres for years to come, new Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein is razing the Padres front office, sniping Padres GM Jed Hoyer and his assistant, Jason MacLeod, who will fill similar roles in Chicago. San Diego will get a player to be named later as compensation, expected to be a low-level minor leaguer.

This move has been expected for a while, but now that it's finally official, we can look at the shockwaves of this deal in San Diego. Lost in all the hubbub over Theo Epstein joining the Cubs and the Red Sox promoting Epstein's protege, Ben Cherington, is the impact these moves have on San Diego. The club is losing two of its top executives to what is now a "dream team" structure in Chicago, after Epstein went looking for lieutenants he trusted once Boston refused to allow any executives to follow Epstein to Chicago. While the move was done with the blessing of Padres CEO Jeff Moorad, who now gets to elevate Josh Byrnes into the GM seat, it's a major change that could derail the club.

GM Carousel
Byrnes and Moorad have previous ties, when Moorad steered the ship in Arizona and brought Byrnes to town from Boston. The then-35-year-old was hired in 2005 (allowing Hoyer to rise to the assistant GM role with the Red Sox) and was given an eight-year extension prior to the 2008 season Under Byrnes' watch, the Diamondbacks did improve the from the season before, but that's pretty easy to do when the 2004 team lost 111 games. The team did go on to win a division title, but floundered for three seasons before Byrnes was cut loose partway through 2010.

The Diamondbacks' philosophy upon starting its franchise in 1998 was to go hard after top free agents and pay money for them to come to town. It paid off in 2001, with a World Series victory in a series that hasn't been matched since. However, all the deferred cash coming due to aging veterans hit the team hard, and Byrnes came in to try to turn it around. Under his watch, the D-Backs worked their way up from irrelevancy to winning the division title in 2007 with 90 victories. However, the club slumped after that season, all the way to last place in 2009 with 92 losses. When Arizona got 2010 off to a similarly poor start, that was it for Byrnes in town. In the meantime, the farm system suffered, as the club ranked No. 22 heading into 2011, according to Baseball America. However, as BA notes, 'Zona's system is rich in the low minors, which could eventually bear fruit. And of course, the Diamondbacks won the NL West in 2011, in no small part due to Byrnes' contributions.

Meanwhile, Hoyer and MacLeod have brought the Padres along rather nicely in the two years they had to replace Kevin Towers, who is now Diamondbacks GM. The Padres have a fantastic farm system, strengthened by the trade of Adrian Gonzalez to Boston and have made several savvy moves to boost the major-league team, such as plucking Cameron Maybin from the Marlins and seeing him develop into a quality centerfielder like he was supposed to. There's no question that losing Hoyer and MacLeod will hurt San Diego, but Moorad is extremely confident in Byrnes, who is still highly-regarded may even be better than before, having seen how things transpired in Arizona and learning from it

It's near impossible to speculate how well the Padres will do under Byrnes, but fans shouldn't despair. Byrnes understands how to work in a small market and will cultivate the farm system. Fortunately, the club has a well-established manager in Bud Black to oversee the team, so there won't be a risk of Byrnes making a mistake on who to lead the team on the field, having hired a green A.J. Hinch in Arizona and drawing the ire and scorn of many in the game (and yet, there's none for Robin Ventura...), with Hinch and the club showing a lack of fire that destroyed the team. (Hinch remains well-regarded and should manage again or become GM one day.)

Given how Byrnes and Hoyer come from similar schools of thought and worked under Epstein, it's unlikely Byrnes will rip up the processes that have been installed in San Diego over the last few years. Rather, he'll continue them, while putting his own stamp on the team. The rise of Arizona in 2007 and 2011 should make Pads fans confident in Byrnes, even though the loss of Hoyer hurts.

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Posted on: October 21, 2011 10:08 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2011 10:55 pm

Epstein resigns from Red Sox, takes over Cubs

Theo Epstein

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Cubs and Red Sox have released a joint statement to announce Theo Epstein has resigned from his position as the general manager of the Red Sox to become the President of Baseball Operations for the Cubs, effective immediately. An official press conferences will be held on Tuesday, both in Chicago and in Boston. Epstein will be introduced in Chicago, while the Boston news conference will be to name Epstein's successor, expected to be current assistant GM Ben Cherrington.

While the teams have not agreed upon compensation, they have "reached an agreement regarding a process by which appropriate compensation will be determined for the Red Sox and that issue will be resolved in the near term."

Epstein drama

While it's been expected for about a week that Epstein would take over the Cubs, but the issue of compensation has held up the deal. Although the deal may be done, it won't be announced until Tuesday because Major League Baseball will not allow teams to make major announcements during the World Series, or at least on the same day as games. Tuesday will be the next travel day, if the series isn't wrapped up in five games -- and if it is, Tuesday would be the first day after the World Series.

Epstein is expected to be joined in Chicago by Padres general manager Jed Hoyer, who will hold the same title with the Cubs. Former Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes is expected to take over in San Diego. There's still the question of whether the Padres will require compensation for Hoyer's departure, something CBSSports.com senior writer Scott Miller reported earlier was expected. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Friday that the Padres have granted the Cubs permission to speak to Hoyer and assistant GM Jason McLeod. Dan Hayes of the North County Times tweets that the Padres and Cubs have already agreed to a list of Cubs prospects for the Padres to choose from for compensation and that besides Hoyer and McLeod, no other Padres officials will be headed to Chicago.

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Posted on: August 25, 2011 11:39 am

No shortage of rumored names in Cubs' GM search

By Matt Snyder

Friday will mark exactly one week since the Cubs announced they had fired general manager Jim Hendry. Cubs' chairman Tom Ricketts asserted he wants to find a GM with a strong track record, an analytical background and with an emphasis on player development. The latter two criteria would seem to point to someone opposite of Hendry -- who had a recent history of big contracts and trading prospects for veterans. The former criterion points to an experienced general manager, not a first-timer.

So many names have been tossed around for what is absolutely an attractive job. Now, this is where the Cubs haters all jump up and down and start screaming about how bad the Cubs "suck." No one in his right mind can deny nearly any general manager would want this job, though. As the Cubs' general manager, one would have the capability to work with a payroll that dwarfs any other in the NL Central. One would have a rabid fan base that is absolutely desperate for a World Series, so residing over one would be the ultimate sports accomplishment. Also, in the present, the Cubs have more than $50 million falling off the payroll next season, so there's a chance to basically start over. No ballclub can compare to the resources the Yankees have, but there's no reason the Cubs can't eventually be the Red Sox of the National League -- and there is no Yankees in the NL.

With this in mind, you'd have to figure almost every name is initially in the mix with few exceptions. And it sounds like that's true. Let's sum up the recent rumors:

ESPN's Buster Olney said earlier this week that Red Sox GM Theo Epstein "could" be a name for the Cubs to consider. What Epstein did under John Henry's ownership group is something similar to what the Cubs want under the Ricketts family, so it makes sense. Of course, Epstein also has very strong Boston roots and is currently in a better situation than what he'd be taking over with the Cubs. Unless he wants a fresh, new challenge or is simply tired of competing with the Yankees, it doesn't seem like he'd have any incentive to leave. For what it's worth, Henry emailed Red Sox reporters about the speculation:

“This kind of speculation happens from time to time to successful GMs and managers,” Henry wrote (BostonHerald.com). “The Cubs have one of the best presidents in baseball. I think this shows how highly regarded Theo is by the media and baseball in general.”

• Speaking of AL East powers, a "long-odds" option is Ricketts calling Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and trying to convince him to head to Chicago as a package deal with manager Joe Girardi. Cashman's contract does expire at the end of the season. (SunTimes.com) This is total speculation on my part, but there's not much more Cashman could accomplish with the Yankees and he could very well be tired of ownership forcing his hand (a la the Rafael Soriano contract this past offseason that he didn't want to give). Also, keep in mind Girardi had two different stints with the Cubs as a player and was born and raised in Peoria, Ill. This scenario makes sense, if Ricketts could convince the two to leave New York. But, again, this was reported as a long shot.

• More AL East: Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman has been named by pretty much every reporter in the business as a possibility. Friedman should be incredibly attractive because of what he's helped do with the Rays. He now has experience building a farm system basically from the ground up and in Chicago he'd be able to sign and keep higher-priced players. He also wouldn't have to worry about attendance or moving. ESPN's Olney wrote about Friedman's tough decision this coming offseason.

• Another small-market guy who might enjoy getting to have a few extra payroll dollars for once is A's general manager Billy Beane. According to Susan Slusser of SFGate.com, Beane "might consider an offer" if the Cubs came after him. Slusser also reports the Cubs are "expected" to talk to Beane. Another reason Beane might want to bail on Oakland is how long it's taking to get the A's stadium situation resolved. Beane is signed through 2014, but the report indicated owner Lew Wolff would let Beane out of the deal if he wanted.

Dodgers GM Ned Colletti is an option, despite that he's a bit more old-school than Ricketts seemed to say he preferred. In the case of Colletti, one reported benefit would be that he'd bring Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg back to the organization as the Cubs' manager, the job which Sandberg didn't get last season. (SunTimes.com)

• On the flip-side of much of the above notes, SI.com's Jon Heyman reported that the big names -- Cashman, Beane, Epstein, Friedman -- are not likely to take the job. Heyman instead reports it's going to come down to Rick Hahn and Josh Byrnes. Hahn is the vice president and assistant general manager of the White Sox and is considered a true up-and-comer by several in the business. In fact, several outlets have ranked him as the top GM candidate in baseball (excluding current GMs). The issue, of course, is he doesn't have experience as the top dog. Byrnes is the vice president of baseball operations for the Padres and has previously been the GM of the Diamondbacks. He had a hand in putting together the 2007 playoff team, but when things fell apart afterward, he was fired in 2010.

• According to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, Cashman is "very unlikely" and the Cubs might have to pay something like $10 million a year to pry Epstein away from Boston.

So there you have it. Several huge names, a hot-shot up-and-comer and lots of things we don't know. We need to keep in mind that initial interest in either side doesn't necessarily mean a job offer -- or acceptance of the job offer -- is coming. We also have to keep in mind that guys presently on the job, especially those in the middle of pennant races, will publicly deny interest no matter what.

Ricketts will likely want a new GM in place very quickly once this season ends, but until then -- about five weeks -- we'll continue to see the names swirl.

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Posted on: December 3, 2010 2:59 pm

Padres hire ex-Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes

Ex-Diamondbacks general manager Josh Byrnes has hooked on with the Padres after taking some time to decide which team he would work for.

Byrnes was also courted by the Red Sox, but chose to go to San Diego and work under former colleague Jed Hoyer. Both Byrnes and Hoyer are products of the Theo Epstein regime in Boston.

Byrnes will serve as senior vice president in baseball operations and in a twist of irony, is now working under the man that replaced Kevin Towers as Padres GM. Towers is now the GM of the Diamondbacks, where Byrnes was fired from. Jerry DiPoto acted as interim GM in between the firing of Byrnes and hiring of Towers.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: October 26, 2010 6:55 pm

Mets finish GM interviews

Sandy Alderson met with the Mets' top brass today, concluding his interview process, but the Mets have yet to make any announcements about their search for Omar Minaya's successor.

"We will have no further comment on the process until we are ready to announce our new general manager," the Mets said in a statement.

Most Mets beat writers on Twitter are speculating that the announcement will come on Friday. All signs so far have Alderson as the favorite over former Diamondbacks general manager Josh Byrnes.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Category: MLB
Posted on: October 21, 2010 5:22 pm

Mets conclude first round of GM interviews

The first round of GM interviews is complete, and the Mets will now focus on narrowing the pool of candidates.

Sandy Alderson remains the heavy favorite, as he had a well-publicized second interview that the Mets termed a continuation of the first. Alderson has years of GM experience under his belt and currently works for MLB.

His competition is Red Sox special assistant to the GM Allard Baird, White Sox assistant GM Rick Hahn, ex-Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes, Dodgers assistant GM Logan White and Blue Jays assistant GM Dana Brown.

"As you may know, earlier today we completed the initial round of interviews with six talented candidates to become the new general manager of the New York Mets," COO Jeff Wilpon wrote in an e-mail to fans.. "Each was extremely impressive -- Allard Baird, Rick Hahn, Josh Byrnes, Sandy Alderson, Logan White and Dana Brown. All reiterated their desire and interest in pursuing this opportunity. We will be in direct communication with each as we narrow the candidate pool by early next week. We subsequently will invite the leading candidates back to meet with Fred [Wilpon], Saul [Katz] and me."

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: October 18, 2010 6:04 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:21 am

Alderson returning to New York

The New York Times has an update on the Mets' general manager search. In short, Sandy Alderson is headed back to Citi Field to interview with the Mets brass, but it's not a "second interview," instead, it's to complete the first interview. And then maybe he'll have a second interview.

Anyway, according to the article, the "second interview" will be a meeting with owner Fred Wilpon and team president Saul Katz. There's no word on who will get those golden tickets and if there's a "third interview" with Mr. Met and Keith Hernandez's mustache after that before heading to the speed round.

The Times adds the Mets have gotten permission to speak to Dana Brown, a special assistant to Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos. BRown will meet Wednesday with chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon and assistant GM John Ricco.

Alderson is considered by most as the front-runner for the job. In addition to Brown and Alderson, Logan White, Rick Hahn, Josh Byrnes and Allard Baird have interviewed for the gig.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com