On Sunday the Padres fired their general manager Josh Byrnes. Since his firing, a lot of important details have come to light that paint ownership in a much worse picture than Byrnes. He (like Bud) was a problem, but not the biggest problem. Still firing him was absolutely the right move.
Two and a half years usually isn’t long enough to evaluate a GM’s performance. But that doesn’t mean Byrnes’ firing was unjustified. Byrnes inherited a loaded farm system which, at the time he was hired, was rated among the best by ESPN, Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus. Things have deteriorated quickly, as injuries and the alarming inability to develop young players have led the system toward a downward spiral (the system’s still got some pretty damn good players).
But player development has always been an issue here (how Randy Smith is still employed I’ll never know), so putting the blame solely on Byrnes isn’t fair. His drafts were generally well received both by experts and fans, so the acquisition of amateur talent wasn’t necessarily a problem.
What follows is an exclusive conversation between Josh Byrnes, Mike Dee and Johnny Manziel. Don’t ask how I got it. This is all 100% true. Promise.
*Mike Dee enters Josh Byrnes’ office*
Mike Dee: “Jesus Christ you’re playing Playstation again? Turn that off I want to talk to you about something.”
Josh Byrnes: “Geez, dad, let me just finish this game of Madden.”
*Byrnes loses 49-21*
Byrnes: “What do you want.”
Dee: “Ok, so I was up late last night and came up with this crazy idea. It’s a little out of the box, but I think you’re gonna dig it.”
Byrnes: “If this is about the uniforms I told you I don’t fucking care.”
Dee: “Dude I know. It’s not that. Chill.”
Byrnes: “Ok what’s your idea.”
We’ve come to that special time of the season when the Chicago Cubs visit San Diego and we Padres fans get to travel back in time to a quaint little year called 1984. A special time in our collective memories. A time when the Padres were good and Chevy Chase was still funny. How time changes everything. Despite the Padres woeful offensive performance of late, fans still have 1984 to hold on to for a small piece of sanity.
The Cubs arrive for a four game visit beginning today and it marks the 30th anniversary of the historic season in which the Padres finally climbed out of the cellar. For those of you old enough to remember, 1984 is perhaps one of the few moments of grace present in your fanhood.
Padres General Manager Josh Byrnes joined Darren Smith yesterday to give an injury update on Andrew Cashner. Byrnes didn’t go into much detail with Darren, but the team later released a statement saying that Cashner had irritation and soreness in his elbow. Fuck yeah no surgery! However, the Padres said there was no timetable for Cashner’s return, so there’s still a great deal of worry.
It was the second injury update, though, that I found more interesting. While answering the same fucking questions about Carlos Quentin, Byrnes went a little overboard with his praise for The Injured One.
“He’s too good of a hitter. I mean, I would view him as one of the top 20 or 30 hitters in all of baseball.”
As I was listened to this, I nodded my head in agreement, like when someone’s talking to you and you just want them to stop.
The Padres placed Andrew Cashner on the DL with soreness in his pitching elbow.
Nothing in Cashner’s last couple starts indicated potential problems. His velocity’s been consistent all season, and his pitch counts haven’t been outrageous.
What could’ve led to his soreness? Fuck, I don’t know. He’s a pitcher. Pitchers get hurt, because they’re pitchers and that’s what they do. You add that to the fact that pitches for the Padres and, well, this was inevitable.
Do you remember when the Padres played the Royals back on Monday and somehow managed to eek out a win in 12 innings against Yordano Ventura? It feels like an eon ago. As a result of that game my body incurred an inappropriate level of sleep debt, a debt which my body has yet to pay off.
Since that game, the last 20 innings of Padres baseball have been a blur. I’ve been told of craziness on the base paths, fielding errors to excess, a dearth of runs, Cameron Maybin who actually had the runs, and T-Rex. T-Rex? Weird.
My glass feels half-empty right now and I’m gonna run with it. Join me on the dark side . . .
Tonight’s game should have been about the low scoring Padres trying to put it all together on a Monday night against the young fire-baller Yordano Ventura.
It could have been about Yasmani Grandal engaging in an epic battle with Ventura and then tagging him for a game-tying 3-run HR. There’s still a chance for this contest to be about that – it is not yet over*. But with the Padres now behind 4-3 to the Royals in the 9th, there’s a chance it could be about something else** entirely when the final pitch is thrown.
* It’s over the Padres won!
** Will Venable, down 0-2 to Tim Collins, drills the game winner. Walk-off! Powerade baths! Man baseball is fun.
When this game ends however, it just feels like it will likely be remembered as the game where Dick Enberg and Mark Grant did their broadcast from behind the Royals’ on-deck circle and tried to sell tickets to luxury boxes, luxury suites, gourmet food, and anything that wasn’t nailed down.
Here’s what fans thought about the effort . . .
I don’t usually do links for a host of reasons. That isn’t true. There’s only one reason. I don’t do links because I don’t have time. But today is different for two reasons:
- I have time*.
- I have so many Padres related articles open in my browser that I would feel terrible if I didn’t share them with my fellow fans**.
* This isn’t really true. I’ve simply calculated that the things I could be doing can certainly wait.
** A lie by omission. While a true statement I think I’m really more focused on myself and what’s good for my computer and I. Because I haven’t been able to read all of these articles I need a handy page to access each link. Which is to say I really need to close each open window because my fossil of a Macbook is heating up and ready to blow.
Now that the truth is before us, allow me to share . . .
Jedd Gyorko returned from the Paternity List yesterday the proud father of twin boys. He was just in time to catch the rubber-game of an early NL West showdown with the 1st place San Francisco Giants. Unfortunately, the Giants took the game 3-2, and with it the series. But Jedd Gyorko was back. No, Jedd Gyorko is back.
The West Virginian, in going 1 for 3 with zero K’s, reminded us that things can get better at the keystone position. Gyorko’s recent contract extension has given us hope that second base will become a position of stability. It hasn’t always been that way. The last six seasons have seen the Padres treat second base like membership to the U.S. House of Representatives, a two year term and then re-election time.The incumbents never did too well. Gyorko’s contract extension should put an end to that ignominious streak of 1-termers.
Even prior to 2009 and the Congressional style of filling out the position, the Padres had used a succession of 1-year players to little effect.
Second base has been a painful spot on the diamond for the Padres. Let’s take a look at the position over the years beginning with Jedd Gyorko’s slow start in 2014.
Last summer, as the All-Star break came to a close, an unenviable task presented itself: I had to explain to my young daughter that Everth Cabrera wouldn’t be able to play any more. This news confounded her. She asked, “Why?”
When it comes to explaining the issue of drugs to a child, I really don’t know how. But I knew in that space and time that getting bogged down in details was unnecessary so I took the easy road and said, “There’s this type of medicine that he took but he wasn’t allowed to take it. Now he’s in trouble so he can’t play until next year.”
I felt I handled the issue with delicate aplomb and then she asked, “Where did he get the medicine? Did he go out into the woods and get it from a witch? I don’t like witches. Mean witches”
“No, no,” I said. “He went to a . . . clinic. A doctor’s office.”
“Doc McStuffins has a clinic. Like that clinic?”
“Uh . . . kinda.”
It was all so confusing. We had watched Everth Cabrera closely last season and my enthusiasm for him as a ball player had clearly rubbed off on her. She sensed my excitement as I talked about his new-found steadiness on defense and his ability to draw a walk. He was seeing a lot of pitches, getting on base, and doing lead-off-hitter-type-things. It was great. And then it all ended.
Who is Everth Cabrera? Is he the steady player who emerged last season or something else entirely? The season is young so the conclusions we can draw are, well, inconclusive. But let’s look at his first 21 games* of 2014 and try to do some figuring.