D-Backs name Byrnes new GM
Former Boston assistant introduced Friday afternoon
PHOENIX -- Before they began drawing up a list of candidates to interview for their general manager's job, Diamondbacks managing general partner Ken Kendrick and general partner Jeff Moorad first came up with the profile of their ideal GM.They wanted someone with a background in player evaluation and development, someone with character, intelligence and leadership skills. And after interviewing seven candidates, they felt like they found their man in Red Sox assistant GM Josh Byrnes. "At the end of the day, we think we did an outstanding job of finding someone that met every one of those needs in a way that each of the three of us that made this decision together were unanimous in our choice," Kendrick said referring to he, Moorad and team president Rich Dozer. Brynes impressed the Diamondbacks with his preparation for the interview, during which he shared an intimate knowledge of their organization and its practices, some of which were even news to Kendrick and Moorad. That should come as no surprise as the 35-year-old Byrnes is known for his preparation and attention to details. He has risen steadily through the baseball ranks -- first with the Cleveland Indians where he became one of the youngest scouting directors at the age of 27. He was the assistant GM with the Rockies for three seasons before filling a similar role with the Red Sox under Theo Epstein from 2003-2005. "He's been an invaluable member of the Red Sox, both in terms of assembling our big league team and the behind-the-scenes work in scouting and player development," Epstein said of Byrnes. "We would not have won the World Series without him." With baseball people seemingly split down the middle with those favoring statistical analysis on one side and those who rely on more traditional methods of scouting, Byrnes said he falls somewhere in the middle. "I think everyone is declaring affiliations out there, and as I said, I like information," he said. "I think both are valuable. I think when they overlap as a decision maker, you feel like you've got a good process in place. When they don't connect, maybe you pull aside and look at another player or another move. I think I'll get my hands on as much information as I can, both subjective and objective." For Byrnes, it all comes back to balance -- balancing old school vs. new school, wanting to win now but not at the expense of the future and balancing numbers vs. subjective judgment. The team gave Byrnes a four-year deal with a club option for a fifth season and his first task will be to shape his baseball operations staff. The contracts of assistant GM/director of player development Bob Miller and scouting director Mike Rizzo are set to expire on Oct. 31, and Byrnes will have to decide whether to retain them. Bob Gebhard, who filled the GM position on an interim basis after Joe Garagiola Jr. left to take a job with Major League Baseball in August, will likely stay on in some capacity. Byrnes talked with Gebhard about that on Friday and was set to meet with Miller later in the evening. He will spend the weekend talking with the rest of his staff. "Until I sort of hear what was here and talk about job descriptions and my own expectations, it's hard to forecast what we're going to do," Byrnes said. It wouldn't be surprising to see Brynes hire Jerry DiPoto in some capacity. The former pitcher has been the Rockies director of pro scouting and the two are close. Byrnes spent some time talking with manager Bob Melvin, and though they hardly know each other, organizational insiders feel the two will get along fine as they both are highly intelligent and share a passion for learning. "It was a good conversation," Byrnes said of the meeting. "We don't really know each other very well. I've heard great things about him so I'm looking forward to working with him." While there's been talk that Moorad wants to continue to have a significant say in personnel decisions, both he and Kendrick said on Friday that their only interference would come if acquiring a player meant going over the club's payroll budget. "For the most part, we have concluded when we looked at this profile that we needed to recognize that we aren't baseball guys [though] we are baseball fans and have a passion for the game," Kendrick said. "I've been one in my life who wanted to become associated with people who were expert and then who were given the responsibility and authority to act on their expertise. So for the most part, that's what we're going to do." Speaking of payroll, Arizona's was around $57 million last year and will likely range between $60-$65 million this year. That's a far cry from what Byrnes was used to in Boston, but he said it's more than enough. "I think, in this division, it will be a very competitive payroll," he said. "Again, it's only an obstacle to the extent that you want it to be. You can build a culture around what your payroll is, what it means, what kind of players you target. I think the payroll is more than enough to win games and win championships."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Thomas Harding, a reporter for MLB.com, contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.