Byrnes reluctantly mulls player moves
As Trade Deadline looms, reality sets in for D-backs GM
PHOENIX -- A few weeks ago, D-backs general manager Josh Byrnes was hesitant to talk about being a seller at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
"We've dug ourselves a little bit of a hole to start," Byrnes said at the time. "We've had a lot go wrong with injuries and guys not performing up to normal standards. Given that, I think we certainly want to give it some time, play better and then determine deeper into the season, to the extent that we make any trades, are they geared towards 2009 or are they geared towards the long term?"
Last week in Kansas City, Byrnes certainly sounded like someone who had come face to face with reality.
"It's the middle of June and we're 10 games under .500, so I think there's a reality as far as the types of discussions we have had and will have with other clubs," Byrnes said.
This was before the D-backs went on to lose three straight to a Mariners team that had some key players out with injuries.
Although D-backs manager A.J. Hinch has said the solutions to the team's struggles are internal and Byrnes has always believed in the abilities of his players, there are facts that are hard to overlook.
Yes, the D-backs won the 2007 National League West and they did start out last year 20-8. But since then they are 91-113. No longer is it a bad month or even one poor season.
"Going back to last year, I think it was a golden opportunity that we didn't cash in," Byrnes said of losing the race to the 84-win Dodgers. "We had a better team, I think, than 82 wins in a division that didn't require much more. I do think we have a lot of good players in here, but the results are the results. I think there are decisions you have to make based on your results, not on your potential."
To this point, Byrnes has given no indication that he is planning a major overhaul. So, for now, if the team makes a move, look for it to be with one of the veterans who are in the final year of their contracts.
Pitchers Doug Davis and Jon Garland fit that profile, as does second baseman Felipe Lopez. The club would certainly like to deal Chad Tracy if he is able to get back to being healthy and show the form he had the first couple of weeks of the season.
Meanwhile, the D-backs will continue to do the best they have with what they've got. Hinch has drills planned for this week while the team is at home.
"Everybody's looking for explanations, everybody's looking for solutions," Hinch said after a heartbreaking loss on Sunday. "We internally are going to have to find those. It's frustrating, it's unfortunate, but it's reality."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.