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Padres GM Josh Byrnes "I'm not a big believer in untouchables"

XX Sports Radio: Josh Byrnes Interview with Darren Smith (MP3)

  • It's been a seamless transition into the Padres GM chair, but Byrnes has been busy. "The GM job has probably never been harder, there is more scrutiny." He loves the game and the challenge.
  • It's harder to experiment with rotations and bullpens now because of the media and fan expectations.
  • The sport of baseball has changed with the advent of testing for performance enhancing drugs. It's harder to score runs and pitching velocity is higher than it's ever been. The offense in 2011 around the league has been at its lowest since 1991.
  • Byrnes says "It was kind of strange and awkward" to be part of the musical chairs of GM's when Hoyer and Epstein moved to Chicago. Byrnes wasn't turning down GM offers but he wasn't chasing any either. He did apply for the Mets GM job before they hired Sandy Alderson. He wasn't heart broken to miss out on the New York job and that told him that he needed to take time to recharge his batteries with the Padres last year.
  • Byrnes likes being the Padres GM. Owner Moorad and President Garfinkel get the best out of him. He knows the entire front office and coaching staff really well. The Padres GM job is the best job in the MLB. It also helps that Byrnes' wife is from San Diego.
  • Byrnes didn't know Moorad that well preceding the his interview with the Diamondbacks in Fall 2005. He was asked about his relationship with agents in that interview and he was honest that it was "pretty rotten", because the agents aren't looking out for the clubs interests and his job was to protect those interests.
  • The relationship with Moorad blossomed on the job in Arizona. A lot of people become become successful by being treacherous, but Moorad isn't like that. Byrnes says "I think you can be a competitor without crossing ethical lines."
  • The Padres offered Heath Bell arbitration and he has to accept or deny it by December 7th unless he signs before then. Bell's choice will affect how much money the Padres have to spend.
  • "It doesn't make perfect sense" to have a closer make 20% of the team's payroll.
  • There is potential that the Padres will sign free agents to pitch the 8th and 9th, but the farm system is stronger and they could trade some of their MLB talent to fill holes.
  • "I'm not a big believer in untouchables." Mat Latos, Nick Hundley, Cameron Maybin and Cory Luebke are pretty good performers that could stay here awhile.
  • Both Orlando Hudson and Jason Bartlett make a decent amount of money and they have players coming up that could step into their position like Andy Parrino and Everth Cabrera.
  • Jesus Guzman has certainly earned the right to be the prominent guy in 2012. His performance was so much above the rest that he looks like he'll be on the roster next year. Guzman is playing in Venezuela. He can play first base and left field, but defense is not his thing.
  • There is a concern about the confidence of Anthony Rizzo that Byrnes talked about with Hoyer. He has to earn his way back on the team. They talked about his mechanics a lot, but he doesn't need to reinvent himself, he just needs to tune his swing.
  • The Padres have had a few conversations with players, so something might happen this month. They are going into the Winter Meetings in Dallas with 5 or 10 ideas.
  • Byrnes and Buddy Black go way back and he has a lot of respect for him. "He's certainly one of the best in the game." But this is a performance based game, "if we go 0-162..."
  • Byrnes has been so focused on baseball that he hasn't been paying a lot of attention to the Chargers and football.
  • The best GM in all of sports is Pat Gillick or John Schuerholz.