Josh Byrnes Comments on Offseason Plans

 

Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Padres GM Josh Byrnes spoke today on Inside Pitch, an MLB Network Radio show co-hosted by Jim Bowden and Casey Stern.  According to Jim Bowden’s tweet, Byrnes said the Padres need a left handed reliever, a left handed batter, better health, and general upgrades.

 

We are aware of the need to obtain at least one left handed reliever, but a left handed bat is surprising.  Steve Adler’s column on The Friarhood explains Byrnes’ comment could mean a pinch hitter a la Mark Kotsay.  This is sensible because the Padres do not lack left handed hitting in the starting lineup.  The need for a lefty bat may also signal a trade involving one of the left handed position players.

Byrnes is correct to believe the Friars need to get healthy.  Carlos Quentin needs to produce for an entire season to keep the team’s playoff hopes alive.  Cameron Maybin deserves a shot after missing most of 2013 even though Will Venable and Chris Denorfia both have the ability to outperform Maybin for the starting job.  If healthy, Yonder Alonso could be a fairly productive first baseman.  Tyson Ross had offseason surgery on his non-throwing shoulder, and is expected to be back for spring training.  Chase Headley had offseason surgery on his injured left knee, and needs to come back producing at a much higher level in 2014.

“General upgrades” is an understandable comment by Josh Byrnes.  The Padres need a general upgrade in the pitching department.  Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross, Ian Kennedy, and Eric Stults will be good starting pitchers, but the Padres should acquire a reliable fifth starter.  In addition to a left handed reliever, another relief pitcher would be beneficial to bolster the bullpen.  Outside of the pitching, a general upgrade may include a trade for Mark Trumbo to replace Yonder Alonso at first base.

I would like to see the general upgrades focused on the pitching staff, and allow the position players to prove what they are capable of.  If Headley returns to his 2012 form, then it would be equivalent to signing a big time free agent.  I sound hopeful, but there is a strong possibility that the lineup will receive an automatic boost from players returning to form (i.e. Headley, Quentin, Cabrera, Alonso), and strong pitching performances will be essential to keep the Padres in playoff contention.

 

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Topics: Josh Byrnes, San Diego Padres

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  • Brad Beattie

    I agree that the pitching needs to be bolstered more so than the position players. There’s breakout potential in guys like Cashner, Ross, Smith, and Erlin and bounce back potential in Kennedy, but no for sure thing. Try to to add a guy or two for the rotation and maybe add a guy like Kubel for outfield depth and a good bat off the bench. He might get a starting job opportunity somewhere else though.

    • Bernie D’Amato

      Yes, the rotation should be solid and has tons of potential. I wonder what type of money/contract Kubel is looking for?

      • Brad Beattie

        Not sure what Kubel is looking for. He’s coming off a down year though and his career numbers are far better against RHP than LHP. He’d be a nice bat off the bench and also good platoon in LF if Quentin loses time again do to injury.

        • ballybunion

          I have misgivings about Kubel’s defense. I’d rather see the Padres pick up Lance Berkman for a year as Kotsay’s replacement, IF his hip is okay and IF he can still play left (he’s not so hot in right), and IF he’s willing to play another year, and IF he’ll take a part time job at part time salary – maybe a little more than the $1.3 million Kotsay got. By all accounts, he’s a Kotsay type in the clubhouse, and his .242/.340/.359 while injured last year beats Kotsay’s .194/.253/.226 .

          • Brad Beattie

            I understand your concern about Kubel’s defense (I’m a big fan of solid defense myself). I don’t view him as an everyday guy initially. I think he would do well in a platoon role and if Quentin gets hurt again a misses some time, Kubel could man LF for a while. I view Berkman as only a DH at this point.

  • ballybunion

    I like the way you’re reading in between the lines, thinking the mention of ‘left handed bat’ means a trade is in the works. It reminds me of Wall Street analysts parsing the words of the Federal Reserve chairman instead of taking them at face value. I suspect you’re being too clever, that you had it right the first time – a replacement for Kotsay off the bench. It’s way too early to assume there’s a trade close enough to make a hole that needs filling, though the groundwork for possibilities may have already begun.

    Byrnes had to lie low last off-season because he had to see how his imploded rotation would shake out, the FA pitching way overpriced. I think he may do the same this off-season to see how his imploded infield/outfield will shake out, just nibbling around the edges of the roster. After all, he built a core team, and has yet to see it on the field. It’s a trite saying but so true, that often the best moves are the ones you didn’t make.

    • Bernie D’Amato

      haha, wish I was making money like a Wall Street analyst. Maybe the lack of offseason moves will pay off if everyone is healthy. That is a big “if” though.

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