Dec 11, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; San Diego Padres manager Bud Black (left) and San Diego Padres general manager Josh Byrnes are interviewed during the MLB Winter Meetings at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Enough Is Enough: It’s Time For Bud Black & Josh Byrnes To Go


Two. That is a small number when wins and losses are how you are judged in the profession of baseball. Two out of eight equates to 25 percent. One-quarter of the entire managerial existence of Bud Black, has resulted in winning seasons. He is in his 8th season at the helm of the Friars, and from what we’ve seen thus far, it is safe to assume that 2014 can be counted as a losing campaign. His winning seasons? 2007 and 2010. Let’s not be so quick to give Black the credit for 2007, as he took over for a more than qualified, and 2-time World Series winning manager in Bruce Bochy, who had back-to-back division-winning seasons in 2005 and 2006. In 12 seasons, exactly HALF of Bochy’s seasons were of the winning variety. Just sayin’…

While Black is considered a player’s manager, he is certainly never going to be credited for being an expert strategist, or superb handler of his roster. Bud Black could be the king of the platoon–and thus by overusing such a strategy, he never allows his players to get into a consistent groove. Baseball is a game of adjustments. Baseball is a game of consistency, or trying to be as consistent as possible. How can a player get comfortable and perform, or snap out of a slump if he doesn’t know from day-to-day when or if he’s going to see the field. What occurs is a lack of production. Oh wait, kind of like what we are seeing in 2014? A team that is on a historic pace for being the worst offensive team in Padres’ history, and could rival for overall futility in big league history?


Josh Byrnes has a track record of making bone-headed moves in an attempt to turn teams around quickly. For someone that is credited with coming from the Theo Epstein managerial structure, Byrnes has been an epic fail for both the Arizona Diamondbacks AND his current employer–the Padres. This examination of Byrnes’ record will only cover his stint as general manger of the team, which began on October 26th, 2011. He will not get strapped with any of the poor personnel decisions prior to that, although it can be assumed he had some say in said personnel decisions as Vice President of Baseball Operations under Jed Hoyer.

What is Byrnes’ excuse for failing to land any impact players or being unable to swing a deal for an impact bat? His usable payroll has increased exponentially over the past three seasons, going from just under $46 million in 2012, to just over $55 million in 2013, to a massive increase of over $90 million dollars this season. Where are the results? This could be one of the worst teams the Padres’ have fielded in the Bud Black-era.

Byrnes has made some questionable acquisitions during his tenure. Sign Mark Kotsay? Sure why not? In 186 games, Kotsay hit .227, with 3 home runs and 26 RBI. All of that for $2.55 million over two seasons. Great signing. Take your pick on awful pitcher signings. Micah Owings, Jeff Suppan, Kip Wells, and oh yeah, this season, Josh Johnson, who never threw a single pitch in the regular season. Try a combined 4-9 record, and an ERA of 4.22. More money well spent. It hasn’t been completely bad…or has it?

You can be the judge on who won the Anthony Rizzo-for-Andrew Cashner deal. Cash has shown flashes of brilliance, but continues to suffer from arm injuries. Rizzo is now a certified run-producer…one that the Padres’ surely could’ve used. Producing solid starting pitching has never been an issue for this franchise. It’s getting solid, impact bats to produce runs to support great pitching efforts, that’s been the issue with this franchise.

For most of the season, Yonder Alonso has struggled mightily with the bat. Instead of sending him down to El Paso to work things out, and giving the player who had earned the opportunity to play, Kyle Blanks, Black and Byrnes continued to run Alonso out there, and watched him fail to produce. Blanks has since been shipped to Oakland for a bag of balls and a minor league pitcher. Another player who if given 600 at-bats, most likely produces solid power numbers for a lineup that desperately needs it. Have I mentioned that? Byrnes was the one who shipped Carlos Quentin to the Chicago White Sox. He watched as Quentin produced one, solid, MVP-type year in Chicago. Quentin, as he’s done in San Diego was a constant DL occupant. This move is placed directly on Byrnes’ shoulders, as another failed attempt to bring in an impact bat. He KNEW what he was getting, and made the move anyway.

Does Josh Byrnes think it’s the 2005 season? Perhaps. He did sign both Xavier Nady and Jeff Francoeur, one of whom is no longer with the team, and the other is toiling away at Triple-A, hovering around the .200 mark. Instead of bringing in has beens, how about the esteemed general manager makes a concerted effort to extend a homegrown talent in Chase Headley? Is Jedd Gyorko worth that much more to the franchise?

It’s a sad state of affairs for this franchise if only Bud Black loses his job. This should be a package deal, but according to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union Tribune, opines that if the Padres continue to lose at their current pace, Bud Black is most likely done. Acee goes on to state that if the ownership group chooses to make wholesale changes, Byrnes is most likely a casualty as well.

Byrnes is at fault for the poor roster moves, while Black is guilty of not knowing how to manage a baseball team. The combination of the two has left this franchise in disarray. Byrnes hasn’t drafted an impact player that is on the big league roster as of this writing. The question is, should the ownership pull the trigger now, or wait until the end of the season…after another draft has come and gone, and the team most likely finishes at the bottom of the NL West and watches Chase Headley walk away as a free agent?


 

One cannot just throw darts at the wall, place the blame on the current regime, and not have a viable answer for replacements. When a team makes sweeping changes by firing a field manager and a general manager simultaneously, ownership better have a pretty good idea of whom they want to fill the GM’s job, and then allow that person to bring in their own manager. When a GM is forced to take on a field manager not of their own choosing, problems are existent almost immediately. Here is the short list of who should be considered to be the next Padres’ GM:

  1. John Coppollela, Atlanta Braves
  2. Bob Miller, Cincinnati Reds
  3. David Forst, Oakland A’s

Coppollela comes from the long-successful braintrust in Atlanta, one that has built one of the most consistent and top-producing farm systems in all of baseball. Learning under both John Schierholtz and Frank Wren, Coppellela would be able to recognize the weaknesses of the farm, along with the major league roster. With a limited budget and an eye for talent, Coppellela would have the Padres rebuilt top to bottom in a couple of short seasons.

Bob Miller has worked for Walk Jocketty the past few seasons, and again, like Coppellela, would be able to rebuild the farm system, and start growing young, productive hitters that the Padres would have under team control. Think Joey Votto and Jay Bruce. The Reds organization has never lacked depth for big thunder at the dish, and oh by the way, they’re not bad at developing young arms either (Homer Bailey, Mike Leake).

Much like his boss, David Forst would be able to use the Moneyball approach to build the farm system into one of the most productive in the game. With limited funds, Forst would maximize his dollars to find the diamond in the rough that would work for what the PADRES are trying to do, not what the Dodgers or Yankees are trying to do. Any of these candidates would bring a solid vision, and have a good understanding that as a small market club, they will have to get creative to get and stay competitive.

Now that the general manager candidates are out there, the Padres’ need to review some names for the vacant field manager’s job. The last two managers for the Friars have been more laid back and reserved. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to go with the opposite of what you’ve had for the past 20 years. Then again, in a relaxed community such as San Diego, someone that is laid back and calm might not be a bad thing. Let’s take a look at some of those names…

  1. Dusty Baker
  2. Sandy Alomar, Jr.
  3. Willie Randolph
  4. Dave Roberts

If the team is looking for someone with a proven track record of winning wherever he goes, then the obvious choice is Baker. Three teams, three pretty solid turnarounds. He is the perfect mix of former player, respected leader, and fiery field manager–something the Padres have sorely missed. He tends to wear out his welcome and look for greener pastures, so it may be a short-lived gig. Then again, after so many chances, this may be the perfect landing spot for the “Lizzard.”

A former top prospect of the Padres’ organization, Alomar has paid his dues. He’s been a finalist for several jobs, most recently the Cubs’ managerial job that went to former Friar’s coach Rick Renteria. Former catchers tend to make good managers, and Alomar will be a good one. Are the Padres’ willing to live with the learning curve until he’s comfortable?

Willie Randolph comes from the Billy Martin/Buck Showalter/Joe Torre managerial tree, and perhaps took more of the blame for the failings of the Mets than he should have. Many believe he had forces on his own staff working against him, and he, much like Alomar has interviewed and been a finalist for several jobs including in Milwaukee, Seattle, and Miami. He would bring a calming influence along the lines of Torre, but has a genius baseball IQ thanks to his former managers in Martin and Showalter.

Fan favorite Dave Roberts has been involved in coaching for the past couple of seasons, and would make a niece PR hiring for the Padres. What nobody knows though, is what kind of manager would he be. Roberts most likely needs to serve in a bench coach capacity for a couple more years before he becomes a viable candidate.

As the Padres’ season continues to get away from them, the ownership needs to make some difficult decisions sooner rather than later. It’s never easy to make sweeping changes, but at the same time, how long will your fan base tolerate losing? This is a city that has seen two NL pennants, several division crowns, and multiple individual accolades that have resulted in a handful of Hall of Fame members. Recently however, mediocrity, a lack of organizational direction, a underperforming farm system, questionable free agent signings, and no leadership in the dugout, has produced six losing seasons in the past eight. Enough is enough. It’s time for Bud Black and Josh Byrnes to go.

 

Tags: Bud Black Editorial Josh Byrnes San Diego Padres

  • DaveP

    Byrnes argument written here was pretty thin. It is not like there isn’t reason to criticize Byrnes. One could easily point to the lack of a plan b in case the hitters regressed this year (which they did). Byrnes could be criticized for the lack of pitching depth the last couple of years that lead to guys like Ross Ohlendorf being pulled from the scrapheap. Extending Quentin should be an obvious question mark. One could also criticize Byrnes for sticking with Black and Plantier. However the examples given in the article are not compelling.

    1. Criticizing low risks spends on Kotsay (~$1.3M per), Owings ($1M), Wells (minimum),Suppan (minimum), Nady (minimum), Francoeur (minor league deal). That is chump change. Even stud GMs like Mozeliak (Wigginton $5M write-off) and Beane (Chris Young $8.7M) have misses that cost money.

    2. Rizzo for Cashner – Still need much more time to decide a winner (if there is one) on this deal. Rizzo is a nice fit for a small park like Wrigley and seemed ill suited for a flyball unfriendly park like Petco (check his splits vs NL west parks)

    3. Johnson signing – was an admittedly high risk move that has not turned out well. Johnson’s departure this year was definitely a negative however his loss was not the main reason the Padres are struggling in 2014.

    4 Not playing Blanks. While I am not on the Alonso bandwagon (would like to see Medica get a real audition at 1b) I am mystified with the love affair many have with Kyle Blanks. Blanks has had 800+ injury filled PA that has not shown better than 99 OPS+ since his rookie year in 2009. The suggestion was given that Blanks should get 600 ab to prove himself. His body has never held up for more than 308 mlb ab – no reason to think he will become healthier as he ages.

    5. Trading Blanks for a “bag of balls and minor league pitcher” – Blanks is essentially a AAAA non-prospect closing in on 28 years old with a year and a half of contract controllable years remaining. He was dealt for the A’s #17 prospect (Baseball America), who throws 94mph and is 3 years younger than the average player at his minor league level. The Padres also received a 1b/OF who on paper appears to be another AAAA player like Blanks but has 6 years of control. Despite some fans love affair with Blanks, the value Byrnes received in return seems generous.

    In the “should Byrnes be retained/terminated” argument, it is only fair to mention some of his achievements

    1. The early returns on the Smith for Gregerson deal appear promising. Gregerson again is excellent in his setup role for the A’s. However, the Padres dealt from a strength and plucked Smith who is having a career year. I don’t want to think about what the first 50 games would have been like without Smith. Should Smith be dealt in July, his trade value will exceed Gregerson’s.

    2. Offseason trade with Rays – Torres has been solid in relief. Hahn looks to be a solid starting pitcher prospect. In exchange for those two the Padres dealt a bunch of fungible spare parts like Logan Forsythe.

    3. Re-signing Huston Street – In Street, the Padres solidified the closing spot in 2013/14. Aside from a rough start to the season last year, Street has been lights out. He is the odds-on favorite to be an All Star this season.

    4 Signing Dale Thayer – Not an exciting player but a solid one signed off the scrapheap for the minimum. If one is going to mention bargain bin flops like Wells it is only fair to mention the successes like Thayer.

    5. Signing Benoit – Early returns have been strong for Benoit who is a tradable asset and potential closer fill-in in case of Street injury or departure

    6. Drafting Hunter Renfroe – It is still very early, but Renfoe had adapted well to A+. His 5 HR in last 10 games point to a potential promotion after the all star break up to AA San Antonio

    Final Thoughts

    Byrnes is far from innocent when looking where to assess blame for this season. However looking back at the disastrous 2006-2009 drafts of Kevin Towers are the biggest cause for the Padres current problems. The lack of stars or even depth from those drafts have forced Hoyer and now Byrnes to take risks to fill in the gaps. I don’t think there is any upside to terminating Byrnes now. Another evaluation after the season seems warranted. Further evaluation on is needed on his draftees in 2012 and 2013.

    • http://westcoastyankees-theblog.blogspot.com/ Billy Brost

      First I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my work, and secondly, for taking the time to make some counterpoints to my argument. Now, I will perform my duty as a responsible writer, and answer your claims one by one.

      Answer #1 point:
      A: Normally, one wouldn’t criticize low-risk, low money guys as the ones I’ve mentioned in the piece. Unfortunately, you have to criticize these moves because Byrnes looked to each player to have an impact on a roster that should be better constructed. None of the aforementioned players should’ve ever even seen the big league club, let alone attempting to fill important roles with each. None of the other GMs you’ve mentioned, scrape the bottom of the big league barrel for players to fulfill these types of important roles. These guys are minor league depth, or bench players at best. Nothing more.

      Answer to #2 point:
      A. As I said in the piece, we have yet to decide who has won this trade, but to give up on Rizzo when he clearly wasn’t ready at the time to be a big league starter, once again falls on Byrnes inability to judge talent properly. Part of a GMs job is to be able to understand when a young player needs more seasoning or if he is indeed ready for the show.

      Answer to #3 point:
      A. The money spent on this dud could’ve been used to upgrade someone else in the lineup. For a GM to have a $90 million dollar payroll and to run this pathetic lot out on the field each night, Byrnes should be ashamed of himself. It’s not like Josh Johnson is an unknown quantity.

      Answer to #4 point:
      A. One season of 300+ at-bats is hardly giving a player a legitimate chance. As with any other power hitter, a manager cannot sit him for extended periods of time. Nobody ever said Blanks would be a batting champion, but he was a viable power source-one the Padres continue to lack because Bud Black likes to platoon his entire roster. Blanks has proven himself at the minor league level, and if accepting .250/20/75 is unacceptable to anyone who reads this, then he is better off in Oakland.

      Answer to #5 point:
      A. Blanks is a AAAA non-prospect because he received a chance to play consistently twice since 2009. One was in 2009, one was last season. Every player deals with their fair share of injures, and aside from 2010, he was putting up decent power numbers given his inconsistent playing time and at-bats.

      If Blanks is such a non-prospect and brings nothing to the table, then would Billy Beane of all people part with his #17 prospect? Either Blanks is a turd, or Herrera is not what he’s being advertised to be as a prospect. You can’t have it both ways. Josh Byrnes will NEVER get the better end of any deal involving Billy Beane. Unless I see the outfielder in San Diego before rosters expand in September, I’ll believe this deal was a dud from the word go. The Padres are so desperate for power and run-producers, you have to give the few guys that CAN hit the ball out of the ball park every chance to do so. Stocking up on more pitching isn’t going to help this team.

      Responses to second set of points:
      Answer to #1 point:
      A. On this point, I will agree with you. But, I will also state that signing Benoit to replace Gregorson, and then the possibility of dealing Smith? Not a great tactical approach if you are trying to build a lineup. It goes back to the increase in payroll. Byrnes didn’t have to trade Gregorson for Smith. He could’ve done his due diligence, and signed a bat or two to improve the lineup production. Smith is a platoon outfielder.

      Answer to #2 point:
      A. I’m not going to sit here and reward Byrnes for a trade that has yet to fully play itself out. In the early returns, it appears the Padres have gotten the better end of the deal. Let us wait, and see how the entire deal works out for both sides before we award victory or defeat.

      Answer to #3 point:
      A. While re-signing Street was smart, what good is a closer if you can rarely get him the ball? His first year in San Diego, he continued to deal with nagging injuries, appearing in only 40 games. 20+ saves is far from elite, and in his second year, he had an ERA of 2.70, which is relatively high for a closer. I do agree, he should be an All-Star this year, but again, Byrnes is putting the cart before the horse. Saving 40 games when you only win 70 because of a lack of offense? Again, that is on Mr. Byrnes, not a reliever he signed or didn’t sign.

      Answer to #4 point:
      A. I wouldn’t quite call Dale Thayer a scrap heap guy in the same sense as the washed up bums you are saying I shouldn’t have mentioned like Wells, or Kotsay. Thayer had all of a whopping 26 innings pitched at the big league level when he came to San Diego, and he didn’t even earn rookie status until his second big league team, and in his age-30 season. He’s a serviceable middle reliever-and is replaceable tomorrow. Once again, the point of mentioning Wells, and company, is that they were signed to fill larger wholes than what should have ever been expected of them. It’s about poor roster construction, which Byrnes has shown not only in San Diego, but his previous stop in Arizona as well.

      Answer to #5 point:
      A. I will go back to the Gregorson-for-Smith deal here. Benoit was an unnecessary signing. Smith wasn’t and still isn’t, the impact bat that the Padres needed coming into this season. Byrnes could’ve kept Gregorson, kept the money he threw down the black hole on Josh Johnson, and signed a pair of decent bats to get this offense moving. The Benoit signing is a moot point, since it never should’ve happened.

      Answer to #6 point:
      A. The Padres have three players in Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects. Renfroe at #80, Matt Wisler at #44, and Max Fried at #53. Byrnes drafted two of the three, and I’m positive he had input on the other one (Wisler). The problem? His best system bat is sitting at Advanced Single-A. Do you know how many low system bats look like sure things, that won’t get past Triple-A, and could become in your eyes, the next Kyle Blanks? Even the Yankees, who have one of the worst systems in baseball, have impact bats at the lower levels of the minors. Two drafts is plenty to replenish a farm system, especially where the Padres have been drafting. Instead, Byrnes continues to focus on pitching, pitching, pitching. We get it already. Petco is a pitcher’s park, but you do need some bats. If he isn’t going to draft bats, and wants to replenish his farm with arms, then he HAS to spend his increased payroll on free agent bats. If can’t be all one way, and no attention paid to the other end of the spectrum.

      Answer to your final thoughts:
      A. To put the onus of disaster on Kevin Towers, and stating that because of his actions, Byrnes and Hoyer had to “overcompensate” is simply passing the buck. While Towers had some poor drafts at the end of his run in San Diego, it has been Byrnes and Hoyer before them that have failed to use the Theo Epstein model of success to rebuild a sinking ship. Epstein added low cost pieces that augmented and improved the overall roster. While he was doing that, he rebuilt not one, but two farms systems into some of the elite systems in baseball during his tenure. For Byrnes and Hoyer to be labeled disciples of the mighty Theo, they have sure failed to live up to expectations. To quote a funny movie, Multiplicity: “You know when you make a copy of a copy, it’s not as sharp as…well…the original?” That’s what Byrnes is. Hoyer would be in the same exact boat in Chicago if Theo wasn’t there to hold his hand. Until both Byrnes and Bud Black are shown the door, this franchise will continue to go backwards, I don’t care how much money you throw at the problem. They can’t keep up with the big market teams, so they have to be smarter and more diligent with their farm system and free agent signings.

      Again, thank you for taking the time to respond to my piece. It shows how passionate of a fan you are for the Padres. I thoroughly enjoy friendly, knowledgeable exchanges with readers!

    • Billy Brost

      First I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my work, and secondly, for taking the time to make some counterpoints to my argument. Now, I will perform my duty as a responsible writer, and answer your claims one by one.

      Answer #1 point:
      A: Normally, one wouldn’t criticize low-risk, low money guys as the ones I’ve mentioned in the piece. Unfortunately, you have to criticize these moves because Byrnes looked to each player to have an impact on a roster that should be better constructed. None of the aforementioned players should’ve ever even seen the big league club, let alone attempting to fill important roles with each. None of the other GMs you’ve mentioned, scrape the bottom of the big league barrel for players to fulfill these types of important roles. These guys are minor league depth, or bench players at best. Nothing more.

      Answer to #2 point:
      A. As I said in the piece, we have yet to decide who has won this trade, but to give up on Rizzo when he clearly wasn’t ready at the time to be a big league starter, once again falls on Byrnes inability to judge talent properly. Part of a GMs job is to be able to understand when a young player needs more seasoning or if he is indeed ready for the show.

      Answer to #3 point:
      A. The money spent on this dud could’ve been used to upgrade someone else in the lineup. For a GM to have a $90 million dollar payroll and to run this pathetic lot out on the field each night, Byrnes should be ashamed of himself. It’s not like Josh Johnson is an unknown quantity.

      Answer to #4 point:
      A. One season of 300+ at-bats is hardly giving a player a legitimate chance. As with any other power hitter, a manager cannot sit him for extended periods of time. Nobody ever said Blanks would be a batting champion, but he was a viable power source-one the Padres continue to lack because Bud Black likes to platoon his entire roster. Blanks has proven himself at the minor league level, and if accepting .250/20/75 is unacceptable to anyone who reads this, then he is better off in Oakland.

      Answer to #5 point:
      A. Blanks is a AAAA non-prospect because he received a chance to play consistently twice since 2009. One was in 2009, one was last season. Every player deals with their fair share of injures, and aside from 2010, he was putting up decent power numbers given his inconsistent playing time and at-bats.

      If Blanks is such a non-prospect and brings nothing to the table, then would Billy Beane of all people part with his #17 prospect? Either Blanks is a turd, or Herrera is not what he’s being advertised to be as a prospect. You can’t have it both ways. Josh Byrnes will NEVER get the better end of any deal involving Billy Beane. Unless I see the outfielder in San Diego before rosters expand in September, I’ll believe this deal was a dud from the word go. The Padres are so desperate for power and run-producers, you have to give the few guys that CAN hit the ball out of the ball park every chance to do so. Stocking up on more pitching isn’t going to help this team.

      Responses to second set of points:
      Answer to #1 point:
      A. On this point, I will agree with you. But, I will also state that signing Benoit to replace Gregorson, and then the possibility of dealing Smith? Not a great tactical approach if you are trying to build a lineup. It goes back to the increase in payroll. Byrnes didn’t have to trade Gregorson for Smith. He could’ve done his due diligence, and signed a bat or two to improve the lineup production. Smith is a platoon outfielder.

      Answer to #2 point:
      A. I’m not going to sit here and reward Byrnes for a trade that has yet to fully play itself out. In the early returns, it appears the Padres have gotten the better end of the deal. Let us wait, and see how the entire deal works out for both sides before we award victory or defeat.

      Answer to #3 point:
      A. While re-signing Street was smart, what good is a closer if you can rarely get him the ball? His first year in San Diego, he continued to deal with nagging injuries, appearing in only 40 games. 20+ saves is far from elite, and in his second year, he had an ERA of 2.70, which is relatively high for a closer. I do agree, he should be an All-Star this year, but again, Byrnes is putting the cart before the horse. Saving 40 games when you only win 70 because of a lack of offense? Again, that is on Mr. Byrnes, not a reliever he signed or didn’t sign.

      Answer to #4 point:
      A. I wouldn’t quite call Dale Thayer a scrap heap guy in the same sense as the washed up bums you are saying I shouldn’t have mentioned like Wells, or Kotsay. Thayer had all of a whopping 26 innings pitched at the big league level when he came to San Diego, and he didn’t even earn rookie status until his second big league team, and in his age-30 season. He’s a serviceable middle reliever-and is replaceable tomorrow. Once again, the point of mentioning Wells, and company, is that they were signed to fill larger wholes than what should have ever been expected of them. It’s about poor roster construction, which Byrnes has shown not only in San Diego, but his previous stop in Arizona as well.

      Answer to #5 point:
      A. I will go back to the Gregorson-for-Smith deal here. Benoit was an unnecessary signing. Smith wasn’t and still isn’t, the impact bat that the Padres needed coming into this season. Byrnes could’ve kept Gregorson, kept the money he threw down the black hole on Josh Johnson, and signed a pair of decent bats to get this offense moving. The Benoit signing is a moot point, since it never should’ve happened.

      Answer to #6 point:
      A. The Padres have three players in Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects. Renfroe at #80, Matt Wisler at #44, and Max Fried at #53. Byrnes drafted two of the three, and I’m positive he had input on the other one (Wisler). The problem? His best system bat is sitting at Advanced Single-A. Do you know how many low system bats look like sure things, that won’t get past Triple-A, and could become in your eyes, the next Kyle Blanks? Even the Yankees, who have one of the worst systems in baseball, have impact bats at the lower levels of the minors. Two drafts is plenty to replenish a farm system, especially where the Padres have been drafting. Instead, Byrnes continues to focus on pitching, pitching, pitching. We get it already. Petco is a pitcher’s park, but you do need some bats. If he isn’t going to draft bats, and wants to replenish his farm with arms, then he HAS to spend his increased payroll on free agent bats. If can’t be all one way, and no attention paid to the other end of the spectrum.

      Answer to your final thoughts:
      A. To put the onus of disaster on Kevin Towers, and stating that because of his actions, Byrnes and Hoyer had to “overcompensate” is simply passing the buck. While Towers had some poor drafts at the end of his run in San Diego, it has been Byrnes and Hoyer before them that have failed to use the Theo Epstein model of success to rebuild a sinking ship. Epstein added low cost pieces that augmented and improved the overall roster. While he was doing that, he rebuilt not one, but two farms systems into some of the elite systems in baseball during his tenure. For Byrnes and Hoyer to be labeled disciples of the mighty Theo, they have sure failed to live up to expectations. To quote a funny movie, Multiplicity: “You know when you make a copy of a copy, it’s not as sharp as…well…the original?” That’s what Byrnes is. Hoyer would be in the same exact boat in Chicago if Theo wasn’t there to hold his hand. Until both Byrnes and Bud Black are shown the door, this franchise will continue to go backwards, I don’t care how much money you throw at the problem. They can’t keep up with the big market teams, so they have to be smarter and more diligent with their farm system and free agent signings.

      Again, thank you for taking the time to respond to my piece. It shows how passionate of a fan you are for the Padres. I thoroughly enjoy friendly, knowledgeable exchanges with readers!

      • DaveP

        Billy – thanks for response. I always enjoy a well thought baseball argument even if we don’t agree. I need to call you on 2 points on your response. You call Smith just a platoon player. This platoon player is having the 11th best offensive season in baseball. He almost certainly will regress but he still is providing excellent value. I easily could call Gregerson is just a middle reliever. Like Smith, he is having a good year filling a void on the A’s. This looks like a rare trade that made both teams better.

        On the “Byrnes will NEVER get the better end of any deal involving Billy Beane” comment. I cite the Tyson Ross trade as proof that that statement just isn’t close to being true. Ross has been a servicable starter with upside while Parrino and Werner were absolutely valueless. Beane is an excellent GM but he does make mistakes.

        • http://westcoastyankees-theblog.blogspot.com/ Billy Brost

          Same to you Dave! It’s always fun. Thanks for following us and please be sure to check back in often!