The last place Arizona Diamondbacks have decided that now would be a great time to shake up middle management in the organization, firing doe-eyed young general manager Josh Byrnes, 40, and his cherub-faced sidekick, manager A.J. Hinch, 36. They'll be replaced by club VP for player personnel Jerry DiPoto, 42, and bench manager Kirk Gibson, 53. Byrnes, previously an underling to boy genius Theo Epstein in Boston, should land on his feet with ease in some advisory position with another forward-thinking team. Hinch, I'm not so sure about. He's the guy we knew nothing about when he was hired and barely had a year under his belt in the big boy seat before he was asked to leave. Politely, I'm sure.
The D-Backs, considered by some to be preseason contenders, sit a whopping 15 games behind first place San Diego (yeah, still feels weird to say that). Besides Edwin Jackson's slog of a no-hitter last week, it's been a sadsack season in the southwest, and I'm positive that our support of the D-Backs boycott is indirectly responsible. More directly responsible? Brandon Webb.
Webb, who is earning $8.5 million in 2010, has a grand total of one start in the past two seasons because of shoulder ouchies. From 2006 to 2008, fella won one Cy Young Award and finished as runner-up in two other votes. Webb went 56-25 over that span with his sinkerball inducing groundouts like a man on fire. But without his number one starter presence on the mound the past two years, the Diamondbacks have had to rely on the wild pitching stylings of recently acquired Dontrelle Willis and the offensive contributions of people like recently dismissed player Eric Byrnes. They've failed. So yeah, maybe Josh Byrnes deserved to get fired, giving so much money to his cousin Eric. Nepotism sucks.
As for new manager Kirk Gibson, we all love the guy for being gritty and wearing his stubble so proudly. Tigers fans, Dodgers fans, and people who hate Dennis Eckersley alike can testify to his heroism, but will he be a good manager? Who the heck knows? This isn't rocket science, it's managing a baseball team, perhaps the simplest job in all of professional sports besides TV analyst. Good managers land with good teams and sit back and let things play out. Bad managers get hired by the Pirates. Sure, we at Walkoff Walk will root for Kirk Gibson to succeed, but c'mon, the team he just inherited is made up of folks dumb enough to get stuck in a bathroom.