Thursday, October 20, 2011

Arizona West

With Josh Byrnes set to take over as general manager, the Padres' front office makeover is best understood by residents of Pacific Beach, La Jolla and Del Mar.

The Zonies are taking over.

Just as Arizonans flood San Diego's coastal neighborhoods every summer, former Diamondbacks executives have over-run Padres HQ.

At this rate, we might see cactus in the bullpens.

Don't sweat it, Padres fans -- it's a dry heat.

Joking aside, the overhaul up top, which dates to 2009, is more about human nature than a desire to escape searing temperatures. Power brokers in baseball, like those in other industries, often place "their people" in key positions. It doesn't always happen immediately, but it usually happens.

First to follow CEO Jeff Moorad from Phoenix on the westbound Interstate 8 was his former president, Tom Garfinkel.

That two key members of Moorad's inner circle, Josh Byrnes and A.J. Hinch, remained in Phoenix owed likely to the hefty contracts that bound them to the team. Arizona's last-place finish in 2009 began to loosen those ties. When a miserable first half to the 2010 season cost Byrnes and Hinch their jobs, they were as destined for San Diego as the summer tourists. Byrnes, in fact, was at Petco Park one week after his dismissal. Jobs with the Padres were created within a few months for him and Hinch, Arizona's former farm director whom Byrnes had thrust into the manager's job. Promotions into vice-presidencies soon followed.

The same habit of a baseball boss acting to reunite with "his guys" created the GM vacancy that Byrnes will soon fill. Jed Hoyer, several reports indicate, will join his former mentor and boss with the Red Sox, Theo Epstein, the presumptive head of baseball operations for the Cubs. A scouting overseer will also be needed if Hoyer's assistant GM, Jason McLeod, departs, as expected by this blog, to work for his friend Epstein. Whether Hinch fills that role or not, he seems assured of residency in Moorad's inner circle. Byrnes is known to also admire scout Tom Allison, who ran his drafts in Arizona.

Now that Moorad has put the band back together with help from Epstein, what kind of music should we expect to hear?

The Dbacks of Moorad/Byrnes were one-hit wonders, winning the National League West in 2007. As Byrnes told this blog last month, Arizona's teams in 2009-10 "stunk," yet Byrnes's deeds and Moorad's investments also contributed to the NL West title won this year by the Snakes.

Byrnes won't have as many payroll dollars to spend as he did in Phoenix. (UDPATE) As to whether the Padres will get compensation from the Cubs for the loss of Hoyer, Moorad declined to say today. "We're still working on things," he told me.


  1. This is why we can't have nice things.

  2. What a mess! Given Byrnes track record in Arizona, why wouldn't they at least cast the net and try to interview interested parties?

    I guess one good thing about the Moorad/Byrnes relationship is that Brynes presumably won't be using the Padres job as a stepping stone.