Lets take an objective, simplified look at new Padres GM Josh Byrnes‘ career as a general manager. Above is a graphical timeline showing the Diamondbacks’ farm system as ranked by Baseball America, and the Diamondback’s team Pythagorean Record Rank (as calculated by Baseball-Reference) compared to the rest of the major leagues.
The graph is meant to simply and concretely stand on its own, so I’ll leave the interpretation to you.
Just kidding, no I won’t. Here’s what I think: the Diamondbacks did not see nearly enough major league success in exchange for a farm system that tanked so badly, and I don’t see where Jeff Moorad‘s high level of confidence in Josh Byrnes comes from.
Meanwhile, Jed Hoyer brought the Padres’ farm from near the bottom to the top, and was allowed to leave along with draft guru Jason McLeod after Jeff Moorad refused to match the Chicago Cubs’ contract offer to Hoyer.
With a payroll as low as the Padres’, and after losing their top two (arguably three) talent evaluators this offseason, the new regime has an uphill battle. As we’ve all heard, a “system” of scouts and processes is in place now. How long does that system last once the head is chopped off? What evidence is there that Josh Byrnes knows how to build, or at least maintain such a system? I would argue that the evidence shows the opposite, as Josh Byrnes decimated his previous farm club. To be fair, I’ll be watching the young Diamondback players Byrnes assembled before leaving to see if that trend reversed.
For a more in depth analysis of Byrnes in Arizona, see Geoff Young’s excellent piece at Baseball Prospectus. He’s higher on Byrnes than I am, which is an excellent sign considering Geoff’s experience and the level of detail in his analysis. I hope there’s more to Josh Byrnes than the big picture results he has shown with the Diamondbacks.