UPDATE: Byrnes has been designated for assignment.
10:00 A.M.: The Diamondbacks need to make room on the roster for Adam LaRoche, and according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, they’re most likely going to do it by releasing Eric Byrnes.
Byrnes’ deal has to be one of the more spectacular contract disasters in recent history. Signed towards the end of the 2007season, it was a three-year, $30 million deal with a no-trade clause.
And it’s not just a disaster because he’s been injured for the majority of its duration. It even made no sense at the time. Byrnes was in the midst of perhaps his “greatest” season when he signed it, but even then he was only hitting .286/.353./460. His OPS+ that year revealed him to be a slightly above average hitter overall, but of course he plays left field, and that’s a position that typically calls for more than a slightly above average bat.
Maybe it’s just a holdover from those dark days at the law firm when I used to fantasize about winning the lottery and stuff, but I’ve always had a place in my heart for guys like Byrnes and Darren Driefort and the like who were paid gigantic sums and produced almost nothing thereafter. It almost makes you think “hey, I could have done that.”
The Tigers just announced that they will not be bringing Brad Ausmus back as manager in 2018. His contract was going to be up at the end of this season and they have decided not to renew it. Ausmus and his staff will manage the club for the final week of the season.
In the press release announcing the move, Tigers GM Al Avila said “[a]s we transition the ballclub in a new direction, I feel it’s best that we have a new approach and a fresh start with the manager position.” He went on to praise Ausmus for “doing an admirable job under difficult circumstances, especially this season,” a clear reference to the club’s decision at mid-season to blow things up. Justin Verlander and J.D. Martinez were traded in July and August, as were some more minor players. The club is clearly embarking on a lengthy rebuild of which Ausmus, who was brought in four years ago to lead a contending team, will not be a part.
In his four seasons at the helm the Tigers are 312-325. He won 90 games and the AL Central in his first season in 2014, but the Tigers were swept out of the ALDS in three games. In the past three seasons they finished fifth, second and will either finish in fourth or fifth this year. Injuries and poor bullpens have been the biggest problem, but clearly this Tigers team was supposed to win more over the past four years.
It’s unclear what direction the Tigers will take in their managerial search, but it’s clear they’re going to go outside of the organization, as Avila said in his statement that the status of the current coaching staff will be contingent on the wishes of whatever new manager they hire.
Happy trails, Brad Ausmus. Baseball’s Most Handsome Manager is now Baseball’s Most Handsome Unemployed coach.
Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports that the Mets are going to give Noah Syndergaard the start for tomorrow’s game. But here’s the hitch: he’ll only get one inning and then Matt Harvey will enter in the second inning and go from there. Harvey was originally scheduled to take the start. Syndergaard, of course, has been out since April. Harvey has been pitching under the loosest definition of the term.
I can see, if they are intent on putting Syndergaard in a real game, having him start one rather than come in out of the bullpen for purposes of preparation and routine. At the same time, however, if he’s only able to throw one inning at this point, with a little over a week left in the season, what’s the point of him pitching at all? As for Harvey relieving: he’s kind of a mess right now. Is he someone whose routine you really want to throw off?
I guess this doesn’t hurt anything — at least as long as Syndergaard doesn’t hurt himself throwing in a meaningless game at the end of the season — but it certainly is odd. It makes me wonder if this is some sort of “Dave” or “Moon Over Parador” situation in which the Mets are just trying to create the impression that Syndergaard is still alive.
Could Kevin Klein pitch an inning? Richard Dreyfuss?