Diamondbacks release Byrnes, eat $11 million

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Arizona designated Eric Byrnes for assignment over the weekend and officially released the 34-year-old outfielder this afternoon. Byrnes was in the final season of a three-year, $30 million contract, so the Diamondbacks are eating $11 million by letting him go.
Byrnes signed that deal after a career-year in 2007 that saw him hit .286/.353/.460 with 21 homers and 50 steals in 160 games, but since then he’s been healthy enough to play a grand total of 136 games in two seasons while batting just .218/.271/.382.
He’s highly unlikely to ever land another starting job, but Byrnes should be able to find a bench gig somewhere now that he’s available for the minimum salary. If healthy he remains a strong defensive corner outfielder capable of playing center field in a pinch and still has reasonable pop in his bat when spotted against left-handed pitching, so for $400,000 instead of $30 million he’s somewhat useful.

Last night was the highest rated World Series Game 1 since 2009

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 25:  Roberto Perez #55 of the Cleveland Indians hits a three-run home run during the eighth inning against the Chicago Cubs in Game One of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on October 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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Major League Baseball and Fox won’t openly root for any specific team to make the World Series. But you can bet they’re pretty happy with the Cubs making it thanks to the ratings they’re delivering.

The Indians win over the Chicago in Game 1 last night drew a 12.6 overnight rating. That means, on average, 12.6 percent of the TVs in the largest 56 markets were tuned in to the game. That’s the best World Series first game rating since 2009 when the Phillies-Yankees game drew a 13.8 overnight rating. Last night’s rating was up 20% from last year’s 10.5 between the Royals-Mets and up 58% from the Giants-Royals in 2014.

Now the rooting, however quiet it may be, will continue: for the Cubs to make a series out of this so as to keep the magic numbers coming.

Twins hire Rangers assistant Thad Levine to be their new GM

BOSTON, MA - June 4: The Minnesota Twins logo is seen during the fifth inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on June 4, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
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Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine has been hired as the Twins’ next General Manager. It has not been made official, but multiple outlets are reporting the hire. Levine will join Derek Falvey, who was named the Twins’ new president of baseball operations last month.

Levine has been the Rangers assistant GM since the 2005 season, working as GM Jon Daniels’ second in command. He’ll still be second in command in Minnesota, but with an elevated title as is the style of the day. He previously worked with the Rockies. He has, according to various reports, been conversant in statistical analysis as well as traditional scouting and player development. As is also the style of the day.