We heard some speculation last month that Padres manager Bud Black could be fired after their disappointing start to the season, but it turns out that general manager Josh Byrnes could be the first one to go.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal hears from major league sources that Byrnes’ relationship with ownership has “deteriorated” and that he is under the “most scrutiny” for the team’s current state. If the team does fire him, assistant general manager A.J. Hinch is considered the likely interim replacement. Of course, Hinch has close ties with Byrnes going back to their time together with the Diamondbacks.
The timing on this situation is delicate for multiple reasons. First, the Padres don’t want to appear insensitive following the death of Hall of Famer and franchise icon Tony Gwynn. His memorial service isn’t until next Thursday. Also, the Padres are one of just a handful of obvious sellers in the trade market. Whether it’s Byrnes, Hinch, or someone else making the decisions, names like Huston Street, Carlos Quentin, Chase Headley, and Ian Kennedy all figure to be in play before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Interestingly, Rosenthal makes the case that the Padres could do well to deal staff ace Andrew Cashner, who has rejected overtures about a contract extension and is under team through 2016.
Byrnes, who is signed through 2017, was promoted to GM under the previous ownership group in October of 2011. The Padres had back-to-back 76-wins seasons in 2012 and 2013 and sit at just 32-42 this season behind the league’s worst offense.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.