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.
Rick Morissey of the Chicago Sun-Times published an article on Sunday giving a bit of insight into Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein. When Epsten was younger, he dabbled in sportswriting, but quickly realized the trade wasn’t for him.
As Morissey details, when Epstein was 19 years old writing for Yale’s student newspaper, he wrote an article suggesting the school’s football coach should be fired during what would become a 3-7 season. Epstein was told during the meeting that one writer would defend the coach and one would call for his job. “It was a lesson in the way that the world of journalism sometimes works. It was an eye-opener for me. I regret it, and I’ve happily moved on.”
Epstein continued, “I realized I didn’t want to be a sportswriter when I was interning with the Orioles back in ’92, ’93, ’94. I did do a lot of media-relations stuff, and I saw that the life of a sportswriter is pretty lonely. You kind of work by yourself, sit there by yourself in the press box, go back to the hotel bar. Not to generalize.” He added, “But I really respect writing and respect sportswriters.”
He’s not wrong, and he seems to have found his calling as a front office executive. His Cubs are back in the World Series for the first time since 1945.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis tweeted on Sunday, “Got a little too close to [Francisco Lindor] during the celebration!! Freak accident but should be good to go by Tuesday! #cantkeepmeoutofthisgame!”
Per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, manager Terry Francona said Kipnis is dealing with a low ankle sprain, but he’s expected to be ready to go when the World Series begins on Tuesday. Kipnis went through fielding drills on Sunday.
Kipnis is hitting .167/.219/.367 with a pair of homers and four RBI in eight games this postseason.