Arizona's owners bear the burden

Updated: July 2, 2010, 2:11 PM ET
By Buster Olney

The decision to hire A.J. Hinch as manager was a risk for Arizona general manager Josh Byrnes because Hinch had no experience, and even if Hinch showed signs he might be the next Bobby Cox, the choice was like going all-in in poker.

If the Diamondbacks won, Byrnes' selection of Hinch would be hailed all over the place. But if the Diamondbacks did not win immediately, if they drifted toward the bottom half of the NL West, then the Arizona players would never buy in -- sources say they did not -- and the hiring of Hinch might dynamite Byrnes' standing with the people he worked for. The choice of Hinch became the prism through which everything Byrnes did was viewed, and it obscured all the good things he had done before that.

And so after the Diamondbacks went 89-123 under Hinch in little more than a year, the Arizona ownership decided to fire Hinch and Byrnes in a Thursday night massacre -- despite the fact that Byrnes' contract is longer than that of a U.S. president but not quite as long as that of a Supreme Court justice.

Hinch and Byrnes become the fall guys for a Diamondbacks team that has performed woefully the last couple of seasons, but the changes also reflect the panicky and desperate nature of the current Arizona leadership.