Chat with Josh Byrnes
Byrnes was just 35 when named to his first GM job with Arizona.
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, San Diego Padres general manager Josh Byrnes stops by to chat as his team gets prepared for spring training.
Byrnes joined the Padres organization in December 2010 as senior vice president, baseball operations and then assumed GM duties in Oct. 2011. Prior to joining San Diego he spent five seasons as GM of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Byrnes began his front office career in 1994 with the Cleveland Indians, before going to the Colorado Rockies to become the assistant GM. After three years in Colorado, he moved on to the Boston Red Sox prior to his appointment with the Diamondbacks.
Send your questions now and join Byrnes Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:59 PM)
San Diego Padres GM Josh Byrnes will be here at the top of the hour to take your questions! Keith Law just ranked the Padres No. 1 in his organizational rankings.
Buzzmaster (1:59 PM)
Josh is here!
how hard is it to build a franchise that is never a big player in the open market and instead has to build from within? scouting players correctly has to be the hardest part
Josh Byrnes (2:00 PM)
Without a doubt. Teams with lower payrolls have to build a team with a talent base in order to be competitive. I think we've built up a good system. We can manage our roster without depending too much on the open market.
Tom (San Diego)
Now that the Padres have one of the best farm systems, what will be your strategy going forward-- locking up young talent through arb/FA years or trading/letting talent walk to keep feeding farm system? What influences your decision?
Josh Byrnes (2:02 PM)
Going back to my early days in Cleveland, we signed players to multi year deals. That concept makes sense if you have core players It helps you plan for future years. It helps you identify with the fans. Now that we have a lot of good players, we definitely want to build off of that group.
As a Cubs fan, I'd like to wish you the best of luck with Andrew Cashner. He seems like he has a lot of potential and it is always frustrating to see young, talented guys get hurt. Do you see him in a starting role or coming out of the bullpen?
Josh Byrnes (2:03 PM)
I think that's to be determined. I think there's a chance we view him as a future starter. For now, I think we view him as a reliever. We just had a voluntary camp here in San Diego and he threw the ball great. I think he's healthy and ready for spring training.
Where do you see the payroll being in the next few years?
Josh Byrnes (2:04 PM)
I think it's already moved up from 2011 to where it will be in 2012. Having worked with Jeff Moorad for a number of years, he's about doing things in order. We put our resources into our minor leagues. Now we're in the mode of realizing the fruits of our labor. We want to have a very good major league team, backed by a good minor league system.
Michael (San Diego)
How does the new CBA affect what the Padres will do internationally, and do you expect to expand international operations at all?
Josh Byrnes (2:05 PM)
I was just down there last week and Randy Smith has done a great job overseeing our Latin America program. The teams that will perform the best under the new rules are the ones that will scout the best. We've never been that involved in the bigger bonus guys in Latin America. I don't think it will effect our approach that much, the new deal, but we'll see.
Does Petco's dimensions come into play when you speak with potential free agents? Hitters or pitchers.
Josh Byrnes (2:06 PM)
I think it has an effect. It's not just the dimensions, but in a lot of the California ballparks the ball doesn't carry as well. It's good for breaking in young pitchers. It is what it is. We like to focus on the advantages of it and build our team based on that.
Matthew (Columbia, NJ)
Josh, what is the hardest part of being a GM?
Josh Byrnes (2:07 PM)
Wow...there are many. I would say losing is very frustrating. We're all competitive in these jobs. What we've done here with the Padres, sometimes it's hard trading short term for the long term projections. When you make moves like that sometimes they're unpopular, so you have to believe in what you're doing.
you made a lot of big moves this off season such as getting Street, Quentin, and dealing Latos. Are you looking to compete for the division championship this year or are you stocking for the future?
Josh Byrnes (2:09 PM)
I think we definitely didn't want to do anything to cut into our long term interests with all of the work we've done there. But we also didn't want to concede 2012. We got some guys in their 20s that we feel can help us win now. The NL West is always unpredictable. We can contend and compete, because this division rarely plays out like on paper.
What are some of the similar challenges that you are facing in San Diego from your years as GM of the Diamondbacks? Is there an advantage to being a GM in the same division, versus having the same role in the AL or say the NL Central/ East?
Josh Byrnes (2:10 PM)
Yeah, it's a real committment to build off the foundation, that's from the ownership to the scouts and development people. It takes a commitment. The D-backs had some early success and then struggled. It is nice to go to spring training knowing that you'll see a lot of good players.
Where do you see Cory Spangenberg in two years?
Josh Byrnes (2:11 PM)
I think a lot of our 2011 draft, we took a lot of middle of the infield guys like Spangenberg. He's a left handed hitter. He can hit, run. A chance to have an offensive player in the middle of the field. He was attractive to us and had a great summer.
Billy Beane was played by Brad Pitt. Who's gonna play you when the movie is made about you after the Pads win a couple rings?
Josh Byrnes (2:12 PM)
Joel (New York)
What other team(s) in the NL West do you feel with be very strong this year?
Josh Byrnes (2:12 PM)
I think all have a chance. Arizona will be hard to beat. In this division, generally all five are close going in, it's a matter of who stays hot and who pitches well as to who wins the division.
Josh Byrnes (2:13 PM)
Our San Antonio group pitched well. They're all young. They're all coming to camp as very viable guys. Joe Whelan is a little bit ahead. But they're all very good.
Bill (San Diego)
Which of the starting pitchers in the Padres farm system are closest to being ready to start in the majors?
Do you think we'll see Kelly, Erlin and Weiland in the big leagues before September call-ups this year?
Josh Byrnes (2:15 PM)
Yeah, I think that's possible. We do have some depth. But they're coming to camp and our coaches have seen these guys and they want to make an impression. They all have at least three pitches so they can get through a lineup.
Ray L. (Santiago)
How does the future at shortstop for the San Diego Padres look?
Josh Byrnes (2:15 PM)
I think that's a good question. We have Jason Bartlett under contract this year with an option for 2013. Peterson who we took in the 2011 draft who hasn't played as much baseball as most, but we are excited about his future.
Jason (St Louis)
Have you ever done the proverbial hang the phone up on a bad offer?
Josh Byrnes (2:16 PM)
Maybe with an agent, but not with a GM.
Bryan (Salt Lake City)
How do you evaluate what players you want to keep long term, and what guys you want to showcase for possible trades/picks later on?
Josh Byrnes (2:17 PM)
We evaluate our own pretty extensively. We spend a lot of time ranking them, talking about them. We want to get more offense on the field for the Padres, in the middle of the field. A lot of time the keepers are the guys that perform the best, but also the reliability that we're looking for in a long term player.
What is you realistic expectation for the Pads in the NL West this season?
Josh Byrnes (2:18 PM)
I'm going to put a limit on what we can do. I've seen plenty of teams in this division winning int he 70s to winning 90 or more. I don't want to put a limit on it. We're going to camp thinking we can compete in this division.
Josh Byrnes (2:20 PM)
As an organization, we're honored to get this ranking. A lot of people deserve the credit. From Jeff Moorad and my predecessor Jed Hoyer and everyone else who's worked so hard. I know a lot of people are very proud today.