Byrnes is reportedly “under heavy consideration” to be the next GM of the Detroit Tigers
Yesterday, Lynn Henning of The Detroit News reported that the Detroit Tigers could name their next general manager by the end of the month. He also listed three people that he believed to be “under heavy consideration” for the position. One of the names he mentioned was current Dodgers senior VP of Baseball Operations Josh Byrnes. In this piece, we’ll tell you some things you should know about him.
Byrnes has been a somewhat popular name amongst Tigers fans for couple of reason. First, he’s worked with A.J. Hinch twice in the past: with the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he was the GM and Hinch was the manager, and with the San Diego Padres, where Byrnes was again the GM and Hinch held a role in the front office.
The second reason is that he currently works in the Dodgers front office. The Detroit Tigers could poach pretty much anybody that holds a role in that front office and it would be considered a home run hire. We listed a couple other of Andrew Friedman’s lieutenants that the Tigers could hire as part of a “dream hire” article a couple weeks back.
Byrnes started his baseball scouting career in the mid ’90s with the Cleveland Indians, where he was eventually promoted to director of scouting. He was name the assistant GM of the Colorado Rockies in 1999, and was named to the same role with the Boston Red Sox in 2003, where he worked alongside Theo Epstein.
Byrnes was the GM in Arizona from 2006-10. From the get-go, it was obvious that he has an eye for talent. In 2006, he drafted Max Scherzer, then he drafted Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, and Adam Eaton in 2009. He of course trade Scherzer to the Tigers in 2009. He later said he regrets making that trade.
The Diamondbacks had some success in Byrnes’ tenure, despite a low payroll. They won the NL West in 2007 and made it to the NLCS. They won the division again in 2011, and even though it was after Byrnes had departed the organization, it was a roster that he had largely constructed.
Hinch came into the picture in 2009, when he was moved from the front office to the dugout as he was named the team’s manager. Hinch was 89-123 in parts of two seasons as Arizona’s manager. Hinch had said in the past that he wasn’t ready to be a manager at that time.
Byrnes was fired by the Diamondbacks midway through the 2010 season. In 2011, Byrnes was named GM of the San Diego Padres, where he once again showcased his eye for talent. In just three drafts, he drafted players such as Trea Turner, Max Fried and Hunter Renfroe.
Unfortunately for Byrnes, he got a bit of a raw deal in San Diego. The Padres got new ownership before the 2014 season, and when the Padres performed below expectations, ownership let Byrnes go. Once again, Byrnes wasn’t given a lot of leeway in terms of payroll. And of course, the Padres immediately hired A.J. Preller following Byrnes’ dismissal, and quickly overhauled the roster with big trades and marquee free agents.
While some Tigers fans may not want a retread to lead the team, Byrnes hasn’t really gotten a fair shot in either of his two terms as GM of other teams. He had to work with low payrolls and always fell out of favor with ownership. While Tigers fans may want a fresh face, Byrnes isn’t your typical retread.
Byrnes was reportedly a candidate for the Mets GM opening last season, and interviewed with the Phillies for their opening in 2020. He still appears to be a highly coveted executive in the baseball world.
One of the things that Henning mentioned in the article is that Byrnes may be the one to beat in this search, which seems quite plausible given the context. Is he the Tigers’ guy? Only time will tell.