Parting of ways best for Byrnes, D-backs
Like a bad marriage, the relationship between Eric Byrnes and the D-backs needed to come to an end and the sooner the better.
Initially I thought releasing Byrnes before Spring Training was not the right choice. Instead, it seemed better to have him come to camp and who knew maybe he would find the magic from 2007 and either play his way into a contributing spot on the roster or even improve his trade value to the point where some team might be willing to pay $1 million of the money he was owed for 2010.
In case you missed my tweet (@dbackswriter) on Wednesday, Byrnes was officially released after being designated for assignment last Friday.
The acquisition of Adam LaRoche changed my thinking. It pushed Conor Jackson back to left field and Gerardo Parra into a fourth outfielder. That meant that the best Byrnes could hope for was to come to camp and win the fifth outfielder spot.
In talking to both parties this past week that clearly was not in anyone’s best interests.
While I don’t think Byrnes would have intentionally been a distraction, I think the very fact that a player set to earn $11 million was trying to win a fifth outfield spot would have been a distraction in and of itself.
So for a team that needs to quickly gather round a young manager in his first Spring Training, it probably was best that the Byrnes question not hover over A.J. Hinch throughout camp.
From Brynes’ standpoint the release is a good thing. Rather than have to worry about coming getting enough time during the spring to win a fifth spot in the outfield or get released near the end of camp when most teams have their rosters already set, he has the next few weeks to find the right fit.
That essentially is what Byrnes and his agent are doing right now. Trying to find a team that will give him an invite to Spring Training with a chance to win a platoon or fourth outfield spot. And, well, he does still get his $11 million.