The Eric Byrnes show has been cancelled, mercifully, leaving fans wishing that his contract could be cancelled just as easily. The show was a constant reminder to fans that 15% of the team’s payroll is being used for an oft injured bench player hitting .214, essentially taking the Diamondbacks payroll from $73 million to $63 million, which would put them in the bottom seven in MLB payroll. It was salt in the wounds of the Diamondbacks faithful, who, while watching their team likely be on the losing end of a game, also had to be subjected to Eric Byrnes Show promos during commercial breaks. So while the bullpen was collapsing or the offense was being shut down, we also got to see clips of our $10 million dollar man playing mister mom, cleaning up goat crap at the zoo, or riding a jet ski.
To me the cancellation of that embarrassing TV show is symbolic more than anything. This is the beginning of the cleansing process. The staring lineup of the team next year will look very different than the starting lineup of the overachieving 2007 team, with only two players who started the majority of games that season expected to start next year as well. The pitching staff may or may not have one player from the 07 rotation, depending on what happens to Brandon Webb.
The team is on the right track, as far as position players go, finally starting to gain legitimacy after what has been proven to be a fluke season where they won many games by just a run or two and were driven by the strength of their pitching staff. Justin Upton has emerged as a star. Miguel Montero has shown some of the potential that we’ve heard he had all along. Mark Reynolds is showing himself to be a legitimate big league slugger. Gerardo Parra is looking like he will be a fixture in the outfield. It’s up to Josh Byrnes to build on this base and get a one or two veteran players that can provide leadership as well as on field production.
There is a good chance that the Diamondbacks will miss the playoffs in 2010 as well, but at least we no longer have to see an organization’s mistake every time we watch a game and wonder what could have been if they had an extra $10 million dollars to spend.