Josh Byrnes, Diamondbacks GM, has been much maligned for the moves he’s made of the past four years. Many fans would rather see a chimp on meth sitting in the GM seat than Byrnes. Some of the criticism is deserved, but much of it is not. When some of his major trades are reviewed it turns out they are not as bad as we might think or would like to believe. Here is a breakdown of some of the larger and more memorable moves that JB has made.
12/05 Troy Glaus and Sergio Santos for Miguel Batista and Orlando Hudson
Good trade. Since the trade Glaus averaged .260 and 28 home runs per year, decent power hitter numbers. He was traded by the Blue Jays after the 2007 season and has not played in 2009. Hudson was a team leader and offensively productive while he was here and saved the team a lot of money compared to Glaus’s 12 million dollar contract.
11/06 Johnny Estrada, Claudio Vargas and Greg Aquino for Doug Davis, Dana Eveland and Dave Krynzel
Good trade. Estrada and Aquino are no longer in baseball and Vargas has been either hurt or ineffective most of the time. Davis has had relative success in a Diamondbacks uniform and Dana Eveland was used to acquire Dan Haren.
12/07 Carlos Quentin for Chris Carter
Still to be determined. This is the one that everybody talks about and considers the largest black mark on Byrnes’s resume. Quentin was a high draft pick with seemingly unlimited potential, however he struggled during his games with the Diamondbacks despite dominating AAA. He also had problems staying healthy while he was here. He had a great 2008 season and was in line for MVP consideration until he broke his wrist in September.
However in the 2009 season he has not recaptured the previous season’s success. He has missed much of the season due to injury and has only hit .217 while healthy. He is still, in my opinion, unproven. Five healthy, productive months do not make him a great baseball player.
While Chris Carter is just another prospect the Diamondbacks had collected he was used in the Dan Haren trade. Even if Quentin was having the type of season this year that he had last year getting Haren does not make this trade as bad as it appears on the surface.
12/07 Dana Eveland, Carlos Gonzalez, Aaron Cunningham, Chris Carter, Brett Anderson and Greg Smith for Dan Haren and Connor Robertson
Great trade. The Diamondbacks gave up a lot of prospects, none of which have produced up to this point, and in return they received an ace quality pitcher in the running for the Cy Young award this year.
12/07 Traded Jose Valverde for Chris Burke, Chad Qualls and Juan Gutierrez
Equal trade. This is another one that received heavy criticism, but when you look at the production of the players involved it is not really that one sided. Jose Valverde led the league in saves in 2007 and had similar success in 2008 with the Astros. This year he has 11 saves and 4 blown saves pitched in 28 games 27.1 innings. Qualls had 2.81 ERA in 2008 and has a 3.38 this year. He has pitched 42.2 innings with 18 saves and 4 blown saves. A fairly equal trade, especially considering that Qualls makes about five million less than Valverde. I guess people were more disappointed that Qualls didn’t have a nickname like Papa Grande. I don’t know why Qualls couldn’t be Papa Grade Dos, he’s just as fat as Valverde.
07/08 Emilio Bonifacio for Jon Rauch
Looking better every day. Bonifacio was hailed as the second baseman of the future, and for the first few weeks of the 2009 season Diamondbacks fans were desperately wishing they had him back. Since then he has proved to be another over hyped prospect that has fallen short of expectations, batting only .251 with 82 strikeouts and a .932 fielding percentage, second worst among NL third baseman.
Conversely, the first six weeks of the season Jon Rauch was a guaranteed run for the opponent, but since then he has settled down considerably, posting a 2.08 ERA for the past two months. If asked right now who would you rather have between Rauch and Bonifacio, the clear option is Rauch. The fact that I would want Rauch over anyone is amazing; I think satan just got out the LL Bean catalog to get a new parka because suddenly it’s become unseasonably cool down there.
08/08 Dallas Buck, Micah Owings and Wilkin Castillo for Adam Dunn
Not a good trade. I do like that the Diamondbacks got a bat to answer the Dodgers acquisition of Manny Ramirez to try and salvage the 2008 division title. Unfortunately Dunn did not produce as much as they would have liked, and due to the free agent market turning they did not receive the compensatory draft picks that they were expecting. It didn’t turn out the Diamondbacks way but I do give them credit for trying.
07/09 Tony Pena for Brandon Allen
So far so good, Pena has an ERA over 10 and Allen has an average over .400 since the trade.
07/09 Felipe Lopez for two minor leaguers, names irrelevant.
Good, regardless of how well Lopez plays the rest of the season. Trading the lethargic free agent-to-be was a needed move.
Chris Young, signed to extension. Terrible signing. Young has got worse every year and should probably be playing in AAA if they had a viable replacement.
Eric Byrnes. Terrible. Like Young he has also got worse every year since the signing and he’s also had more injuries every year since the signing. A knee jerk emotional move designed to appease fans in the absence of Luis Gonzalez.
AJ Hinch. So far so bad. Hinch has a .438 winning percentage and his pensive approach has not won over the fans.