Doug: The Eric Byrnes throw
The mailbag completely filled up Thursday on one subject: Eric Byrnes.
Every e-mail can be divided into three categories:
1) I'm being too hard on Byrnes. It's the D-backs fault they gave him the contract. Just send him to the minors.
Eric Byrnes turned down the first few exstension offers during the 2007 season. He had no problem going to the media and make his case that he wanted to stay but the D-backs needed to step up. His agent continually let it leak of how happy Byrnes would be in SF.
I find it hypocritical for athletes to take their case public to convince fans their team is cheap and won't spend to win, then wants to complain about the way they're treated by fans and media when they don't produce. You wanted the money but you don't want the responsibility that comes with being the highest paid position player.
You can't send a veteran down to the minors without his approval. If D-backs tried to send Byrnes to Reno, he would have to clear waivers. Any team could claim Byrnes. You may think that would be great but the D-backs still owe him his money. The team that claims him would only have to pay him around $175,000 (it's a pro-rated portion of the MLB minimum) for the this year and, if they kept him, $330,000 for next year. The D-Backs would still be on the hook for the remaining $15 million.
If you can get Byrnes to come to an agreement to go away for around $9 million, the D-Backs would save $6 million and Byrnes would get a huge up-front check and then he could go anywhere else and get a fresh start.
2) Thank you for bringing the hammer against a player on your team and a team on your station.
Although I'm human and appreciate the compliment, you can drop the "on your station" reference. This hints that I'm some kind of pawn for the teams. If this is what you already think, you're lying to yourself. How about this for a crazy suggestion: maybe I'm just right sometimes and maybe I'm wrong sometimes.
I come up with my opinion of what teams do based on years in this business and hours spent one-on-one with people in each of the sports to learn the game from the inside. Then I talk to different people in the organizations. I talk to our local teams a lot. Of course they try to influence my opinion. Sometimes they inform me on some aspect of the subject matter I'm missing and it does affect my thinking. I'm not ashamed of that because I think it goes to doing homework before I go on the air. Other times I feel like they're just spinning the facts and I thank them for their time while using none of the information.
3) I heard you talking about Byrnes' error last night (Wednesday) but I haven't seen it. Can you please put it on-line.