The man is right too often to be this wrong.
I think Josh Byrnes is a good GM. Look at how many things he has done right. I could go on forever but just this year there’s Parra, the decision to leave a struggling Upton in the line-up, keeping Roberts on the roster, not giving up on Zavada, firing the hitting coach, signing Lopez.
Whenever we’re frustrated with the decisions of a coach or GM, it’s too easy to forget how many decisions were correct leading up to a mistake. All of us–fans and media–expect the decisions to work out and then don’t give proper credit when they do. Although it’s unfair, I don’t apologize for that fact either because these people are highly compensated for their work. They understood the pressure before they got to this point in their career. More importantly, they’ve worked most of their lives to earn each promotion and wanted to go higher. Therefore, they’re getting the credit or blame they deserve.
On Tuesday, Josh Byrnes was on Doug & Wolf. I asked him what was he seeing that the rest of us aren’t when it comes to the performance of Jon Rauch. If you didn’t hear it, click here.
His answer drove me crazy. Josh Byrnes needs to wake up to the fact that the Rauch trade was a failure. I’m not saying this from a holier than thou position. I was completely for the trade when it happened. Other teams were openly complaining that the Nationals gave away Rauch. There were even some scouts who brought up the Greg Popovich trade committee the Spurs coach wanted to start to block over-whelmingly one-sided trades. They were right. It was one-sided, in favor of the Dodgers.
Jon Rauch was one of the major contributors to last year’s melt down. Right now, he is the farthest thing from a major league pitcher. He rarely gets outs and the hits he gives up are line shots. Byrnes says the results just aren’t indicative of the performance. There’s no way that statement is made if honesty is the goal. I’m not calling Byrnes dishonest. Lying to yourself shows you’re misinformed or you simply have your head in your butt.
No one ever says, “Man, that guy’s unlucky,” because he gave up a broken bat flare. Rauch gets raked on almost every outing. The Diamondbacks have lowered the bar for him so much that we celebrate one out at a time. This isn’t appropriate at the high school level. In the majors it’s a clear case of a man not wanting to admit that he’s wrong.
Every time the D-Backs give the ball to Jon Rauch, they are saying to fans, media, and–most importantly, Rauch’s teammates–today’s game isn’t important. We accept the probable outcome of a loss because of a fleeting dream that Rauch will right himself despite costing the team a division championship two years in a row.
If you’re a pitcher in Reno, how do you feel right now? No matter what you’ve done, the organization is saying to you, “If you were only as good as Jon Rauch.” How can Rauch be advocated by the organization?
Josh, you are good at your job and one terrible trade won’t bring you down. Denial will.