Gambo: Byrnes needs to step up
Apr 18, 2009, 8:40 PM | Updated: Jan 14, 2011, 4:21 pm
I just got done watching another Diamondbacks loss Friday night — they seem to be mounting and the season is only two weeks old — and I have to wonder how long the organization can continue to roll Eric Byrnes out there. In the top of the 9th down 2-0 with nobody out and Chris Young on first, Byrnes hit into a double play. He went 0-for-4 on the night and his batting average stands at a paltry .130. He has three hits in 23 at bats and his inability to get on base is killing this team.
Now Byrnes isn’t the only one that isn’t hitting. Justin Upton, Chris Young, Stephen Drew and Chris Snyder are all struggling at the plate too.
But Byrnes is the one making $10 million a year. Byrnes is the one collecting $30 million over three years. And so he is the one to take the bulk of the blame. That’s just the way it goes. And I get the feeling he can’t handle the heat that is in the kitchen right now. He was a no-show for the media following his game-winning hit against the Cardinals last week. He is apparently unhappy that he has been booed by the fans.
When you are the highest paid player on the team and you are not playing well criticism from fans and media is part of the territory. There is no rule in baseball that the hometown team can’t boo their own players. In fact I applaud those that do. Fans pay a good amount of money to go watch their team play and they have every right to let a player have it when he is not performing. And the more money you make the more you are going to hear it. That’s just reality. Byrnes shouldn’t expect the fans to cheer for him when he is constantly popping out, grounding out and striking out. This isn’t coach pitch baseball where everyone is a winner and after the game you hand out juice boxes and snacks, this is the major leagues.
The season is young but the Dbacks are reeling and if Byrnes doesn’t turn it around soon and I mean real soon than he needs to find a permanent spot on the bench.
This choice as to who should play right field is simple. It’s Justin Upton. He has the unlimited potential. He is the one where the sky is the limit. He is the player who when he comes up to the plate you believe that something special can happen.
Byrnes is what he is — a fourth outfielder who had a career year two years ago but whose track record is that of a journeyman outfielder. He is a career .262 hitter. That’s who he is.
Now I hope I am wrong and he can turn it around and I am truly hoping he can for the sake of the Diamondbacks. But right now I just don’t see it and I can’t imagine the organization does either. So put him on the bench, make him the fourth outfielder and let’s see if he can contribute as a role player.