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Josh Byrnes Latest Interview With Hacksaw and Jay Paris: 12/19/2013 

In his latest public interview on the Hacksaw Show, Byrnes discusses the signing of Benoit, adding depth, Cameron Maybin, the latest on Chase Headley, and pitching depth. It is becoming increasingly obvious that the theme of this offseason has been depth to cover injuries and depth for lineup flexibility. Here are some highlights of the interview.

On The Signing Of Benoit

Hacksaw started the interview by asking Byrnes to explain the signing to the fans. Byrnes mentioned that “it’s not official official yet” on the signing of Benoit as a physical and administrative work is still pending. He went on to gush over the effectiveness of Benoit, saying “hes been probably one the 10 or 15 best relievers in baseball over the last 3 to 4 years.” Byrnes is committed to Street as the closer, but spoke of his excitement over having two relievers capable of handling the ninth inning.

For those wondering, Byrnes was not asked about payroll spending and whether or not signing Benoit is a smart move given payroll constraints. Byrnes believes this signing accomplishes improving the bullpen and adding depth in the event of a Street injury. To that view, I cannot disagree.

On Adding Depth

On depth Byrnes said “our what if scenarios are stronger with a Benoit, with a Smith, etc, etc.” He seems content with the current starting roster, noting that “if we get to plan B hopefully in a lot of places in our roster we aren’t going to skip a beat.”

Byrnes wasn’t asked directly if he had any plans to upgrade any positions but did hint that they still have some moves that may be made. Most notable seems to be their pursuit of another LH relief pitcher. Depth is thus far the modus operandi.

The question of the hour still seems to be about the number of outfielders currently on the Padres roster. Paris asked jokingly “is it getting a little crowded out there, are you gonna put a fourth guy out there like a men’s beer league softball?” Byrnes answered by noting that matchups and depth make for good offense. Byrnes likes the added competition at certain positions and the lineup flexibility that comes with having both right hander’s and left hander’s at the same position.


Cameron Maybin Update

Health wise Byrnes was quick to say “He feels good, his knee feels good…” His wrist is coming along as well and Maybin should be swinging freely in about a month. Getting a healthy Maybin back will help the teams speed and defense. Byrnes gave the impression that Maybin should be ready for the season and the organization still sees upside in him.

Chase Headley

The biggest elephant in the room, for quite a while now, has been the question of what to do with Chase Headley. “There’s gonna be a one year contract…” Byrnes noted that there are still multiple scenarios with Chase, but seemed committed to moving forward with a one year deal in January. So, no news on the Chase front.

Pitching Depth

Byrnes was asked about the extraordinary pitching depth at the major league level and at AAA. He considers Burch Smith, Robbie Erlin, Casey Kelly, and Joe Wieland to all be AAA pitchers, a strong hint that these guys are viewed as depth and should start the year at AAA. Byrnes believes the major league pitching is strong enough to carry the team to October. “I think we now have the personnel and the upside where… dominate pitching can get you to October so I think we have the chance now.”

Depth, depth, depth is absolutely the theme this offseason. Byrnes seems content with this approach and apparently believes this team has the talent to make the playoffs. Given the number of injuries befallen this team over the last couple years, it is somewhat understandable that Byrnes would view depth as an important part of the 2014 team and beyond. The big question to be answered in 2014: With depth, is the current roster good enough to contend; or, are wholesale upgrades at specific starting spots required to get this team back into the post season?