The Phillies appear to be making progress in the search for a new leader in the front office.
They have interviewed Dodgers senior vice president Josh Byrnes for their GM opening, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Jayson Stark of The Athletic reported on Friday that there were “strong indications” that Byrnes met with the Phillies and that the second round of interviews with potential candidates could begin as early as this week.
It’s interesting that Nightengale noted that Byrnes interviewed to be the general manager. It could be an indication that the Phillies are pivoting towards finding a general manager over a president of baseball operations, which was previously reported as a possibility. Jon Morosi of MLB.com also mentioned that Jeff Kingston, another Dodgers executive, could also be a GM candidate.
The Mets, who were also looking for a new president of baseball operations, had to do just that. In a press conference last week, Mets president Sandy Alderson announced that the team, citing the availability of potential candidates, is no longer looking for a new president of baseball operations. Instead, Alderson wants to find someone who is capable of ascending to the president of baseball operations role.
Byrnes, 50, oversees scouting and player development and is second only to Andrew Friedman in the Dodgers baseball operations department. He began his career as a scout with the Cleveland Indians in 1994 two years after graduating from Haverford College and was promoted to director of scouting in 1998. He became an assistant GM with the Rockies in 1999 and served in the same role under Theo Epstein with the Boston Red Sox from 2003 to 2005.
Byrnes was perceived as a rising star out of Boston and the Arizona Diamondbacks hired him to be their GM in 2005. Following the 2007 season in which Arizona finished 90-72 and won the NL West, Byrnes was handed an eight-year extension. After two-and-a-half disappointing years in charge, the Diamondbacks fired Byrnes. The division-rival San Diego Padres hired him as their GM in 2011 only to fire him in 2014, a year before his original eight-year extension with the Diamondbacks was set to expire.
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